A totally off the wall topic; but since both our colleague Dr.Irons and I come from wine grape growing areas, perhaps it is time to really explore a controversial topic--not the Miers catfight, not how screwed up the democratic party is, but what constitutes a great wine. Is this contentious or what? Herewith a statement of personal, opinioniated and otherwise unsupportable opinions:
The American wine industry has forsaken the concept of terroir in its haste to be trendy--I am sorry: warm weather Italian varietals such as sangiovese, zinfandel and others do NOT thrive in cooler climes. We grow great riesling, chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and merlot in WA state--California grows the more delicate warmer weather varietals. This is almost an argument from Adam Smith: when wine growing regions grow the grapes they grow best the everyone benefits.
In fact this is increasingly becoming the case as trendy varieties are whacked by cold temperatures. Washington state grows great grapes in huge quanities across 7 appelations--although those grapes are best if they are riesling, chard, cab or merlot--the rest of the grapes are poseurs given our terroir--I look to Napa, and California to produce syrah, zin, sangiovese and warmer varietals. And, of course the Aussies and Chileans are producing wonderful wines at bargain prices.
So--thoughts on wine? thoughts on terroir? as I drive around Grant county I see 640 acres of wine grapes under production--the prospect for oversupply is wonderful which means the prospect for great buys in wine in increasing daily.