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The Explore 4 Gift Pack“California Cool” (750mL)

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The Explore 4 Gift Pack “California Cool” (750mL)


SommSelect’s “Explore 4” club is about adventure: Curated around a monthly theme, it’s a guided tour of the grapes, places, producers, and practices any true wine lover needs to know. This one-time offer is a chance to taste one of our recent club releases, “California Cool.” This 4-pack will take you around the California coastline to some of the coolest wine-growing climates along the Pacific Ocean. 

This is an opportunity to explore four great producers who’ve captured the elusive combination of freshness and maturity that’s such a badge of honor in wine today. At just $128 (shipping included!), we think it’s the greatest value around for all the curious, adventurous wine drinkers out there. Is that you? This is your chance to find out!

What characterizes “cool-climate” wines? As their makers will tell you, it’s balance. Ripe fruit, yes, but also bright acidity, which cooler weather helps preserve. As sommeliers, we firmly believe that the best way to learn about new wines (and your own preferences) is through comparative tasting. But without some expert guidance, most people are blindly throwing darts at a board, hoping to hit something great. That’s why we developed the Explore 4 club. Each month, we hand-select four different wines along one thematic line. It may be a focus on a single grape variety, or a unique region, but in each case, we create a comprehensive tasting guide to take you through each selection. 

In making our selections for this release, we asked ourselves three questions: What constitutes a “cool” climate in California? How do cool-climate growing zones shape wine style? Which producers, and which wines, best exhibit “cool-climate” character? From a wealth of great options, here’s what we came up with:

Railsback Frères, “Soeur” Vermentinu 2020 (Santa Ynez Valley)
Here’s a wine that takes a hot-climate, “Mediterranean” grape, Vermentino (the Railsbacks prefer the Corsican spelling), and plugs it into a cool Santa Barbara climate. The result? Citrusy, aromatic, low-alcohol refreshment! Santa Barbara has some of the greatest seafood restaurants in the country, and this wine is tailor-made for the likes of cioppino, fish tacos, crab in all its forms, and the famous local spot prawns.

Joyce Wine Company, “Submarine Canyon” Chardonnay 2019 (Monterey)
Here’s a perfect example of the “new paradigm” in California Chardonnay: crisp, clean flavors and classic Burgundian structure win out over tropical fruit, viscosity, and buttery oak. “Submarine Canyon” references the fathoms-deep Monterey Bay, which exerts its outsized influence on this taut and nuanced expression of California Chardonnay.

Thomas Fogarty, Pinot Noir 2018 (Santa Cruz Mountains)
An assortment of vineyard sources offers us a panoramic look at the Santa Cruz Mountains terroir, courtesy of one of the region’s benchmark wineries. One site is in Corralitos, very close to Monterey Bay, while the others are high-elevation parcels in the “Northern Skyline” and “Summit” sub-regions, with the latter climbing past 3,000 feet.

Big Basin Vineyards, “Homestead” Red Blend 2017 (Gabilan & Santa Cruz Mountains)
This is a “greatest hits” compilation of cool-climate vineyard sites, including some planted in limestone soil, which is rare in California: There’s Grenache (52%), Syrah, and Mourvèdre from the “Coastview” (Gabilan Mountains) and “Brousseau” (Chalone) vineyards in Monterey, as well as some Carignane (23%) from the Cienega Valley near Chalone. Some Big Basin Santa Cruz fruit completes the picture.

We hope you enjoy this four-pack as much as we did—and walk away with some added insight besides. That’s what Explore 4 is all about, so if you like the format, check out our Wine Clubs page to make it official with a subscription. We’d love to have you along for the ride!

Please note, this item is a pre-packed selection chosen by our team of sommeliers and will ship on its own (free Ground shipping is included). Therefore, it does not count toward the 6-bottle free shipping minimum and is not eligible for Build a Case shipping. 


The SommSelect Team

The Explore 4 Gift Pack “California Cool” - SommSelect