Finally, sommeliers and food/wine fanatics around the world are finding their field of dreams. The game is slowly changing for winemakers to make wine, not just to appease the likes of Robert Parker (or the mass public who don’t know better), but to tantalize a gourmand palate. The wines that I speak of are not flabby, overpowering and have high alcohol content, but ones that have drive and a directed force with all of the elements in balance. They can work with food without overpowering and they have a voice, perhaps not a loud one, but a sincere one.
Some of you may have heard the owner and winemaker for Ojai Vineyards finding fault with his current style of winemaking. This is HUGE! Ojai Vineyards has received top-notch scores from Parker and this is basically saying, “You are wrong, Mr. Parker!” The plan for Adam Tolmach is to pick sooner so he has less ripe grapes. “We got the scores we wanted, but we went away from what I personally like,” Mr. Tolmach says. “We lost our rudder when we went for ever bolder, riper flavors.”
The demand is coming from sommeliers and educated consumers that aren’t interested in opulent high power and high alcohol wines. As global warming continues, the wines from California will grow higher and higher in alcohol, making it an impossible task for two people to share a bottle of wine. So I guess global warming is good for one thing, and one thing only—to shake up winemakers to create more wines in balance.
The future of wine looks good for those of us who like a bit of subtlety. As the quote goes, “Build it and [they] will come.” Thank you to all who enjoy well-balanced wines and forgo the showy and opulent wines.
Angela Camacho, a certified sommelier and author of a best selling wine tool, The Wine Wheel®, shares her obsession with wine and food.