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An Open Letter to (Busty) California Winemakers

To Whom It May Concern:

I've just polished off another 1/2 of a bottle of your tasty, 14.5% abv wines... in fact, I'm pretty sure that even though it said 14.5% on the elegant bottle, it was probably closer to 15.2%. Anyway, I hope you'll forgive me if I stray off topic or get a little emotional. I'm sure you'll understand...

I'm a wine lover. And I love California wines - in fact, they're the first wines that made me stand up and say "WOW! I think I'm in love with wine!" If it wasn't for CA wines, I would never have started my own personal and fulfilling journey into the wondrous world of wine.

So let's just establish right now that I've got a soft spot in my heart for CA wine. I even love a good fruit bomb every now and then, which I'd argue is one of the fingerprints of CA wine that makes it so unique on the world stage, and capable of being so damn good.

We've had a good run, you and me... BUT... things just aren't what they used to be...


Your wines... they're just starting to... well, I'll be honest, they're starting to seem a little boorish sometimes. And I have to admit, I've been finding myself attracted to other wine regions. Southern France, New Zealand, Chile...

I didn't expect this to happen. I thought we were happy together. But then things started to change. I understand that you need to 'chase scores sometimes in order to command high bottle prices for your wines. After all, how else can you afford to keep up with those expensive winemaking techniques... I know how difficult it is to upkeep pricey machinery, to hand-sort grapes, and let's not talk about the extravagant prices of new oak barrels these days!

I appreciate what you're up against, too; those Old World wine regions have hundreds of years going for them, and they can take a long range view of their wines. You have it tougher - sometimes, if you don't create a big, busty fruit bomb, you can't get your name out there quickly enough to be successful - and your competition sure isn't waiting around.

But it's all gone overboard now. I mean, do you have to obsess about Robert Parker's ratings all the time??!? I like the guy, but there are other palate preferences out there. Good ones, too.

I love that you're busty with all of that alcohol and ripe fruit. It turns me on. But you used to be busty and elegant. Now... well... I'll let the pictures speak for themselves...

I'm not sure things can ever go back to being how they were.

But I'm willing to try if you are.

So please... for both of us... think twice before you go for that much alcohol. I'm not sure that any unfortified wine has enough fruit, acidity, and tenderness to balance against > 15% abv. Think about that, for you, for me. For us, and what we used to have together...

Love,
-Dude

(images: flikr.com - eduardolive, unknown)

9 comments:

john witherspoon said...

great pictorial description of the evolution of Cali wine. haha, still chuckling.

Cheers
John

dhonig said...

Hey Dude,

You know a good idea when you steal it, eh? http://wineseeing.blogspot.com/2008/04/wine-women-and-beauty.html

Well done, sir. Well done indeed (though I still want credit for first, by five months).

Joe Roberts, CSW said...

thanks, all!

dhonig - well, I wasn't going for exactly the same idea as that post but what the hell, I'll give you credit :-).

I write some of these posts (like this one) sometimes several days in advance, and wouldn't you know it, in between me writing this one and then it being posted, Alder (www.vinography.com) goes and publishes a piece on the same topic.

I might give up now... :-P

Gabriella Opaz said...

Wow, I've had some articles stop me in my tracks before by the photos alone, but this is a first which had actually made my jaw drop! That's impressive!

Vinogirl said...

Wow...do you think the second young lady could consume more than a glass or two without getting rat-faced, seeing as her body-mass index is way higher than the average womans? !!!

rob said...

Very funny! I have the same sentiment for Oregon Pinot Noirs. I really enjoyed this post and look forward to reading more.

Joe Roberts, CSW said...

Thanks, Rob!

I suppose that OR Pinots have been impacted by this as well (not to mention the addition of PV to boost their bombastic-ness...).

Arthur, winestooth.com said...

"Blousy" wines, I've heard them called.

I propose that democratization of any luxury good drives down quality (and drives up ABV?)

Bill from Wine For Newbies said...

Now this is a riot. Thanks for a good laugh. Your points are spot on, and I like the metaphor!