Tomorrow I’m speaking at the Institute of Masters of Wine Symposium in Napa.
It’s a three-day affair that this year is exploring, among other subjects, changing consumer expectations.
I’m on a panel, with Jancis Robinson and James Halliday. Our topic: what is wine quality, from the critic’s perspective.
The first image that sprang to mind was that of my cat chasing his tail.
A few months ago, one of the master sommeliers asked me if I would talk about trends in California wine. And would I select one wine to pour for attendees that would demonstrate my perception of wine quality in California.
Yes, just one.
Geez, you’re kidding. How about two?
Ok, two they said.
So I thought about it for a while (and you can begin to think about the two wines you might have poured were you in my shoes for this event).
I decided on a Pinot Noir and Syrah, both from emerging regions.
I asked Marcassin for one of its Pinot Noirs and Alban for a Syrah.
Both wineries agreed to participate, so I have a 2002 Bondi Vineyard, which is the first bottling from this vineyard from Marcassin. The vineyard is west of Sebastopol and technically in both the Russian River and Sonoma Coast appellations. I tried a bottle the other night, and it’s classic Marcassin. Elegant, stylish, rich in fruit, with vibrant acidity and wonderful finesse.
The Alban is the 2004 Reva Edna Valley. Tried a bottle last night, since this too is a wine I haven’t yet tried, and it too was classic Alban. Dark, rich, exotic, smoky, with complex herb, beefy Syrah-laced fruit and, for me, quite elegant and stylish.
At this point I’m not sure which wines Robinson is pouring, but I’m pretty sure they won’t be from England.
Halliday has lots of options from his homeland, Australia.
I’d be curious to know what wines, or kinds of wines, you might suggest to use in a discussion about wine quality, and why.
Next week I’ll let you know how it went.
Chambers-chambers — June 30, 2006 2:55pm ET
Totv — La Quinta, CA — June 30, 2006 3:17pm ET
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