A Guide to Northern California Wine Varietals

The number of vineyards located throughout California wine country can quickly become overwhelming, even if you never leave your vehicle. Driving through the expansive region provides insight into each beautiful vineyard’s importance to our economy, as nearly 90% of American wines are produced in our state, accounting for over 200 million cases of wine sealed each year, making California the fourth-largest winemaking district in the world. 

Some of our most exciting wine varietals—ranging from old world favorites to springtime celebrants—provide a certain appreciation for the North and North Central Coasts of California, which host some of the most storied wine regions that allow our Ram’s Gate Winery Northern California wine varietals to stand out from the crowd.  

What is a Wine Varietal?

A varietal wine is made primarily from a single named grape variety, as opposed to a blend. 

As wine enthusiasts and vineyard operators alike, our share of Northern California is recognized and cultivated with reverence for both red and white grapes, including those that make up our varietals.

They include:

The Versatile, Popular Red Wine Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon 

Full-bodied and intense, Cabernet Sauvignon is a fan favorite, perfect for both dinner parties and gift-giving, as its ability to age is a tribute to its tannins—produced from its thick-skinned, smaller grapes—which are fortified with black or cherry currant and sometimes herbal flavors.  

The Worldly White Wine Varietal: Chardonnay

One of the world’s most popular wines, Chardonnay typically balances fruit, texture and acidity, which can vary widely depending on whether it is aged in oak, stainless steel, or a combination of the two. With rich and complex flavors that are available in many styles ranging from buttery to mineral-centered, Chardonnay pairs perfectly with a lunch salad or a coursed meal without much fuss. 

The Delicate, Complex Red Wine Varietal: Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is one of the most difficult wine varietals to grow, and one even more complex to bring to fruition. Often produced by a single vineyard to assure its full attention, this delicate wine is not usually blended with any other varietals. A light to medium-bodied wine, Pinot Noir is loved by both white and red wine lovers and is a versatile dinner companion, as it is known as one of the food-friendliest reds.

The Refreshing White Wine Varietal: Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is the darling of the white wine varietals that displays citrus flavors, a hint of grassiness, and a tinge of herb that rounds out its crisp and lively disposition. With a medium to high acidity, and little or no oak influence, Sauvignon Blanc is a refreshing alternative to Chardonnay, especially in the warmer months. 

The Formidable Red Wine Varietal: Syrah

Syrah begins as a dark-skinned grape that produces complex combinations of berry, plum and smoke with strong tannins, a giant personality, and a punch of flavor that tapers off and closes with a spicy or peppery finish.  

At Ram’s Gate Winery, we offer a wide range of Northern California wine varietals that showcase our diverse portfolio. If you would like to learn more about our wines, or how you may host a virtual wine tasting, contact us today.