Opinion: American Idols

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Other: Opinion

To Regent’s Park Road today to taste Bibendum’s selection of mostly high-end Americans, from both North & South. No surprises that various reds from Argentina’s Catena shone, south of the Equator. Interesting to see distinct sub-regional differences and I surprised myself by slightly preferring the heftier Nicasia vineyard Malbec over the higher (cooler?) Adrianna. By way of comparison to the established Catena wines, newcomer Kooch from Rio Negro was bigger and tarrier than I would have expected but good nonetheless.

Heading North I didn’t manage to taste the excellent Estapor Venir from Baja California but headed straight over the border. I really liked the modern-Spain-meets-California style of Andrew Murray’s Esperance – a GSM blend – and the smoke and mineral funk of Ojai Santa Barbara Syrah, both from Southern California. A line-up of Calera Pinot Noirs showed that this fabled estate is not only back on song but capable of producing age-worthy Pinot (check out the 2000 Jensen, which isn’t Burgundian but seems authentically Californian).

Napa Valley was of course well represented. Highlights were  the Italian-styled Pazzo 2007 from Baccio Divino, the elegant Corison Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 and the more sturdy Philip Togni Cabernet Sauvignon 2007.

Value for money find of the day came surprisingly perhaps from Oregon where the kitchen sink blend of Chemin de Terre 2006, from A to Z Wineworks offering fresh, juicy drinkability with an Italian twist and a great price.

About Author

Peter McCombie

As a leading restaurant wine consultant Peter has chosen wine and trained staff for a host of five star hotels, members clubs and London’s best restaurants, not to mention the Cliff in Barbados. He lectures for Christie's Wine Course and the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, is a regular judge in international wine competitions and writes about wine for several magazines.

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