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1976 Judgment of Paris reenacted, California wins

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by alflauren, May 25, 2006.

  1. Fabienne

    Fabienne Senior member

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    Napa is a zoo. I rather liked Sonoma, though.
     
  2. Fabienne

    Fabienne Senior member

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    As opposed to the lack of pretention present in the wine industry generally? Actually, in my one trip to Napa, I found the folks (oops, there's that word again [​IMG] ) staffing the vineyards to be pretty down to earth.

    For having recently driven from one wine producing village to another in Burgundy, I can assure you that, at least there, there is no pretention whatsoever. You'll often find the producer himself or herself leading the tasting. One look at their hands, that's all you need to understand.
     
  3. JBZ

    JBZ Senior member

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    For having recently driven from one wine producing village to another in Burgundy, I can assure you that, at least there, there is no pretention whatsoever. You'll often find the producer himself or herself leading the tasting. One look at their hands, that's all you need to understand.

    I think the pretension that I have sensed from time to time comes more from some of (and I stress the word "some of," as such pretension is obviously not present in any of the posts in this thread) the enthusiasts and critics than the producers themselves (i.e. the self-perceived "experts"). See, for example, Paul Giamatti's character in Sideways ("I'm not drinking any f***ing Merlot!"). This is not the "industry" per se, so I probably should have chosen my words more carefully.

    Anyways, no offense meant. I would love to have a larger knowledge of wine, but I find that, even in small amounts, most wines give me a bad headache. Thus, I stick more to bourbon, gin, beer, and the occasional scotch.
     
  4. tiger02

    tiger02 Senior member

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    JBZ, I agree. Vintners are, at heart, farmers. As you move along the supply chain from vat to consumer, there are varying levels of added...um, refinement. I search out salesmen who are knowledgeable without the pretension. One of the local guys in college wore a ballcap and ponytail, and knew more off the top of his head than I ever could with a book.

    Tom
     
  5. itsstillmatt

    itsstillmatt Senior member

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    For having recently driven from one wine producing village to another in Burgundy, I can assure you that, at least there, there is no pretention whatsoever. You'll often find the producer himself or herself leading the tasting. One look at their hands, that's all you need to understand.

    That is certainly true for the small producers. Once we were at the cellar of a small winemaker in Pouilly-Fuissy and his neighbor's horse got loose. He had to run out and chase the horse down the road, bring it bac and tie it up before we could proceed. Not exactly what you find at most of the Napa wineries.

    I have had mixed experiences with Negociants in Burgundy. They have always had more pretense than the farmer/makers, but in general have been superb to deal with and not at all like the vintners in California.

    Bordeaux, being a bit more English, has a totally different attitude. It is not like California, but it is certainly more genteel. The best overall experience that we have had at a winery was at Tertre-Roteboeuf in St. Emilion. The owner there was the perfect combination of farmer, philosopher and gentleman. Anybody travelling to the are would be wise to ask if a visit would be possible.
     
  6. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    As opposed to the lack of pretention present in the wine industry generally? Actually, in my one trip to Napa, I found the folks (oops, there's that word again [​IMG] ) staffing the vineyards to be pretty down to earth.
    Yes, I meant the so-called "enthusiasts".
     
  7. itsstillmatt

    itsstillmatt Senior member

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    Yes, I meant the so-called "enthusiasts".

    Northern California is now filled with "enthusiasts".

    You can't even buy cheese or salt without it becoming somebody else's shopping experience. Recently, my wife was buying lobsters to cook at home, and there was a crowd of people critiquing each lobster that came out of the tank. To top it all off, one of them asked her how much the whole thing cost as she was leaving.
     
  8. A Y

    A Y Senior member

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    Not all California wines are grown in Napa and Sonoma. There are lots of good central coast wines from Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Monterey counties, along with stuff from the Sierras, and places north of Napa/Sonoma. Perhaps Napa is getting too big for its breeches, but there are still lots of artisanal wineries and growers in other parts of the state who are producing interesting things. Over-oaked chards are kind of a stereotype, but one that sells well, for better or worse. I'd argue that the best pinot noirs, which can be quite subtle and complex, come from the central coast, and Anderson Valley produces some really high-value sparklers.

    And there are some really enjoyable things you can't get elsewhere: a quintessentially Californian pairing might be Zinfandel with tri-tip (brisket for non-Californians).

    --Andre
     
  9. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    Northern California is now filled with "enthusiasts".

    You can't even buy cheese or salt without it becoming somebody else's shopping experience. Recently, my wife was buying lobsters to cook at home, and there was a crowd of people critiquing each lobster that came out of the tank. To top it all off, one of them asked her how much the whole thing cost as she was leaving.

    I think a lot of these people congregate at a Trader Joe's.
     
  10. itsstillmatt

    itsstillmatt Senior member

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    I think a lot of these people congregate at a Trader Joe's.

    LMAO. Whole Foods and the Ferry Building as well.
     
  11. Full Canvas

    Full Canvas Senior member

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    Northern California is now filled with "enthusiasts".

    You can't even buy cheese or salt without it becoming somebody else's shopping experience. Recently, my wife was buying lobsters to cook at home, and there was a crowd of people critiquing each lobster that came out of the tank. To top it all off, one of them asked her how much the whole thing cost as she was leaving.


    I think a lot of these people congregate at a Trader Joe's.

    LMAO. Whole Foods and the Ferry Building as well.


    Long, long ago in July of 1966, when Trader Joe's was a single location near Eagle Rock and Joe worked in the store, when the Ferry Building was for the ferries, before Whole Foods, before all of the "enthusiasts" discovered/invented wine! . . . three of us decided to make a weekend of it and watch the SCCA races at Cotati. On the Friday morning, we decided to go over to the Napa Valley and taste some wine. That was the only way for teenagers to literally taste some forbidden fruits. We were barely eighteen years old.

    Our first stop was Heitz Cellars. There was no specific tasting time or place for tasting. A woman (that turned out to be Alice Heitz) poured us each tiny amounts of their Cabernet Sauvignon while we sat at an old picnic table with blistered paint. No, it wasn't the Martha's Vineyard Cabernet![​IMG] Joe Heitz rolled to a stop a minute or so later in his old pick-up truck and said hello as he walked by and into the big stone building. Although we were allowed to taste a little of the wine, Mrs. Heitz politely declined to sell any wine to us.

    The next stop was Beaulieu. There was a real tasting room. The three of us made up the entire group for a tour. At tour's end, we sampled three or four wines and successfully purchased two bottle of the 1962 Georges de la Tour Private Reserve Cabernet. The price was a whopping $3.49 per bottle! This wine was still made by Andre Tchelistcheff and it was from the pre-Hublein ownership era.

    The roads were empty and absent the contemporary gridlock of "enthusiast's" upscale automobiles. The rural lifestyle was genuine. Most of the "enthusiasts" were yet to become even the gleam in their fathers' eyes that would later appear only after drinking Hamm's, Burgermeister, Olympia, or Schlitz.
    ________________________________________
     
  12. itsstillmatt

    itsstillmatt Senior member

    Messages:
    14,384
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2006
    Location:
    The wild and the pure.
    Long, long ago in July of 1966, when Trader Joe's was a single location near Eagle Rock and Joe worked in the store, when the Ferry Building was for the ferries, before Whole Foods, before all of the "enthusiasts" discovered/invented wine! . . . three of us decided to make a weekend of it and watch the SCCA races at Cotati. On the Friday morning, we decided to go over to the Napa Valley and taste some wine. That was the only way for teenagers to literally taste some forbidden fruits. We were barely eighteen years old.

    Our first stop was Heitz Cellars. There was no specific tasting time or place for tasting. A woman (that turned out to be Alice Heitz) poured us each tiny amounts of their Cabernet Sauvignon while we sat at an old picnic table with blistered paint. No, it wasn't the Martha's Vineyard Cabernet![​IMG] Joe Heitz rolled to a stop a minute or so later in his old pick-up truck and said hello as he walked by and into the big stone building. Although we were allowed to taste a little of the wine, Mrs. Heitz politely declined to sell any wine to us.

    The next stop was Beaulieu. There was a real tasting room. The three of us made up the entire group for a tour. At tour's end, we sampled three or four wines and successfully purchased two bottle of the 1962 Georges de la Tour Private Reserve Cabernet. The price was a whopping $3.49 per bottle! This wine was still made by Andre Tchelistcheff and it was from the pre-Hublein ownership era.

    The roads were empty and absent the contemporary gridlock of "enthusiast's" upscale automobiles. The rural lifestyle was genuine. Most of the "enthusiasts" were yet to become even the gleam in their fathers' eyes that would later appear only after drinking Hamm's, Burgermeister, Olympia, or Schlitz.
    ________________________________________


    Great story. We moved to Napa in the very early 70s and it was truly a dull place to be. We lived there for three or four years until we moved back to San Francisco. Whenever I tell people that I grew up there for a while, they are very envious. I try to explain to them what Napa was like in the early 70s before the wine craze. You did it better than I can.
     

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