Wine Spectator writer Matt Kramer advises getting off the beaten path and heading to the Santa Rita hills, where fog and cool ocean breezes make a climate ideal for Pinot Noir. Look for bottles from Sanford, Foley, Fiddlehead and Seasmoke.

Mendocino County is another destination to try, where you'll find the wonderful sparkling wines from the Roederer estate, and Sauvignon Blanc from Jepson's and Husch.

Check out Paso Robles for superb Syrah from Tablas Creek and Darkstar Cellar. And don't miss the very good and very reasonable wines called Seven Oaks from J. Lohr.