Wine Talk

Snooth User: dmcker

What's wrong with California Cabs?

Original post by dmcker, Jan 29, 2010.

Here's an article I just ran across that points to an issue that has been looming larger for several years now:
http://www.napavalleyregister.com/l...

The sentiments in it have been expressed several times on these boards. GregDP has moaned recently on the subject and I've talked about how I prefer wines that are 'transparent', express what the actual earth and grapes it comes from have to say, and that are manipulated only in ways that allow that expression in its fullest, not to manufacture some overly alcoholic fruit bomb that has the balance and finesse of a sumo wrestler trying ballet.

The article is well worth reading in its entirety, but here're a few short paragraphs from its middle that hopefully will stimulate some good discussion here:
"What we have today, mainly at the $30-and-above price point, are wines that are the near antithesis of this: high in alcohol (almost nothing of supposed quality is less than 14.5 percent; some are 16 percent), very low acid levels (which almost guarantees that the wines won’t age well), and actual residual sugar in many.

"This is wine that some reviewers say smells like chocolate, mocha, smoke and roasted nuts. These aren’t aromas derived from fruit; they come from the smoked oak barrels in which the wines were aged, clearly an idea that was never at play decades ago.

"The most telling — and damaging — aspect of today’s cabernets is what I hear from wine makers, and always off the record. The phrasing may differ, but the sentiment is the same: “I may make cabernet, but I don’t drink it any more.”



So what do people here think on this subject?

Replies

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Reply by napagirl68, Jan 31, 2010.

@dmecker- regarding the lacking price point cabs ($20 range), I think the wineries are starting to get it.. at least slightly. The first to die here in CA were the wine shops, especially in towns that are in proximity to actual wineries. Their distributors are now selling off decent stock to discount stores that never saw this caliber of wine historically. Also, wineries themselves are selling off wine to discount stores here. As my local wineshop owner lamented to me, "if you have money, now's the time to buy". The deals are really amazing out here... even in the wineries themselves, they are letting wine go on the cheap. I was recently at a local winery that makes decent wine. They were selling off a barbera for $5.00/bottle!~ It retailed a year ago for ~$30. I spoke with the wife of the winemaker who I have come to know, and I asked her if it was corked.. past it's prime, 2nd ferm, etc, etc. She said no... nothing wrong with it... she said they are losing money and just to recoup a fraction will help them out. WOW. I, personally, have never seen it this bad here. Real estate crap loans killed Cali. Anyway, that barbera was (is) still good. Nothing wrong with it. And I made out like a bandit:-)

Sooo, I went to Calistoga after Thanksgiving. Tasted a Calistoga vineyard that I will not name here. I have tasted them in the past.. like them ok, and wines were typical of the Napa prices (in past) $45-100. This time, however, the wine price point was much lower. The top end wine was ~55, the lower end ~30. The owner was pouring and I commented on this. He really informed me of what was going on in the Napa region. It was hit hard, but not publicized, by the real estate crash. he said many monied people, including celebs had bought for big money in that area, and then just left. The local economy is suffering greatly, especially since Calistoga is Up valley, and many don't go that far to taste. He also agreed that Napa wineries had gotten greedy, putting huge pricetags on the wines because of the prestige, tourism. But now, they are having to face reality, and price their wines accordingly to sell them. He said the small, family, boutique wineries are suffering the most, since most of the sell outs (mass producing conglomerates), like Sterling, do much of their money overseas.. like Japan and Dubai. Sad for me, cause I hate to have Cali represented in other areas by the conglomerates only. Gives a bad rep.. read reviews here, and try a few. You may be surprised, or maybe this is just not your palate (like myself and Australia, Chile).

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Reply by dmcker, Feb 1, 2010.

GregDP's article that, just posted, on his tasting notes for '91 California cabs is obviously pertinent....
http://www.snooth.com/articles/wine...

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Reply by Charles Emilio, Feb 1, 2010.

I personally wouldn't have consumed more than 20 california cabernets in the past decade, but for me there is something the same about all of them; over oaked to the max and ripe.

For mine, you should pick your fruit ripe but go easy on the new oak.
What happened to the god old way of aging the wine in barrels that are 3,4,5 & 6 years old and ever slightly toasted. Give 10% of the wine a soak in new oak for 2 months.. no need to overdo it like the Californians seem to do.

California wine's biggest blessing is that it is from the USA. If it were from any other country it would be laughed at.

*Disclaimer* - most of the California cab;s I've had were outside of the USA

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Reply by davidboyer, Feb 1, 2010.

dmcker, thanks for reaching out. I agree with Napagirl about the heat. CA winemakers are in between a rock and a hard place with the whole global warming issue. I don't buy into the Al Gore theories (but let's not forget, he did invent the internet) but the weather realities of late have been something substantive to wrestle with.

I think its important to remember that grapes can reach maturity but not have phenolic ripeness, which is what usually delays harvest, sometimes by weeks. We have all tasted wines that had very dry or course tannins due to a lack of phenolic ripeness. So this is definitely part of the problem, which as Napagirl pointed out, creates huge sugar/alcohol content. Look at the past five years of Côte Rôtie and CDP, or Tuscany, Spain and even Burgundy and Bordeaux - virtually every region in the world that is in proximity to warmth during the growing season has been affected by temperatures and everyone has been producing high alcohol content wines because of this.

Intervention by the winemaker is another big issue and some are beginning to de-alcoholize (is that even a word?) their wares because we're fast approaching an age of 'cocktail wine' which is to say, it's like drinking a wine version of a margarita or something. Not cool for those of us that love wine in the traditional sense. Some of the tools of intervention include reverse osmosis, spinning cone technology, micro-oxygenation, designer yeast, custom-toasted barrels and so on. In my view, this is where CA falls down because so many are using this stuff, although few admit it.

I have spoken with many winemakers from Heidi Barrett (she made all the famous Screaming Eagle vintages and is stellar) to Jean-Michel Crozes at Lynch Bages (Classified Bordeaux and also stellar) and the better winemakers are very aware of these issues and quietly trying to maintain their integrity while still offering appealing, marketable wine. It's a balancing act for sure.

I am first and foremost a Bordeaux guy but admittedly I have had great CA cabs as well and can enjoy good wine from anywhere as long as it is of quality. I can't say that there's anything wrong with tasting a wine and assimilating that it's from a Beckstoffer property or a Rutherford estate. There is terroir in CA, even if it gets buried sometimes (no pun intended). But CA might think about shifting towards what it can do best, which may be subject to change every few decades or so.

Right now CA does Zin better than anyone in the world (Primativo is great too but so far quite different from CA Zinfandel), and they have come on very strong in Syrah and Rhone blends - '05 Terry Hoage, The Hedge comes to mind and it is as close to French Syrah as I've tasted from California. If cab is not the best from this region, estates need to be proactive, pull up vines and do what they can do best. There are other regions in the world that are still trying to figure out what they can do best but a has a huge advantage because they have tried most everything. Compared to Bordeaux, Burgundy, Tuscany or Piedmont though, we're still embryonic.

As for economics, yes CA cabs, the good ones at least, are relatively expensive but like Bordeaux in '05, its strictly economics: whatever the market will bear. And it is being corrected nearly everywhere but South America these days so those with a good following will survive and others will be snuffed out by the market. From my view, we could certainly use some housekeeping and de-clutter (is that even a word?) the shelves of every retailer.

Trust me when I say that there's lots of junk from every region and right now we're being spoiled by and comparing everything to South America in the price/value ratio. Markets will ultimately work themselves out and will never be static so just enjoy the ride - there's great wine out there on many different levels.

dmcker, I'm sure by now you're sorry you asked me to weigh in.

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Reply by GregT, Feb 1, 2010.

Well, for my 2 cts. The article is one more in a long long long long repetitive list of articles bemoaning "over ripe" "alcoholic" "over extracted" (pick your bitch) wines. But the solution is really clear.

Just don't drink them.

And don't buy them either.

Nobody forces anyone to buy those wines. If people don't like them, why do they buy them and complain? Or do they just complain about them without ever buying them because they'd rather that the producers made something different?

The beautiful thing is that CA does not have the dead hand of AOC or DOC or EU requirements that specify yields, picking dates, "typicity", maceration times, etc. Thus, the winemakers can respond to market demand. When the demand for the wines Berger doesn't like goes away, so will those wines. The people producing them will go out of business. Then someone else can pick up the pieces and make different wine.

There are a lot of producers I've simply written off. As long as someone is buying their wines though, they'd be silly to shift gears and start making something else.

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Reply by davidboyer, Feb 1, 2010.

I agree with you GregT. No one forces anyone to buy or drink wine so complaining is somewhat absurd. However, those of us that lean toward traditional, old world style wine also remember when CA made those types of wines (let us not forget the Tasting of Paris) and see wine going in a direction that may be undesirable. And California has a huge industry geared around wine. Why would anyone let it slip away without trying to salvage it by producing great wine? Droves of people are abandoning CA and for good reason.

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Reply by GregT, Feb 1, 2010.

But which people are abandoning CA? I'm out here in NYC. Wall Street folks who had a lot of money to throw around and drove the growth of the cult cabs are out of the game unless they work for Goldman Sachs or Citigroup. But those wines were kind of a fashion thing anyway, no? The people buying weren't particularly in the know - they bought labels and ratings. Those were the over $100 wines.

At the lower end, CA is producing a lot of crap. I've wondered for years why they can't do a decent job at the $15 level. Spain, France, Italy and Australia seem to, and they aren't semi third-world countries with dirt cheap labor. There are a few threads on this board that talk about value CA wines and that's the whole problem - there are so few good ones that you can actually list them!

So then you're in the sweet spot for CA cabs - the $30 to $100 range, where everyone seems to be if you're talking about Napa. But those guys are pretty much market driven - the days of the iconic winemaker doing his own thing are pretty much past when it comes to Napa. However, the question is whether people are abandoning those wines for leaner wines of different styles from elsewhere or whether they're abandoning them for cheaper wines.

My hunch is that it's the latter. Burgundy imports to the US are down. Bordeaux producers are holding their collective breath and focusing on China and other regions of the world. So it's not like those are alternatives to which people are heading. I think they're simply going downmarket and that's where CA has shot itself in the foot. When I want a $10 - $15 wine or I'm asked to recommend one, I almost never think of CA.

Incidentally, I'm not entirely in disagreement regarding stylistic choices, but I simply don't buy the wines. It hit me a few years ago after tasting 50 - 100 Napa cabs one afternoon that I didn't really feel wowed by many of them. There were about four that I really liked, three of which I had purchased in the past, and one new wine to me.

The Paris tasting is interesting. It took place when there were a handful of CA wineries. There are hundreds more today. That tasting made the French raise their game a bit too. CA and Napa are going to produce ripe fruit. That's pretty much a given. But there are a number of winemakers who don't get carried away by that. Oddly enough, I think it's the women who come in at both ends of the spectrum. On the one hand, you have Helen Turley who seems to typify excess. But on the other had, Corison, Dalle Valle, Viader, and Marketta Fourmeaux at Chateau Potelle are making very elegant and age-worthy wines.

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Reply by napagirl68, Feb 1, 2010.

A couple of points I'd like to make from a local person's perspective. I have a handful of wine shops that I like to frequent. When I ask why they do not stock more bordeauxs and burgundies, I get the same line: They don't sell. The bigger, higher alcohol, "sweeter" California wines do sell. They say it is for two reasons: taste and prestige of the CA label (more a reason for tourists- I mean, if you've travelled from another state to go to Napa, are you gonna come home with a French wine? ) For Californians who drink wine, wine tasting is a huge pasttime, and many (not all) do it for the "entertainment", not to critically taste. This is actually a complaint I've heard many a tasting room personnel mutter. Because of this affinity for tasting trips based on entertainment only, many Californians tend to taste mostly California wine. After becoming accustomed to drinking high alcohol, bigger wines, if you pour them a 13% alcohol bordeaux, they just don't like it. And you have to stock what sells. So I do think it is somewhat a local thing. I can't imagine that say, a wineshop in Chicago, would so heavily stock California wines, almost to the exclusion of any other region.

Secondly, @ GregT, I agree about the lower pricepoint CA wines.. bleehhhk! I personally buy the higher pricepoint ca wines, but also am beginning to look for wines from other countries that are quite a bit less expensive. And I have found some I do like. I just, for whatever reason, have not found a chilean or austrailian wine I can drink.

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Reply by Charles Emilio, Feb 1, 2010.

Napagirl - how many Chilean and Australian cabernet's have you tried?

There are some gorgeous cabernet's coming out of those regions.
Try Margaret River or Coonawarra from Australia - those wines will age beautifully for 20 years+

From Chile have you tried Concha y Toro Don Melchor (Private Reserve)?



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Reply by davidboyer, Feb 2, 2010.

GregT - at the lower end, almost every wine region produces junk wine, including CA, Bordeaux, Burgundy etc. Even an excellent bottle of Spanish wine cost upwards of at least $50 these days, when a few years ago they were topping out at $30 (unless it's something like Pingus or Vega Sicilia Unico). The real issue is that there's a huge glut in the market almost worldwide in this economy, and many are indeed trading down. I view this as a buying opportunity because prices are falling like we've never seen.

And I'm weary of people complaining that their $12 wine doesn't taste good. The solution is to buy better wine and this is a great time to take advantage of market conditions regardless of the region. I have never tasted what I consider to be a good Argentinean or Chilean wine in the under $20 either. If people don't want to spend more than $20 on a bottle I'm perfectly fine with that notion but ultimately I believe we get what we pay for in 95% of wine buying experiences.

As for CA cab style, the world's wine buyers will certainly decide what happens.

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Reply by dmcker, Feb 3, 2010.

Just ran across an interesting article descrying mistaken understandings that have led to some 'Californication' of Bordeaux reds. Not sure when it was written (probably a few years ago), but I like its perspective regarding different regional identities for CA and Bordeaux, and some of its quotes like "The attributes of subtlety are far more difficult to appreciate in a blind tasting than the immediate gratification of a high-octane fruit bomb."
http://www.winegeeks.com/articles/68

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Reply by napagirl68, Feb 4, 2010.

@ dmcker- immediate gratification about sums it up!

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Reply by Matchupichu, Feb 4, 2010.

There are a multitude of reasons (I think) that California cabs have become so insipid. The fist one is the rating system, the another is the people who follow the rating system. Since most of California can be used to grow grapes, especially along the sea board, is means that we (I'm a Californian) can grow more grapes than any other state, this doesn't mean that all the grapes that California produces will be fine, wine making grapes, but more to the likes of "Two-Buck Chuck" shit wine. However, if that Two-Buck Crap gets rated a 87 by Wine Spectator, it will fly off the shelves faster than the actual, fine wine (let's just say Spring Mountain's Sauv. blanc). This is the problem with wine:
"Bordeaux should be serious, not fun or flirtatious like its California cousin (twice removed). Sadly, this is all starting to change, and even worse, I wasn’t even around when things were different. Now, the wines of Bordeaux are being exploited by their makers, the score-makers now dictate what action to take when making these wines, due to wine becoming an ever-present part of the American culture we have begun to buy more and more foreign wines rather than our own domestic wines, while this isn’t such a problem for wine makers, it is a problem for aficionados (wine appreciators). The American wine drinker likes full-bodied reds with tons of oak, full of easily describable fruit flavors, a splash of vanilla and spice and a dash of everything nice (sound familiar?); as it turns out, Robert Parker Jr. does too! I wonder: could this be some sort of coincidence? So, here we have a score giver dictating to the Americans which wine is “good” and which wine is “bad”. Now, the Americans have become quite influential in the wine world, and while the Americans do not consume the most wine per person (that title belongs to the French) the Americans have more people buying wine. This is just classic numbers: there are more Americans than there are French, just the same with the Italians, and Spanish. So, because we have more people drinking their wine in our country we can dictate what these wines should taste like. So, because of the score-makers, the score-chasers dictate the market: now there’s a dinner conversation. Over the years as Americans have become more and more influential in the wine market, the wines of the old world (France, Italy, Spain, Etc...) have begun to change, tailored to the International Market: homogenized, as to appeal to the large body of consumers rather than the smaller, but ever-growing body of appreciators. This is a depressing thought, but as the world becomes increasingly interconnected, the more you will see the homogenization of things. These wines are hedonistic, full of pleasure, and tell me, what is wrong with that? It is more the case of the fear that is all we will see in the future: hedonistic wines. You can see the market osmosis happening, the American circle of influence expanding into uncharted territories, dictating to foreign dignitaries of what wine to make, this is almost an invasion; there are countries whose sovereignty is being threatened by the American consumer’s power; and as usual, there is no respect given to these foreign countries’ wines, they are simply given a poor score and put out of business, their lands absorbed by another winery in order to produce more full bodied red with the guise of an old Chateau razed centuries ago printed on the bottle, “Oh, that’s a pretty castle, I’ll buy that one, it must be good” The consumer thinks (or does he/she?). There it is, the generic plonk is then shoved into pretty bottles and thrown on the shelves of a supermarket near you. This is real Bordeaux, this actually happens; it’s nothing personal, it’s just business. This has happened here, what makes you think that this doesn’t happen over there? The question arises now, “where can I find good, real wine?” The honest answer is: you have to know the wines, their makers, and their ideals; you also have to drink wine, a lot of it."
This isn't just happenng with California cabs, it is happening to every wine, everywhere. Wine is corporatized, and will whore itself out to the largest market, most old school wine critics and writers will tell you that, especially Henry Waugh, if he were still alive.

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Reply by napagirl68, Feb 5, 2010.

Wow.. yes, matchupichu.. I do believe this is could be a global happening.. I can't help but say it reminds me of the fast food industry... invading other countries.. now their cholesterol, heart disease rates equal ours.... Pandering...

Consumers drive this.. If most consumers have come to accept substandard wine, they will make it! or higher alcohol wine!!

Interesting point of view...

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Reply by GregT, Feb 5, 2010.

D - there's too much wrong with that article to critique it right now, but it's included pretty much every cliche around. And I don't think the guy knows his history either. Bordeaux has ALWAYS done things to make its wine more palatable because Bordeaux was not a wine-producing region until rather recently in its history. It was a dockyard city where the wines from elswhere were kept for shipping. Ausonius did not write about wine in Bordeaux, but he did write about wild boars and forest, even though wine was being made in the Rhone at that time. In the 1940s the bottles were frequently labeled as Hermitage Bordeaux because they would blend in some syrah.

And the comment about blind tasting and subtlety is a non-sequiter because what critic blind tastes a mix of various vintages of Bordeaux and California cabs? Finally, the 1976 tasting indicated that the wines were not so far apart, not that they were vastly different. In fact, they were so close, that some were mistaken for each other.

The only thing he got right in the article was that the weather is truly different. Last week I tasted about 50 of the 2007 Bordeaux. Some were nice wines, but none of them were worth what they are being sold at IMHO. They were thin and diluted, not subtle. Essentially crap. That's what nature gave them and that's why they use all the technology that they do. Napa has the opposite problem. They've pushed to the limit to the point that many of the wines are over-extracted and jammy. However, they can throttle back, and many producers are.

And people who look at the labels and see 12.5% alcohol now or in the past should take that with a grain of salt. Unless you've actually measured the alcohol level, those labels are better viewed as suggestions. In the US, your taxes are determined in part by the level of alcohol, but there are ranges. Parker once did an interesting thing - he took some of the older vintages of Bordeaux and sent them for samples. The alc levels of the better vintages were pretty close to what they are today, i.e. nearer 14% than 12%, but that's not what the bottles said.

I tend to dislike hi-alcohol wines if I can taste the alcohol. That's why I don't drink spirits or whiskey or scotch or any of that. I don't actually like alcohol. Last night I had a brilliant wine. Just delicious and balanced. I looked at it this morning. It's stated 15%. Who knew?



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Reply by dmcker, Feb 5, 2010.

When you do have time, Greg, I'd be very happy to hear more from you on what's wrong with that writer's info and views. The main reason why I throw links (and topics) up is in the hope of generating good, intelligent discussion...

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Reply by wlstiles3, Feb 5, 2010.

Well, I can't help but chime in. I have very limited experience with wine, but I have had the opportunity to drink a variety of high quality Napa cabs going back to the mid 90's. There has been a change. IMO, Napa has been yellow-tailed. I mean that success and the economic environment have created an ever expanding demand for "Napa style." In effect, the vineyards cannot keep up with demand. Therefore, a style is created that can be reproduced without the quality of grape. Hence, more can be created to meet demand. This is why we are seeing so much big wines (translates into smoke and fruit bombs). Popularity has damaged quality and turned Napa and California, in large part, into yellow-tail. A place where wines are produced, not crafted. This is probably an over dramatization, but you get the point.

BTW, I posted this while drinking a glass of Bogle Petit Sirah produced for my enjoyment.

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Reply by GregT, Feb 5, 2010.

wlstiles3 - can you cite examples? If the vineyards in Napa can't keep up with demand, wouldn't you expect the wines to be thin, diluted, and hollow? Instead, you're getting the opposite.

D - can't promise anything intelligent, but here goes . . .

"Bordeaux’s identity crisis began innocently in 1976 when the Bordelaise allowed their wines to be compared to California Cabernet in an international head-to-head competition in Paris and they lost!"

Not true. Averaging the scores together, Stag's Leap cab came out the number one wine, but the next three places were French and at the low end they were all American and rated considerably lower than the French wines.

The whites were NOT compared to Bordeaux, but to Burgundy. It wasn't that the French wines "lost" so much as it was an eye-opener for the public and the judges regarding how good the CA wines were. Nobody thought much of them before that. They still had no cachet and no following, but people who didn't even drink wine somehow knew that "California produces pretty good wine." That's it. And it's not like the French were suddenly in a state of panic because there were a half dozen producers in CA who could make something palatable.

"The hazard of this type of tasting" is crap. If the author is as astute as he claims to be, he can tell a well-made wine. The idea that big, fruity wine "win" is complete nonsense. I've done enough blind tastings not to buy that silly argument. What a blind tasting will do however, is remove the prejudice that you have for or against the label and/or region. That is precisely what it should do. The Judgment of Paris was an idiotic tasting in some ways anyhow because they randomly mixed vintages.

Then he talks about technology and the "power of ratings". Again, completely missing the reality. Ratings are what sold Bordeaux to Jefferson? I didn't realize that Parker was so old. In fact, what sold Bordeaux was simply the fact that it was Bordeaux and "this is a first-growth so everyone knows it's better than that one which is only a second-growth". When Parker had the cheek to actually taste the wines blind and declare that A was not better than B, he was vilified. But his contribution was to convince people to actually taste the wine, not the marketing. That of course, completely undermined the careful marketing and hype behind most of Bordeaux sales. I assume that the people who blog and post about how others should simply ignore Parker are themselves quite familiar with most of the wines and have tasted thousands themselves. Because otherwise such comments are a little bit presumptuous, no?

In any event, the writer goes on to talk about a "sense of place", which to me is the biggest load of crap in wine marketing. I would like to see one reference to that in the 1970s or 1980s regarding Bordeaux. In fact, that's a very recent marketing tool and I'm curious as to how you'd really identify the "place" of Bordeaux.

Then the guy goes on to say that 20 years ago the differences between Bordeaux and CA were striking. So they aren't today? Is it really hard to tell the difference? I have no idea what he's drinking.

But then he does what many people do. He equates Bordeaux with California. That's completely meaningless. Bordeaux is 400 or 500 square miles. CA is about 160,000. How can you possibly make that comparison?? Bordeaux is to CA like Indianapolis is to France?

The bit about alcohol levels is trite and can be dismissed. Anyone who claims that grapes are ripe in Bordeaux at 12.5 and in CA at 13.5 is essentially clueless. Ripe is ripe, no matter where.

"Imitating American style wine" means exactly what? And who is doing that, once we define it? Does he mean to imply that the dozens of second-rate producers who grow grapes in an area that probably shouldn't be devoted to grapes in the first place, are somehow stopping the rain and fog and are generating sunlight where it doesn't exist? His premise is that the areas are different, so how can he claim that their trouble is that they're producing the same kinds of wine?

The main problem with Bordeaux is that there are too many producers of pure crap. On top of that, the Euro / dollar exchange rate is not favorable to them so their products are expensive in the US, where the economy is not able to support their cost structure any more. What has to happen? They need to go out of business. If they can't survive with lower prices that accurately reflect what they are putting on the market, they should be allowed to fail. It's their right.

And the same with the US producers, wherever they may be. There is not a "problem" with California wine, other than the fact that lots of people want to opine on the issue and point out that they themselves only like a type of wine that isn't produced by the silly American winemakers. The problem is with the market and the products that are made for it. How many vanity or hobby wineries are there? If your cost is such that you must price your small production wine at $80 a bottle, and you have no money to market or place that wine, you're going to close up shop eventually. Your juice will then be available for others. And maybe it will be available cheap. And if in fact, the entire market turns against "California" wine, then you all go out of business.

I don't see that happening any time soon. I think you got over enthusiastic people jumping in and now some of them have to leave. And if the market doesn't like the style of wines, they will simply change the style. The idea that there is a proper style is ludicrous. If the market in the US suddenly favors thin, weedy and green wines, those are exactly what will appear. I don't see that happening any time soon either.

Rant over.


1. 14.14 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars 1973 United States
2. 14.09 Château Mouton-Rothschild 1970 France
3. 13.64 Château Montrose 1970 France
4. 13.23 Château Haut-Brion 1970 France
5. 12.14 Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello 1971 United States
6. 11.18 Château Leoville Las Cases 1971 France
7. 10.36 Heitz Wine Cellars Martha's Vineyard 1970 United States
8. 10.14 Clos Du Val Winery 1972 United States
9. 9.95 Mayacamas Vineyards 1971 United States
10. 9.45 Freemark Abbey Winery 1969 United States

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Reply by napagirl68, Feb 5, 2010.

@ dmcker.. I never thanked you for your initial list... it is nice to have recommendations to taste from.. Thank you... :-)

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Reply by napagirl68, Feb 5, 2010.

@ GregT.. do you want to get married- Just live together... date??? Just kidding!!! LOL!!
I just SO love your opinions and recommendations.. we are wine soulmates! I will work my way down your list... a laborious task, but one I think I could stand...oh my...



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