If the topic of the year is rising alcohol levels in today's wines, as it appears to be, Wells Guthrie of Copaín is probably the poster boy for the lower-alcohol crowd. Several years ago he had an epiphany: After making a reputation for big, bold, muscular Syrahs and broad, fleshy Pinot Noirs, he decided to change. And he discovered that it's not necessarily the what, but the where, that matters in making good wines with lower alcohol levels.
Wine Spectator senior editor Harvey Steiman gathers around the table with an assortment of wine, cooking and music enthusiasts for an annual dinner in Aspen. Each diner contributes a favorite dish or wine to the dinner, making for a great gastronomic experience without too much work.
It's a standing joke, though a somewhat nervous one, among winegrowers when the subject of global climate change comes up. "Well, I guess they'll be growing Cabernet in Burgundy," someone is sure to remark, "because it will be too hot to grow Pinot Noir there anymore."
But how true is that idea? Is it likely that whole regions will get too hot for what they currently grow? That would change the dynamics of wine profoundly. Noah Diffenbaugh, a fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University, enlisted colleagues at Utah State and Southern Oregon universities and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory to plug in conservative climate models and analyze what would happen region by region in California, Oregon and Washington if those models come true.
Finding a good place to eat on our annual drives to and from our summer apartment in Aspen, 1,200 miles from San Francisco, used to be a challenge. Our original route, once past the beautiful Sierra Nevada range, took us across the bleak northern half of Nevada, past the Salt Flats of Utah, through the Wasatch Range and across I-70 to Colorado. It pretty much left good food behind at Reno.
Driving through Las Vegas adds only about 50 extra miles to our route and represents a vast improvement in food and scenery. Three years ago we discovered a friendly wine bar in Grand Junction where we look forward to a glass of good wine and creative food at the end of the day's drive.
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