I am Sad to have to even post this Blog Entry but it is about time SOMEONE DID!! I sound Redundant and snobbish and a non conformist but I am telling you folks… CALIFORNIA WINES ESPECIALLY NAPA CABS AND BLENDS ARE AT BEST DECENT QUALITY BUT WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY OVERPRICED!! People are addicted to these wines that back in the day the big Napa Cabs and a good steak was the end all be all yet they were better quality and somewhat affordable. Don’t get me wrong! I love to vacation and tour the Napa, Sonoma, Central Coast wine country areas and enjoy the atmosphere and the beauty and the great world class restaurants. I just can’t see unless you are the in the class of the extreme wealthy and on the cover of Forbes Magazine why anyone would buy the wines from these areas in the year 2013 and the economic state that Americans are in right now. As far as quality goes, Global Warming has certainly affected California Wines more than any other wine producing region in the World!. Hot Hot Temperatures with very little variation from day to night temperatures raises the BRIX LEVEL (Sugar Level in the Grapes at Harvest) which equals wines with very high alcohol contents which equals a burning sensation in your Esophagus that feels like Battery Acid going down your throat. To combat these HOT WINES (Slang For High Alcohol Wine) California Winemakers use too much Oak Influence so you are drinking big Tannic Wines, Way Over Alcoholed and Way Over Oaked but the biggest point of this POST is Way OVERPRICED for the Quality or lack of that you are getting when there is a way better option. Vintage is also a problem. California used to be on a roll in the late 90’s but the 2nd Millennium has not been kind to the grapes of Napa Valley. 2007 was probably the best in the last 20 years and the reports on 2010 Cabernets in the current Wine Spectator shows this is a great vintage for Napa Cabs to lay down in your wine cellar. I read the whole report of hundreds of famous labels and I was BOGGLED!!! The cover featured my favorite New York Met baseball hall of famer Tom Seaver. George Thomas Seaver owns a Winery that produces Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignons under the label of GTS WINES. The 2010 Sounded Delicious from the Review but had a whopping price-tag of $135 per bottle. Maybe that’s why they call that Appellation “DIAMOND” MOUNTAIN??? And I am sure my loyal readers of this Blog know where I am leading up to….
WASHINGTON STATE and the appellations of Columbia Valley, Walla Walla and Yakima Valley have been on a 15 year Fantastic over 90 Point Rated Vintage Roll. This past year the cover story of Wine Spectator Read…..“QUALITY HIGH, PRICES LOW! 15 STRONG VINTAGES IN A ROW DELIVER THE GOODS IN WASHINGTON STATE” Washington State shares the same geographical latitude 42 degrees parallel with Bordeaux France. The Benchmark Years in Bordeaux, 2000, 2005, 2009, 2010 were all Benchmark Years in Washington State as well. The climate is exactly what grapes need to produce well balanced wines with grace, depth and elegance. During the day it can get mighty hot which is great for the months you need ripening but at NIGHT the temperatures drop 25 degrees to NICE COOL NIGHTS. That gives the grapes a chance to REST. That also means the ripening will not be rushed as it is in Napa Valley and it will be a longer growing season with a longer hang time on the vines. Basically like a tomato, a vine ripened one tastes better than a hot house tomato or one that was green and you left out hoping it would turn red. Sometimes I can’t tell the difference between an $80 Bordeaux and a $25 Bottle from Washington State because the taste profile is so similar without all that Sugary fake stuff and overuse of OAK and High Alcohol that you get out of Napa Valley wines.
THIS SAYS IT ALL AND I WILL ALLOW YOU TO MAKE THE CHOICE BASED ON YOU BEING A CONSUMER The first wine is from the famous Chuck Wagner Family of Wines. Caymus Special Selection is your Typical Opus One, Insignia, Cabernet Blend from Napa Valley. I hear the 2010 is fantastic as it should be for a price-tag of $125 per bottle not in a Restaurant folks. This is a RETAIL PRICE!! It scored 93 Points from Wine Spectator.
NUMBER TWO is put out by Spring Valley Vineyards (Parent Company Chateau Ste Michelle) and it is called URIAH which is also a Bordeaux Blend with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon , Malbec Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, but from Washington State. I just looked at a Sneak Peak of the December Wine Spectator Buying Guide. Here is reviewer Harvey Steinman’s notes on this wine that he rated 94 Points
Spring Valley Uriah Walla Walla Valley 2010
Vivid, complex and inviting, offering a lively mouthful of red berry, black cherry, mint and mocha flavors that linger
effortlessly against polished tannins. This has depth and distinction. Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Cabernet
Sauvignon and Malbec. Drink now through 2020. 2,020 cases made.—H.S.….THE PUNCHLINE HERE FOLKS IS RETAIL PRICE IS UNDER $50 and I have had this wine every vintage for the last 10 years and it is one of the most Polished Elegant Reds you will ever drink from America.
So The Choice is SADLY YOURS, Drink Washington State Like I Do Or….PAY YOUR RENT, FEED YOUR FAMILY, PUT GAS IN YOUR CAR Or…..KEEP BUYING CALIFORNIA WINES because at these Astronomical Prices You Can’t do BOTH!!!