A person’s wine preferences and tastes change over time, so why can’t there be a whole new style emerging on the west coast? Newbies to wine imbibing like a bit of sweetness in the glass, so instead of a coke they’re reaching for a white zin. Anyone else remember the taste of Boone’s Farm? Little sip by little sip you get exposed to other wines and you start to build up a mental flavor repository. You become the sum of all your tasting experiences.
I think this may be what California is flirting with, a sense of confidence that comes when you realize the wine does not have to jump out of the glass and explode in your mouth to be enjoyable. We used to collect Turley wines; they were huge, massive experiences in a glass. Now, I don’t know what to do with them; I don’t know what foods I can pair them with; they are stand-alone wines, not food enhancers. For me, the whole point of wine is to create a bond with the food and to elevate both flavor experiences. I usually start with the food and then pick the wine but everyone has their own style, which is as it should be.
It’s a good thing when winemakers experiment with different styles, the same way that it’s a good thing when wine drinkers experiment with different flavors. Viva la difference!