Drink Cool-Climate Wines

Drink Cool-Climate Wines

The purpose of Drink Cool-Climate Wines is to provide information, opinions and reviews of wines that are primarily from cool-climate wine growing regions.

Those of us that enjoy wine, be it as an amateur or a professional recognize that wine profiles, taste preference and styles are continually evolving.  When I first began drinking wines in the late 1960’s early 1970s, the only wines in America for college age drinkers were jug wines called chablis and heart burgundy, sweet wines such as Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill and occasionally an inexpensive French “vin de table”.  When I traveled to Europe in the early 1970’s the wine cultures of France, Germany and Italy were a great awakening of the wonderful pleasure of wine paired with food offered. Later when I started to travel on business to San Francisco in the mid-1970’s and began exploring the Napa and Sonoma Valleys I was intoxicated by the lush chardonnays and cabernet sauvignons. These wines were much fuller than the red and white wines I now frequently drank from Burgundy and Bordeaux.  Moving to California in the early 1980’s and living there for nearly twenty years I saw California wines as the benchmark and as I travelled, toured and tasted the wines throughout Europe I found I tasted wines that were more austere, but also more defined by regions and vintages than those of much of California. In the 2000+ period I was fortunate to travel not only to more places in Europe, but also to South Africa, Argentina, Uruguay, and Australia as well as throughout the wine regions of North America. My palate was evolving.  By 2006 I was more interested in leaner merlots, cabernet francs, chenin blancs and sauvignon blancs.

While working as the Executive Director of the Long Island Merlot Alliance (now called Merliance) which co-hosted the second cool-climate conference held in Long Island in 2008, I was impressed by the depth and quality of cool-climate wines produced in the United States, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.  My personal taste profile definitely changed, as it was happening throughout America and elsewhere.  Full extracted fruit flavor reds and over oaked fruited whites had their day and their appeal was rapidly diminishing.  In their place were lighter, more acid balanced wines, leaner reds and whites produced primarily in cooler climate wine regions.

By touring, by tasting, and by talking with winemakers, proprietors, sommeliers, writers and amateurs over the past few years, I have explored in depth on where the wines for people who enjoy food and wines are going in the near future.  While there are many opinions, a large number see the upcoming decade as being dominated by cool-climate wines, as well as wines made to match the flavor profiles of cool-climate wines, even if they are grown and produced in warmer climates.

Cool-Climate Wines we love are Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris from Oregon; Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc from Sonoma and Sta. Rita Hills regions of California; Merlot and Cabernet Franc from Long Island and Riesling from the Finger Lakes regions of New York; Albarino from Spain, Riesling and Pinot Blanc from Alsace in France and Germany; Lagrein, Pinot Bianco and Pinot Grigio from Alto Adige in Italy: Sancerre and Muscadet from France; Chenin Blanc from South Africa; Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, and many other wines and cool-climate wine regions.  But we also love lean rosé wines be they from Provence or Long Island.

Along with my wife, Martina Gams-Dest, my partner in wine and food we hope you find our original posts, our reviews, our opinions and our reposts of interesting pieces to be interesting, stimulating and perhaps occasionally controversial.


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Len Dest

30 November 2012