Sunset's 2010 Western Wine Awards

After this year’s grand taste-off, 40 bottles rose to the top. Plus we found the people and places that are changing what we’re drinking

2010's top wine trends

The people and places that are changing the wine scene in the West

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California wine bar
Photo by Andrea Gómez Romero

What we're drinking now

Palate Food + Wine, our new favorite wine bar in Glendale, California, is an epicenter for wine lovers. Wine director Steve Goldun gives us a peek into what his customers are drinking.

What’s hot: Goldun says Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Rhône varieties (Syrah, Grenache, Viognier)—from both Europe and the West, as long as the wines are value-oriented. Younger drinkers tend to be more adventurous and less likely to drink the same wine twice; they graduate from Trader Joe’s when they realize that $2 or $3 more per bottle makes a big difference.

Exploding trend Goldun loves: Sustainably farmed wines, which tend to be handmade, with a noticeable uptick in character. These natural wines are becoming a big part of the Palate business.

Bottle that recently blew him away: Donkey & Goat 413 Rhône blend ($32) from El Dorado County. Elegant, balanced, concentrated … and natural.

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