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September 2014

Our Monthly Newsletter
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"Diversity" has become one of the "holy" words in the geeky end of the California wine scene. There are wine writers and sommeliers who are now making fine livings by focusing first and foremost on what "is not" rather than what "is" at the heart of the local industry. It makes at least a little sense, of course, because "another Chardonnay" does not always make any of us happy. This Issue features both the popular and the diverse.

Of course, starting this Issue off with Zinfandel (and following with Chardonnay) is proof enough of our continued allegiance to the varieties that have done so well here in California.

The poster child of the "anything but" crowd, Chardonnay continues to excite palates for its depth and, more and more, for the increasingly bright stance that has become part of its "balance".

The enigma grape, Viognier should, in our opinions, be more popular than it is because of its many fine dry versions delivered with an entirely different taste profile from Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Capable of making dry, crisp wines, Riesling shines when its vital acidity is balanced with a touch of residual sugar. Wines of that style are right at home with sautéed scallops, pan-grilled trout and many oriental dishes.

This spicy variety has all but disappeared in these parts, and we miss it. Like Riesling, it trades on fruit, but this time with an edge that allows it into service with Thai foods and white sausauges.

There is not much of this light white here in California, and maybe there never will be. But that should not discourage you from giving the better versions a try when you see them in stores or on restaurant lists.


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