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Friday, January 15, 2010

Looking forward to the new year!

There's lots of things to look forward to in 2010 in Sonoma County.

Music on the Russian River

There are scheduled events: ZAP- Zinfandel!

  • The ZAP tasting in San Francisco. Imagine about 400 Zinfandels and only one afternoon to try them all!
  • The Sonoma County Harvest Fair. About 600 wines and luckily three days to try them all!
  • Miscellaneous open houses by smaller wineries not usually open to the public, such as Siduri.
  • Great open house weekends like April in Carneros and Winter Wineland. I leave out the Russian River Barrel Tasting because it's only "great" if you likes hordes of intoxicated 30-somethings. (And if you're 30 you probably do).
  • Art celebrations like the Sonoma Film Festival, the Russian River Jazz and Blues Festivals.
  • Tons of other festivals from Gay Pride to Classic Cars.

Extrapolating for 2009 (and earlier) trends here's some things to look forward to:

  • Chardonnay isn't all oaky and buttery any more. Some are, but many go for a lighter touch and even, my God, some minerality.
  • More blending going on and not just with Cabernet, but with Rhone grapes and others.
  • Now that Sonoma County has pretty much figured out how to make Pinot (if wasn't always so) they're getting Syrah figured out.
  • New grapes like Tempranillo and Rhone varieties are getting planted and they are good!
  • They've discovered rosé doesn't have to be sweet so there should be more good ones.

The economy:

The good side of the economic downturn is good value in wines if you look.

Also, fewer people visiting the wine country means better deals on rooms and smaller crowds. OK, Napa will still be crowded in the summer.

In fact things may be slowly returning to normal (whatever "normal" is anymore) by the summer and people will be touring and tasting again.

Changes in the Past Decade

Since we've hit a new decade too, it's nice to look back at the recent trends for California wine:
  • Organic and Biodynamic wines
  • Bad corks and Screwcaps
  • Competition from South American wine especially Argentine Malbec
  • Realizing Chardonnay didn't have to be oaky and buttery
  • Syrah
  • $35 Zinfandel with 16% alcohol