A New Californian Takes a Stab at Cabernet
If San Francisco Chronicle Wine Editor Jon Bonne didn’t exist he would have to be invented and placed exactly where he is: at the helm of wine coverage at the daily nearest America’s most important wine region.
In the world of wine philosophy, Bonne could be accurately categorized as a New Californian. Not only does his most recent book confirm this, but also does his overall devotion to the belief in a need for a recalibration of Californian wine from what he and others consider excessive in body, texture, and weight to something more balanced and nuanced.
Jon and the other New Californians, at first bumping up a Grape Wall of Inertia in their call for more balance, now seem to have the upper hand in the debate. And among the significant things about this is that they have gained this upper hand while working in the middle of the Old Guard’s lair: Northern California wine country, where Cabernet is big, Pinot Noir is unctuous, Chardonnay is bigly oaked and lots and lots of money has been made selling this wine to lots and lots of people who adore these wines.
I focus on Jon because he has penned something very interesting: A New Californian’s View of the History and State of California’s Most Famous Grape: Cabernet Sauvignon. He titles it, “The Return of California Cabernet”.
The article is a call for a return to Cabernet-ness (importantly, including an herbal/savory quality), a history of how we got where we are and a measurement of the pace of the pendulum back to, presumably, a place of Cabernet classicism. Anyone interested in further examining where the New Californians stand today vis-a-vis California’s most important grape really ought to read Bonne’s article.