I have several Google News searches related to wine saved that I get alerts on overnight. It is a great way to keep up on wine news without being overwhelmed.
One of the stories that popped up last night was this drivel from Russ Briley at the Ventura County Star.
Russ and his wine club meet regularly and they decided it would be fun to try wines that aren't from California, Oregon or Washington. I actually encourage this type of wine tasting, but clearly Russ did it with the intention of proving how bad wines from other states are:
To put this in perspective, California, Washington and Oregon account for about 93.5 percent of wine in the U.S. Although New York's approximate 3.7 percent represents over half of the remaining U.S. wine production, it is not that easy to find, thus no deductions. By the end of the night I had lived the adage: "Be careful what you wish for."
My grading scale consisted of three criteria, 1) 25 points maximum for the state the wine came from (harder to get, more points); 2) 25 points maximum for a unique varietal; 3) 50 points maximum for the overall quality of the wine. Needless to say, the overall quality ratings for all the wines ended up lower than a sample pour from a high-end winery.
While I fully acknowledge that there are bad wines being produced outside of California, Oregon and Washington (just as there are bad wines being produced in those states). It is also very easy to find good and even great wines. But, that is not what Russ and his wine club wanted to do, they wanted to smugly poo-poo wines from other states, and that is what they did.
In fact Russ concludes his column with:
However, the real winner of the night was Morris Thomas, the club member who could not be there.
This type of attitude drives me nuts: people who assume wine from outside of California can't be any good. This is an attitude I find especially ironic given that Californian wine makers are still bragging about a tasting they won in 1976, more that 35 years ago, when everyone was poo poo'ing their wines.
Russ has disabled the comments on his ill-informed, condesending, drivel (speaking of ill-informed: Cynthiana and Norton are the same grape) so I can't make this offer directly, but I am more than willing to send his wine club a 6-pack of Virginia wines that I guarantee will impress. If anyone knows Russ feel free to pass this article to him along with my e-mail address.