Justin Knock MW, California Wine Institute UK
Travelling around California over the past few months has really opened my eyes to the exciting range of wines being made in the state, from elegant Pinot Noir in Anderson Valley and fresh Chardonnay in Santa Barbara all the way through to Cabernet Sauvignon in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
What’s even more exciting is that members of the trade will get the chance to try these thrilling wines at the Dream Big California tastings in London on 27 September and Dublin on 28 September.
The UK and Ireland are markets where Californian wines are already admired and these tastings offer the chance to dig beneath the surface and discover the sub-regions and American Viticultural Areas where talented winemakers are creating wines that capture a true sense of place and others that are new and surprisingly different.
California is one of the final bastions of the bold, ripe fruit flavours and well-integrated oak that put the state on the global map and which still appeal to so many connoisseurs of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay; yet that consistent style is now supplemented by a broad spread of other grapes, including novel blends using varieties more commonly found in the Rhône, the Savoie, the Jura, Italy and elsewhere, as well as familiar varieties being made in previously unknown regions.
Experts from California will be sharing their knowledge and passion at the tastings during ground-breaking seminars over the course of the day – further details will be confirmed in due course.
While the pound took a hammering after the Brexit vote, there are still some great-value Californian wines to be found for customers in both the on- and off-trade and the tastings will include producers seeking outlets, alongside existing importers.
And if tasting the wines whets your appetite then I’d encourage you to go and visit California for yourself – few places in the wine world can rival the welcome offered to guests when they travel to the Golden State.