2007 (Rutherford, Napa Valley) ($145)
Plush, powerful cab, with formidable oak and cocoa. Todd Coleman

Whatever “rules” there were to California winemaking-maximize sugar, age in oak, accentuate fruitinessmdash;are today being thrown to the wind. Vintners are making cabernet and chardonnay in fresh styles and playing with mourvedre, viognier, and other grapes that are new to the state; they’re learning biodynamics and other methods from European growers; and they’re celebrating terroir. This focus on the personality of wine from specific sites rekindles a love for the land that is age-old in California, and it results in delicious and unique wines. Here are our new California favorites: 16 whites, 44 reds, and **9 roses.******