I go to a lot of wine tastings. A lot. And as much as my friends think it’s just another reason I have the Best. Job. Ever, you wine industry folks know that many times it’s daunting and exhausting and not so much fun at all.
Part of it’s on you: you have to eat before the tasting, you need to stay hydrated, you had better pace yourself, and you really shouldn’t overdo it and taste too much. Oh, and did I mention you absolutely must spit? This might spoil the fun for you non-wine friends but this is work, remember? I’m pretty happy if I leave a wine tasting with good notes, just enough energy to go back to the job, and the satisfaction that I don’t look like Ozzy Osbourne in his bat biting days.
After leaving the In Pursuit of Balance tasting (IPOB) last week I felt positively giddy. In Pursuit of Balance is an event, held in San Francisco and here in New York that “seeks to promote dialogue around the meaning and relevance of balance in California Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.” The wineries, which today number around 30, are chosen by a committee of wine professionals for their commitment to balance, non-manipulation, restraint, and the expression of Terroir. Yeah, yeah, yeah; if all that sounds like gibberish to you, let me break it down for you. These wines kick a**.
This is an exciting time for someone who has been beating the drum for California wine for years now. I guess I was in such high spirits after the tasting because I felt kind of like a proud parent. It wasn’t always so easy to get a wine trade crowd excited about California wines. Especially Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, which are routinely bullied for being too buttery, overly oaked, and excessively ripe. Are those days over and those wines a thing of the past? No, but there is optimism in the eyes of even the biggest critics of California wine, and that’s reassuring.
Whether you are a lover or decrier of California wine, I encourage you to take a look at the full list of IPOB producers and seek them out. Just give them a try. And let me know what you think. I will be really amazed – and probably a little distraught — if you’re not an instant convert.