Wine 102

Old World v. New World(CA, actually) - is it where you live?

Midlife | Jan 7, 201109:59 AM

Probably because I live in California and have been visiting wineries here for most of my rather long adult life................ and because there are something like 3,000 you can visit in the state.............. I tend to be much more comfortable with California wines than I think many of this board's posters are. More specifically, I am struck by the way Old World wines are so often suggested for pairing requests here, with California not usually mentioned.

I'm not trying to start a debate about wine quality with this post. What I'd like to find out is whether I'm right in my assessment and get some specific sense of what it is that leaves California (and New World in general) out of so many of these discussions.

My main theory on this has to do with geography. Probably due to history and distance, Eastern wine shops seem to have a far larger selection of Old World wines (proportionately) than do shops in the here. But it goes beyond that. California's 'better' wine growth has come in the past 25 years or so (it seems to me) and Old World wines have obviously got a history of centuries. But that's true on both coasts, so were Old World wines never that much appreciated on the West Coast, or has the East Coast resisted California wines.................. and, if so, is this due to quality perception (high alcohol fruit bombs in CA is what I hear most often) or does the closer proximity of the East coast to Europe have anything to do with it...... or what?????

The other day I was working in a local wine shop and two gentlemen from France came in. Most of their visit was spent marveling at the high alcohol numbers on our mostly California selections. They were concerned about how such high alcohol would pair with food. Do California wines REALLY overpower food THAT much for those that are familiar with both?

I'm guessing that such preferences are not much different than the pizza or bagel wars that go on all the time. To me it's all wine, so it's all good. I'd just like to hear some more objective than subjective reasoning on this subject.

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