Not a misspell, just to let you know this more about wine than you will ever want to know. I kind of enjoy it, and will probably keep going until someone says to stop.
The year 1850, that the biggest wine-producing state—California—received statehood 169 years ago next week (September 9). Today, California has 3,900 wineries and 637,000 acres/242,400 hectares planted to wine grapes. Wine sales in California reached $40.2 billion in 2018. 95% of the $1.6 billion in U.S. wine exports came from California. I am proud to say that our family was involved in some phases of the wine industry over the years.
Percentage, 50%, of rosé sold in the five months between May and September last year, according to a report in Seven Fifty Daily. Five years ago, most rosé sales were limited to just the main three summer months. In France (where rosé sales now exceed white wine sales), rosé has become a year-round beverage, especially popular at ski resorts in wintertime. And you thought the French were so darn stuck in tradition!
Bordeaux has several classification systems, including the most famous—the 1855 Classification which ranked the 60 top châteaux of the Médoc and one château—Haut-Brion—in Graves. However, the famous commune of Pomerol (where, among other great estates, Château Pétrus is located) was never classified. And it turns out, that I really enjoyed the Pomerols we tasted in Saint Emilion, Bordeaux last May.
Not all red wines are made the same. Some wines have significantly higher levels of “good for you stuff” than others (condensed tannins–see above). For example, Cabernet Sauvignon has more condensed tannins than Pinot Noir, but both wines have much less than Tannat, Petite Sirah, or Sagrantino. While it’s rather difficult to determine which wines are best (exactly), here are some clues:
- Dry red wines are better than sweet wines.
- Red wines with lower alcohol (preferably below 13% ABV) are better than high alcohol wines
- Red wines with higher tannin (those that are more astringent) are better than low tannin wines.
These days, there are over 3,600 wineries in California. The region has also been featured in all sorts of movies, documentaries, and shows, ranging from the movie The Trip to the more recent comedy featuring Saturday Night Live alums, Wine Country. In 1976, the “historic” turnaround was evident when a big wine tasting event in Paris included some California wines. In this event, now known as The Judgment of Paris, California wines were chosen in both the red and white categories, beating out wines from the best-known winemaking regions of France. Suddenly, the world took note of California’s wine offerings. (Of course, they do not acknowledge this in France!)
Can you believe that 25% of British respondents in a recent survey who thought that terroir referred to a small breed of dog. Another 30% said terroir was a type of French horror film. Reassuringly, 34% of those surveyed did connect the term to wine. The survey was commissioned by the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET), the world’s leading wine certification body, as part of their global Wine Education Week.
The yield from this year’s Champagne harvest may be lower by 20% than last year’s, which in turn was lower than the year before it. Among the weather setbacks that the Champagne region has suffered so far in 2019: frost in spring, hail, storms, an outbreak of powdery mildew, and a record heat wave that saw temperatures rise to 109.4 degrees F; 43 degrees C. What a shame! Now you can drink more California sparkling wines!
One final note: when on wine tours in France, they seem to bash both California and Napa Valley, and I mean constantly!!! Yet, none of the wine tours I have been to in California even mention France, the French or their wine making methods!!!!