Wine Critics

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Steve Heimoff blogged today on the cool 2010 California vintage and how critics will rate it since it likely will produce few super ripe wines. I often like what Heimoff has to say, but I think he has it wrong here. I’ve seen over and over from Laube and Steiman at Wine Spectator that they, too, have it wrong. These guys seem to always equate super-ripe wine to big-flavored wine; and more restrained or balanced wines as lean, or light, or maybe even elegant, but all-in-all lacking in something comparatively. To me it’s ridiculous.

What you can get with well-made, non-super-ripe wines is complexity because one characteristic (e.g., sweet fruit) doesn’t overshadow the other many possible characteristics. A wine with complexity can deliver an intense experience for the nose, mouth and mind. There is power in complexity, but most of the wine journalist gurus find power, and therefore goodness, in ripeness.

A couple of recent notable articles would tend to agree with my point of view. One by Dan Berger, about overripe wines becoming a bad trend, and one in Saveur.

Our wines? The year gives us what the year gives us, and we do what we can in the vineyard and the winery to highlight complexity because that’s what interests us.

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