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July 2014

Our Monthly Newsletter
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We are being visited with the return of the "food war snit" of the early 1980s, and it is not enough for some folks to like a light hand in their wines. In the misnamed "Pursuit of Balance", they have declared war of the larger body of California wines as corpulent, silly and tragic caricatures of themselves. It would all be funny if it were not déjà vu all over again. The wines in this Issue are caught in the middle. Fortunately, there are wines of all styles and enough to go around for all tastes.

This latest round probably started decades ago with the "Anything But Chardonnay" crowd. For some reason, perhaps because the California style of Chardonnay is not much like that of France, there were tasters who simply vowed not to drink the local Chardonnay. Funny thing is, with our diverse climate, there are plenty of tight, acid-driven wines to go around.

The high ripeness of most Syrahs and the fact that there is simply not as much hidden, nuanced beauty to the grape has slowed what looked like a rush to supplant Merlot back just a decade and change ago. Syrah plantings have continued to grow, and a deep, rich Syrah can be a wonderful choice for some meals, which explains the continuing following for that style.

No longer only a sweet gulper, Rosé has seen makers of coastal table wines come rushing in with drier versions intended for serious drinking with serious foods. Gulp or sip? Horses of a different feather, but both worth pursuing.

The rise in popularity of Spanish wine has brought about renewed interest in this variety which has lived here for decades under the name Valdepeñas. It is now a work in progress, and we chart its course in this Issue.

Late-arriving Pinots from Testarossa and Kosta Browne, made by the dozen, in their own version of culture clash, are included in this Issue because the wines are too good to miss, and bottlings of their quality will not stay around long.

Fill your checkout cart with wines that offer lots to like at affordable prices when you do your research in Best Buys.

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    Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine
    PO Box V
    Alameda, CA 94501

    Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine
    651 Tarryton Isle
    Alameda, CA 94501

Wineries may submit samples (two bottles of each please) to the above address. Please include information about price, cepage, residual sugar, total acidity, pH and production level. Please understand that all wines are tasted blind, often twice, and that we treat samples with the same respect as wines that we purchase at retail.


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