Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v07n05)
The Wine Scene - by Jill A. Ditmire
posted: Mar. 05, 2010
SOUR GRAPES FOR CALIFORNIA?
The 2010 Unified Wine & Grape Symposium released some interesting statistics about California wines during its recent meeting in Sacramento.
In 2009 the state's seven largest producers saw sales overall grow by nearly 7 million cases. That's good news for the biggest commercial wineries whose business targets the price-conscious consumer. (Think Gallo, Franzia,)
But for the state's overall industry, the news was sobering. California wine shipments fell almost 4%, or by nearly 4 million cases of wine, for the first 11 months of last year.
Nationwide, the domestic wine market dropped by 3 million cases compared with a year earlier. (Restaurant sales were sluggish too: Wine sales dropped as much as 10% at restaurants across the country.)
At the same time, wines from countries such as Argentina, Chile and Australia - which is reportedly swimming in a glut of the good stuff - saw business boom: Imports bubbled up 87% last year, cornering about 32% of the U.S. market.
What can I say? Well when it comes to California wines I have tasted some fantastic values from Rabbit Ridge and its Le Lapin line. I highly recommend:
Rabbit Ridge "Allure"-a sensational blend of grenache/syrah/mouvedre makes a rich, silky, dry red with soft spice and dark fruit.
Le Lapin Petite Syrah-Big bold red bursting with black fruit and chewy tannins.
Le Lapin Zinfandel-Soft black pepper, oak, bright cherry, raspberry fruit.
Le Lapin Multiplicity-Blend of petite syrah/carignane/zinfandel. WOW- BIG BOLD chewy, lush, big red fruit, amazing wine that sells for less than $9!!
YES YES YES to value wines from South America and Australia. Fill my glass with the following:
Jean Bousquet Cabernet Sauvignon--bright cherry, vanilla, smooth, dry red.
Calgiore Malbec-bold lush with aromas/flavors of mulberry, blueberry white pepper
Zuccardi Malbec-rich, assertive dry red with dark fruit and white pepper
Carlos Basso Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec-smooth full bodied blend with plenty of dark fruit and chewy tannins
Alberti 154 Malbec-earthy, ripe rich dry red with dark fruit and a hint of white pepper.
La Fortuna Pinot Noir-rustic dry medium bodied red with subtle dark fruit.
Misiones Cabernet Sauvignon-black cherry, vanilla, chewy tannins in a full bodied dry red.
De Bortoli Petite Syrah-BIG BOLD dark red fruit, chewy tannins, in your face flavors
Groom Shiraz-rich, robust, WOW! Black raspberry, wild blueberry, chewy tannins. LOVE IT!
Groom Sauvignon Blanc-zippy, tangy, bright acidity with fresh flavors of white grapefruit, mid palate minerality. Delish!
Remember the "Sipper Bowl" bet I made with my wine buddy Tim McNally of The Radio Show on WISTAM690 in New Orleans? (Indy wins...we get wine from New Orleans and vice versa.)
The Indiana Traminette is on its way to Tim.
But, being the charming Southern gentleman and wine enthusiast that he is, Tim went ahead and sent me bottles of Ponchartrain Vineyards Blanc de Bois and a Port Syrah. I sampled the wines with several groups of friends and all were happily surprised by the Louisiana offerings. The Blanc de Bois has a perfumey, floral nose that makes you think it might be sweet. But it's not. Instead, smooth, crisp with nice clean mineral finish. (Pontchartrain makes 2 styles of the Blanc de Bois and calls one BLANCHE de Bois, after that fiesty "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" character so associated with New Orleans.) The Port was BIG and BOLD with plenty of ripe black raspberry.
Tim also told me about the drive thru daiquiri places in N'awlins. I am ready for a road trip! For more info on these wines visit www.pontchartrainvineyards.com
Jill A. Ditmire is an Omnimedia wine specialist, AWS certified wine judge, freelance broadcast journalist and 20+ year home owner in the Warfleigh neighborhood of Broad Ripple. Send your questions and comments to Jill at firstname.lastname@example.org
Also on INSTAGRAM @jaditmire