California and I have issues First, I like California as a state. I think I like it a lot. It's a lovely place and we have good friends there and I always have a grand time. So, it's nothing personal.
But, the wine. About 2-3 years ago I gave up on California when I had a rotten experience with a bunch of their wines. We had all met at a wine-pal's house for our goofy wine class study group. The chapter was California and we all brought wine and the guy who was hosting had a lot of California wines so we were pretty set for a long evening of swirling and spitting and spilling and swilling.
The host, a fine person, is a huge fan of California wines and has a very exstensive collection of cult wines and other pricey bottles. He was very excited to pull out the stars. So, we set to drinking and here was the actual problem: almost every wine was overpowered by the alcohol (that's the alcohol by volume number on the label). We are sitting there trying to pull out flavors and descriptions and all we came up with was, "the alcohol is pretty high" and maybe "pretty high tannins". The shit (as they say) was over the top and overwhelmed everything else.
So, I said goodbye to California wines.
Now, granted, maybe we had all the wrong wines or they were all too warm or we're idiots or we don't get it. Possibly. And maybe we aren't factoring in the unique climate and soil conditions that the winemakers deal with. And I am sure there are wine makers who are making wines that I might really like.
On, the other hand, I gotta drink wine I like.
I am so un-American.
Which leads us to January
The wines I have had this month have been in the Syrah and Grenache realm - two of my favorite grapes. I've had six so far in the past week or so (I started late this month) and so far:
- The 100% Syrahs are OK. My wife likes them. I found them huge and a bit overwhelming.
- The Syrah + Grenache blends are fine but pretty nondescript. They seem to cancel each other out somehow.
- We had an all-Grenache one that had a little sweaty stink. I like stink. I don't know if I like American sweaty stink.