Lunch with Jim Laube
One of my ongoing tasks is meeting with wine writers. Sometimes it's to introduce a new product, sometimes it's to taste through the line and discuss winemaking styles, or as I've done more recently, it's to tell our story and introduce writers to the new and improved Dry Creek Vineyard. Every now and again, we simply break bread and chat about the state of the industry. These are the most fun as they often result in a fascinating exchange for both of us.
Last week I had lunch with Jim Laube from Wine Spectator. We shot the breeze, as they say, on a myriad of topics. Top of my mind was his recent blog post entitled Dry Creek Valley's Wines Should Be Better. We chatted about the Dry Creek Valley dilemma, the rumored possibility of a sale of Chateau Montelena and the use of screw capsor twisties as Jim likes to refer to them. Of particular fascination to me was his opinion on non-vintage vs. vintage wines. It might surprise some of you to learn that Jim believes that consumers might be better served in the long run if the wine industry did away with vintage dated wines in favor of non-vintage winesmuch like they do with Champagne and Port. I was very surprised to hear this especially from someone who quite vocally denounced the 2000 vintage (of course, he was right) and who has legions of followers who anxiously await his annual vintage report.
The premise makes some sense. It certainly would eliminate, or at least greatly reduce, quality variation due to vintage. There's the added bonus to winemakers who could blend to their heart's content ever in pursuit of making the highest quality wines possible regardless of what Mother Nature has provided in raw materials. And, then there's the simplicity in packaging. (I could print a 10-year supply if I wanted to!) And, of course, we wouldn't have pundits reporting on the quality of vintages, at least not the way they do now. What a relief that would be.
We both agreed that it would probably never happen in our lifetime. But it's an interesting concept and not one that gets discussed much.
I'd love to hear your thoughts and welcome your comments.
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