There is a great opinion piece in the LA Times today, written by wine writer and champion of natural wines, Alice Feiring.  I love the opening line, because it pins down exactly my frustration with the conflict between California’s food and and wine. We have a bounty of fruits, nuts, vegetables, and properly raised meat at our fingertips, and it is near impossible to find a local wine that won’t drown out the flavor of our tomatoes and fava beans and asparagi. This is largely due to the high levels of alcohol and lack of elegance in most California wine, a byproduct of bad decisions made in the vineyard and the cellar.  She mentions Clos Roche Blanche from the Loire Valley of France as an example of a producer of real, natural wine; I think that both their Pineau d’Aunis and Sauvignon Blanc would be ideal companions for most of our California cuisine. I’m glad she also pointed out a couple California winemakers who are doing something different — Cathy Corison and Mike Dashe. Sacramento’s own Darrell Corti is a champion of Corison’s wines. He recently hosted an event pairing past vintages of her Cabernet Sauvignon with various types of beef. I’ll add another winemaker to the list: Gideon Beinstock of Clos Saron. He’s making wines as natural as you can get right here in the Sierra Foothills.

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