Eric Asimov on California’s Diversity

Posted by | Posted in Wine History | Posted on 03-17-2014

DSC01964At the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers, Jon Bonné and Eric Asimov led attendees through a tasting of “Unexpected Napa Valley Wines.”

Earlier this month, Fred Swan wrote a great piece about the tasting, explaining that Jon and Eric talked at length about the history of the California wine industry – walking us through where California’s been, where it is, and where they think it’s going.

Bonné has been writing quite a bit about California’s diverse history for the past several weeks, so I figured I’d share some of Eric Asimov’s commentary from the tasting.

On George Vare
“Massican and Matthiasson speak to the central role George Vare played in influencing a certain group of Napa Valley producers. And they speak to the growing worldliness of a group of producers in Napa who weren’t restricted to tasting the wines already being made in Napa Valley or that had influenced the historical choices here, but were really traveling the world and absorbing influences from all over.”

On Steve Matthiasson
“[Steve Matthiasson] was not fulfilled with what he was finding here. He was looking for wines that were more restrained, less powerful, with more finesse, all the wines that at least critically had been ignored or at least downplayed.”

On Cathy Corison
“What’s interesting to me about Cathy Corison and her wines is that it speaks to commitment…

“She was committed to a more classic style. She weathered being ignored for years. And now, since about 2010, she’s a Cabernet superstar in a pantheon that reflects a spectrum of styles rather than one style…

“Cathy very stubbornly — or maybe resolutely — would not change her style…

“To me, her wines are a link to a style of Cabernet in Napa that put Napa Cabernet into the global conversation… Cathy is one of the folks who decided to keep going with what once was considered the classic style.”

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