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California Wine Comment

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California – lots of baby love, lots of glamour, but where’s my weekly date?

The Californian wine industry is having a huge LCBO promotion for the month of March. Being bombarded with ‘Californian Style’ is not a bad thing at this time of year! And who knows you might be the lucky one to win the deluxe food & wine week in the Golden State. Complete with designer luggage! Enter at www.lcbo.com/calistyletrip

While my ‘mother’ wine is European, there wasCalifornia a period when I was gobsmacked by Californian wine. The fruitiness, the brightness, and the delicious drinkability. I loved going to Californian wines competitions and tasting hundreds of glorious Chardonnays – several days in a row. For years, the LCBO had a dynamite Raymond Sauvignon Blanc (for well under ten dollars) that kept me hot on California.

At least till a decade ago. Not sure if it was our weak dollar or if they got greedy, but the prices soared and selection slumped, and Californian wine slipped out of my life. Most of the wines I had enjoyed were replaced by easy drinking brands. Candy-cute wines that sell really well to those who don’t want an experience. And at the other end of the scale, California started concentrating on the $20+ level. And who could blame them when new, affluent drinkers though nothing of that price, or even twice it! Californian wine went both down market and upmarket, which probably made business sense. But it lost me and others who generally shop in the mid-range. Today’s wine world is full of great $12-$15 drinks, but not much of it is coming from California.

A preview tasting of many of the wines in the March promotion didn’t tempt me to rekindle my fondness, at least on a daily basis. Instead, it helped to confirm the picture I just painted of Californian wine – at least in this market. But I don’t want to spoil this month’s show, and I have to admit being tempted by a few reds. Which are worth discovering with BBQ season just around the corner.

Picks coming up!

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Billy

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