Defender of the (wine) Realm
There’s no denying it. I’m a Californiaphile when it comes to wine. No doubt this is result of what I’ve most been exposed to over the past 20 years.
It also accounts for the bile that rises up in my throat every time I hear a Frenchman or Brit denigrate American wines and winegrowers.
Most often this denigration takes the form of "oh, they simply haven’t been at it nearly long enough to appreciate the complexity and importance of terroir." The other one, promulgated by the likes of Jonathon Nossiter in his "Mondovino" skit goes like this: "American vintners have no soul, producing simple, homogeneous wines in a factory setting.
This latter slur is the one Jancis Robinson take on today in her article published in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Being somewhat removed from the end point of the slurs, Jancis is able to zero in on the reason we’ve seen so much of this anti-American/Anti-New World spewing of late:
the reason the French resent the likes of Constellation Brands, Hardys, E. & J. Gallo Winery
and Yellow Tail is that they are much more successful at branding and marketing
than their large French counterparts, such as Les Grands Chais de France, Les
Vignerons du Val d’Orbieu, Domaine du Castel and the Bordeaux negociants."
California’s wine industry has its problems. I"ll be the first to admit this. Quality, consistency, understanding terroir and dedication to artisan efforts are not one of those problems. We can talk about marketing driven by ratings and a propensity to produce high alcohol, flat wines all you want, however.
It was quite nice to see one of the worlds greatest wine writers come to the defense of California and the new world.