The WSJ wine couple Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher reviewed American, in particular Californian, Chardonnays a few weeks ago and I reported on it on my posting of September 27, 2009. Their review was devastating; they were "angry after our tasting of Chardonnay, because we found too many of those wines stupid and insulting—bad, thoughtless wines made for profit, not passion".
Last week, they gave us their impressions on Cabernet Sauvignon from California. This time, their review was more upbeat, but still disappointing. They found some values, but many wines were just "okay". The wines were technically fine and Dorothy and John were pleased with the fruit and minerality of many of the wines, but they were in their judgment not, overall, exciting. What they lacked was that amazing combination of focus, structure and balance that makes Cabernet great.
Overall, they felt that they tasted too few Cabernets that would move them to gush, "Wow, if we paid $70 for this, we'd be happy because it's special and worth every penny." But there were a handful. One of the best of tasting, Antica, is owned by Italy's Antinori family. The winery made about 2,000 cases, which were distributed nationwide. Our other favorite, Duckhorn, is made in relatively large quantities: 11,782 cases, which were distributed nationwide. Both of these wines had them talking all night about their complexity, from hints of black olives on the nose to blackberries and earth on the finish. That's what fine Cabernet should do.
Read the whole article, which is, as usual, very entertaining or watch the video here.