Most California winemakers are far too busy tending their bubbling tanks and barrels to hold press conferences at this time of year, but trust me when I say those press conferences are going to come at some point, replete with the kinds of superlatives that only the most triumphant of vintages can elicit.
Simply put, 2012 will be one of the best vintages California has seen for decades. It certainly represents one of the first vintages in a long time that requires neither circumspection from those who think they could have made better wine had conditions been better, nor cautious optimism from those who think well of their efforts in spite of factors beyond their control.
Such a vintage allows most wines produced explicitly to answer the question, 'What kind of wine would you really like to make?' In particular, 2012 will give us all an opportunity to contemplate the question of ripeness, and how an interpretation of that concept continues to evolve in the landscape of California wine.
This article is my monthly column at JancisRobinson.Com, Alder on America, and is available only to subscribers of her web site. If you're not familiar with the site, I urge you to give it a try. It's only £6.99 a month or £69 per year ($11/mo or $109 a year for you Americans) and well worth the cost, especially considering you basically get free, searchable access to the Oxford Companion to Wine ($65) and the World Atlas of Wine ($50) as part of the subscription costs. Click here to sign up.
Image courtesy of Napa Valley Vintners
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