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A Bit of Banter with Decanter

A Bit of Banter with Decanter

Reading these musings, a disparaging thought surfaces within my feverish cranium; I imagine Decanter push this heresy every year. Good for advertising business, you know.

 

Decanter, (sold in ninety country’s) is the UK’s, leading wine mag and this month (April 2011) has published a follow up to its deliberations on the 2007 Californian vintage. The tasters have been assembled; there has been much sipping and spitting - a consensus has emerged.

2007: “California at its best, declares one headline, “Evolutionary road” proclaims another. “At last Californian winemakers appear to have grasped the nettle and produced an elegant style, moving away from the overripe, heavily oaked, and solidly tannic cabernets we’ve seen only too often from California in the past”. Is the collective conclusion   This point of view is not new; a summation a few years back of another Decanter tasting, asserted that California's 2002 Cabernet Sauvignons are, “European in style, with their firm tannins and racy acidity”. While Leading Decanter wine scribe Steven Spurrier, who also chairs the Decanter Wine Awards, still without doubt the UK’s top wine competition is quoted on Napa Valley Winery, Keenan’s web site,  “Napa has achieved protected name status in the EU. Rightly so - its latest {2005} Bordeaux blends are a rival to the real thing," says STEVEN SPURRIER. This presumably means that the 2005 Napa wines are similar to the best cuvees from the Medoc.

Linda MurphyReading these musings, a disparaging thought surfaces within my feverish cranium; I imagine Decanter push this heresy every year. Good for advertising business, you know. But according to Linda Murphy this is not the case. Linda, a US citizen who is also “a proper journalist” it says on her web site, is Decanters under assistant west coast promotions person, or something along this line, as well as a contributor to the Jancis Robinson website.

It is with some trepidation that she begins to read of a Decanter panel tasting featuring a range of 2005 Cal Cabs, she writes, on the wine review on line web site.

Her fears were well grounded, she writes, {Decanter} “panellists, to say the least, were not impressed.  They found the wines 'overblown;' 'over-alcoholic;' 'manufactured;' 'soupy;' 'hot;' 'jammy;' 'conformist;' 'correct-but-dull;' 'spirity' and 'flabby.'  Tasters were bitterly disappointed”.

Murphy knew several of the wines featured and they display, “none of the aforementioned negative descriptors,” she continues. The Decanter tasters are European, mainly British and  were raised on Bordeaux blends and favour less fruity wines. Americans, on the other hand, will quite happily down a glass of big tasting wine, cocktail style, without food. They embrace and love the big, juicy, rich and luscious fermentations that are the natural creations of the Sunshine State, concludes Decanters West Coast Woman.

This is such a sensible point of view. No-one would seriously judge the quality of  a  Chateauneuf du Pape blend in relation to how its tastes when compared to a Cabernet based Medoc wine. Murphy sums up her piece by pointing out that Europeans and Americans like to drink their local wines.