Woman on Wine with Amy Reiley
Since I started writing on the subject, American wine as just gotten bigger and bigger. And I’m not just talking in popularity. I mean in style, body and alcohol levels. And that, my friends, is not a good thing!
The percentage of alcohol has been creeping up, up, up over the past few years as wine drinkers demand (or at least are perceived to demand) more flavorful, more full-bodied wines. We can all appreciate a nice body, but the critics, myself included, have finally started to shout “Enough is enough!” It looks like the vintners are finally in agreement with us.
At a recent tasting of wines from the Paso Robles region—a California wine growing region with a hot climate, perfect for producing stratosphere-busting high alcohol wines—I enjoyed wines showing much-needed restraint. Now, they aren’t the lowest alcohol wines (not even close). But for their climate, Paso Robles vintners seem to be pulling back on the kind of alcohol that smacks you in the face and instead celebrating the joys of nuance. Here are just a few of the nicely balanced, shapely-bodied numbers coming out of Paso Robles today.
Grey Wolf Cellars
Certainly not restrained by Chablis’ standards but for a California Chard, this wine has elegance with bright citrus fruit, subtly nutty notes and honey with a creamy texture.
2008 Grenache Blanc
A pretty wine with citrus blossom on the nose, its flavors are relatively subtle with grapefruit, citrus zest and a hint of spice.
2008 Cotes de Tablas Blanc
A crisp spring/summer white, it has zippy acidity, elegant minerality and the flavor of licorice (anise-not redvines!) lingering at the end.
Kiamie Wine Cellars
Don’t get me wrong, this is still a big, bad wine by Old World standards, but for a Paso Meritage it is smooth with layers of flavors including blackberry and black currant, leather and spice.
Edward Sellers Vineyards and Wines
2007 Cuvee des Cinq
Again, this is not a light-weight wine by anyone’s definition, but this Rhone-style blend offers surprising elegance with both berry and earthy flavors and a touch of spice.
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