CA wine for Francophiles

Briceland, especially anything from Ishi Pishi Ranch.

I don’t know if this is still the case but Anderson Conn Valley used to present itself in an old world style. It has been years since I had one though.

Agree with Howard.

Also agree with Sarah and Alfert, though, too. My cellar is 20% California and the rest old world. The Cali wines that speak to me are largely old cabs from the 70’s and 80’s and into the 90’s before Parker stunk up the joint, and it is often hard to differentiate from Bordeaux. I know my palate. And fitting square pegs into round holes is often a mistake. Also, it is not likely that you’d mistake new world Pinot for Burg, but there are some pinots that consistently impress me: Cameron and Thomas, old Eyrie. And I love Peay, and some Williams-Selyem, but I don’t think they’re old world in style.

What Sarah and Alan said. Years ago, we had a tasting group with varied tastes. There were a couple of California-philes who often brought CA wines that they were convinced us Europhiles would like. For years, I never liked those wines, and this continual exposure to wines they thought were top of the heap, kept me from putting any effort into finding California wines that I would like. And the vast majority of the wines were double blind, so not a case of label bias.

Which is a long way of saying that I disagree with those who say to just serve them the CA wines you love a nd see if they love them too. In that, I’m assuming they’ve tried their fair share of CA wines and not liked them. Hopefully blind, at least some of the time. You said “close minded”, so label bias is strong possibility — but as Sarah points out, it’s also possible that they legitimately just don’t like the wines at all and you are interpreting that as close mindedness.

So I think that your best bet to bring them around, is to serve them wines that have the structure they are used to, with California flavors. There have been some good suggestions here, but it certainly would help to know what wines they DO like. Do they love Chinon? chateauneuf? Burg? Bordeaux?

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If your buddy drives nothing but Porsches, do you try to impress him with a ride in your new Camero? [highfive.gif]


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Well done!

I’d add Domaine De La Côte to touch on pinot.

I suppose it’s possible he’s tried everything noteworthy from Arcadian to Kutch to Dominus to Clos Saron to Tercero to Rhys to Maycamas to Sandlands to Scherrer to Ridge etc. etc. and has concluded that he doesn’t like any wine made in this entire state.

But without more information, I would probably guess this person probably only or mostly had some of the obvious choices and doesn’t realize the diversity of styles, climate, terroir etc. that the state possesses, and he or she might fail to realize how it’s likely there are really good wines at reasonable prices out there (blind at least).

If I had a friend who loves wine but had only tried a few European wines and decided he just doesn’t like European wines and isn’t going to drink them anymore, I’d probably pour him a few things to show him that he might have been mistaken in his initial impression. And maybe he’d still say “Nope, I don’t like European wine,” and that would be his choice but I would have wanted to challenge him a bit.

Chris brings up a great point. We really have no idea of what the Francophile’s depth of exposure to California wine is, which is also crucial in trying to figure out how to approach this.

This exactly!
I have been wrong many times thinking an old world style Napa wine from cooler vintages was French when it was California. I prefer old world wines by a wide margin but I do not necessarily grab a Dominus or Togni when I want California. Im so grateful for the Potts, Greer’s, Kinsmans, Macdonalds etc that are making unapologetic Napa Cabernet that absolutely rocks. When I want a Bordeaux blend I’ll likely grab a Bordeaux, but I am very grateful for my wine friends that have made come around to the joys of fruit.

Also, the tannin Managment which has made some of these wines so much more approachable much younger is changing the narrative too. While Bordeaux is experiencing this just the same, i think the impact is far more significant in Napa.

From one Francophile to another, you can keep your Cayuse and your Pax and leave me the Chave, but if you can’t get into some of these 15-18 Napa blockbusters you are missing out.

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No, no, we’re not.

Or at least not missing out on anything we would enjoy.

With about three decades of cellaring under its belt.

Which means the 1991 ought to be at just about the perfect point for opening in 2021.

I got a chuckle there!

1980s. High School parking lots throughout the US. The Camaro! ‘Nuff said.

Haha, so true!

In the spirit of the real Country Squire, I had a big SUV back then.


Since you have convinced yourself that CA makes some appealing wines, and you have some in your cellar along with a lot of French wines, why not have them try one of your CA wines that you liked enough to buy more of. Just a thought . . .

There are a lot of good suggestions so far. I would add Forman to the list, especially some older bottles. His Cab can be mistaken for Bordeaux in a blind tasting, and their Chardonnay is made in a Chablis style.


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And I had a Country Squire!

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Thank you. This is what I was looking for. Said friend is a Bdx and CdP drinker.

Zero exposure really. He decided to get into wine 5 years ago and dove immediately into BDX and Rhone.

Give em a caymus with a straw and an ice cube. That way he’ll stay away from the wines us CA wine lovers drink