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We Need to Talk About California

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We've said it before and we'll say it again, maybe one of the most influential factors in the wine industry, sometimes even above quality, is trend. Sometimes that's a great thing! Australian wines burst onto the scene when people suddenly couldn't get enough Shiraz, and now Australia also produces premium Pinot Noir, Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet, to name a few. Prosecco was one of few success stories of the 2008 recession, taking over from Champagne as those high-end bottles became to expensive for the leaner years. And here in the U.S., we have our own saga, and as most thing seem to, it's all Hollywood's fault.

Remember the movie Sideways? The blockbuster film starring Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church as two guys in the Santa Ynez Valley, seeking out the perfect Pinot Noir? The wine industry does too, because after that movie came out, Pinot Noir sales increased by 16%, while Merlot's popularity slipped and has been slipping since.

The thing is, Merlot is one of the friendliest, most accessible grapes in the world, producing exceptional wines from California to Tuscany to Bordeaux. Medium-bodied, medium tannins, medium acidity, rich dark fruit, high alcohol - what's not to like? And actually, most California Pinot Noir ends up in a fuller bodied, oaked style, almost emulating Merlot! Maybe you just think you don't like it... 

And the same goes for Chardonnay. It built a reputation for being super oakey, super buttery, and your aunt probably loved it. But Chardonnay is one of the most versatile varietals, from crisp, flinty Chablis to vivid, creamy Burgundy, to lush and fruity New World styles. It's almost impossible to say "I don't like Chardonnay," because the wines can taste so radically different from each other.

To that end, we want to confront these prejudices head-on and see if we can change any minds. Join us tonight from 6-8 PM as Allison from M.S. Walker pours two awesome wines from Broadside in the Central Coast of California. This estate, run by a winemaking couple, Stephanie and Brian Terrizzi, seeks to capture the essence of their region with pure and varietally correct wines, without the manipulation that so marks some California producers.

Broadside Wild Ferment Chardonnay - Sustainable - Edna Valley, California - $18

This Chardonnay sees only 10% neutral oak, and spends the rest of its time in stainless steel, maintaining the lively, expressive fruit. On the nose, baked apple, pear, pineapple, and a touch of cream, followed by a palate of lemon tart, papaya, and an unusual but delightful mineral note. California nay-sayers, you need to try this with poached salmon or beer chicken.

Broadside Margarita Vineyard Merlot - Sustainable - Paso Robles, California - $18

The climate and soil of this coastal vineyard actually emulates the maritime climate of Bordeaux, the king of Merlot production. Seeing aging entirely in neutral oak, the fruit remains vibrant, with dark cherry, plum, and raspberry, softened by notes of dark chocolate, tobacco, and smooth, velvety tannins. Merlot as it was meant to be, served best with a decadent cheeseburger or rosemary lamb chops.


Don't forget, if you can't make it in tonight, don't you can always order your bottles for pickup or delivery on our website

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