Issue 108 -- Closing date December 20, 1996
CALIFORNIA: THE BIG TIME
(An Historic Period)
The Unprecedented Succession of High Quality Vintages (1990-1996)
We are experiencing history in the making. Only 12 months ago I wrote that "California has had five consecutive vintages of dazzling quality." Well, make that six, with the seventh (1996) in the wings, just finishing fermentation and looking remarkably promising. Unlike most European viticultural regions, California rarely has a problem with rain during the harvest season. In Europe, six or seven years out of each decade are impacted by rain before or during the harvest. Such conditions might occur a maximum of two or three times a decade in California! Yet to experience the benevolent, often perfect set of climatic conditions that have shaped the 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995 and 1996 California vintages, is undoubtedly an event of historic significance. Let me put this in context. The 1993 vintage has received more criticism from segments of the West Coast wine press than any of the other vintages of the nineties. Admittedly, the extreme spikes of heat before and during the 1993 harvest had the potential to cause problems. Yet the vintage should be judged on what was produced. The inescapable conclusion is that 1993 produced many great Chardonnays, Cabernets, Pinot Noirs, and Zinfandels. Think of this another way. Take 1993 out of the context of the nineties and place it in the decade of the eighties. Guess what? 1993 would be considered the finest vintage of that decade, well ahead of such stellar years as 1984, 1985, 1986 and 1987! Readers would be well-advised to compare and contrast the dry, sunny, long growing seasons and harvest that California has enjoyed in the nineties with what Europes finest viticultural regions have has to endure since 1991. Other than September, 1990, Europes prime grape growing regions have had not a hot or dry September this decade!
Whos On First (focusing on the crème de la crème of Californias wine producers)
What follows are lists of my favorite California producers.
CALIFORNIAS MOST EXCEPTIONAL PRODUCERS OF CHARDONNAY:
Cuvée LD (Sonoma)
Cuvée W Livermore
CALIFORNIAS MOST EXCEPTIONAL PRODUCERS OF SAUVIGNON BLANC, SEMILLON, AND BLENDS THEREOF:
For More Information Contact: