Most people who are in the wine business will encourage you to try something different from time to time. It this a self-serving attitude on the part of wine retailers? Guess what folks. Every retailer you deal with would love for you to buy more stuff. Not really worthy of a “Breaking News” bulletin on Eyewitness News, is it?
I agree with the retailers. You don’t necessarily have to buy more. You should buy different. Or at least taste different stuff. Most retailers have periodic tastings. Check them out. There are people who find one wine they like, and they never drink anything else. I mean never. Can you imagine anything more boring? I had an opportunity to taste some Bulgarian wine last week. Bulgarian? What do they know? Well, they have been making wine there about 7 times longer than the United States has been in existence. Would I order a Bulgarian wine without ever having tasted it? No. But if I have the chance to taste something like that at no cost, will I do it? Oh, yeah. Every time. And they were selling for less than $10.
There was a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Pinot Gris (same grape as Pinot Grigio) and a dry rose’. The wines were done in the old world style. That is, not a lot of big fruit up front. The wine label is Vinex. The rose’ was too austere for me. The Pinot Gris was not in your face fruity, but it would be good with summer salads or light fish dishes. The cab had a little “dirty sock” component on the nose, but it did not come through that way in the mouth. It was a nice, food-friendly cabernet. Not the best $10 wines I ever had, but good. And I always appreciate the chance to taste something I’ve never had before.
On a different subject, there has been a big change in the world of wine reviewing. One of the best known and most influential wine reviewers is pulling back a little. The reviewer is Robert Parker. If you read the Wine Advocate, you are familiar with Parker. For many years he has tasted and reviewed wines from around the world, primarily France and California. He will no longer be reviewing California wines. Parker has been very successful. As with many successful people, he has had his detractors. Much of the criticism contends that he overly favors the big, fruit forward style of wine. It has been said that his reviews are responsible for the bigger style of Bordeaux over the past 15-20 years. Maybe. But the interesting part is who he has tapped to be his replacement in California. It is Antonio Galloni, a very well respected reviewer of European wines, mostly in Italy and Champagne. The California style is different from what Galloni made his reputation on. He will continue to do what he has been doing in Europe, and he will have the added responsibility of the wines of California. Some wine people are curious to see if Galloni will continue the 95+ ratings several high end California wineries have been enjoying. If these wines don’t continue to rate that high, what will happen to their high prices?
And you thought there was no controversy or politics in wine.