Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Food Wed.
Dear LA Times: Is this Pinot Noir article an admission that your wine features have been full of shit for the past month?
Amid the current frenzy, prices frequently have little or no relationship to quality, which has been worse than spotty....

Pinot Noir is a terroir wine, meaning that the best examples express the particular mineral and climatic attributes of a property more than other varieties might. To create the illusion of exclusivity in the midst of a glut, ambitious vintners are subdividing their labels into dozens of vineyard-specific secondary labels....

Never mind that many of the latest Pinots are of disappointing quality and are overpriced: Wine drinkers are buying them, doubling sales of the varietal over the last decade.

The good news for Pinot Noir drinkers: Supply quadrupled during the same period....

"Disappointing" was the overwhelming reaction of a tasting panel The Times assembled to sample 28 of the new California Pinot Noirs....The overwhelming impression was that the wines are poor reflections of what Pinot Noir can be. Few showed any of the classic bright red fruit notes for which Pinot is known. Many were overly alcoholic, unpleasantly vegetal or simply lacking in character....

Yet while the panel came in expecting to discover more than a few exciting new wines � based on the track records of some of the producers and the reputation of some of the vineyards � general disappointment was so strong it bordered on outrage, particularly in light of the prices.

"Who do these guys think they are?" asked an incredulous Meadows.

Here's a free tip: if you want to drink a good pinot, you have to spend at least $25. [Pretty tough sell to the marketing dept., huh?] Also, when the dollar hits 3.5 euros, california wines might be worth the money.

Also in the Times, Emily Green offers a skeletal review of California olio nuovo. Shit, maybe the median Times reader's income really is a half mil.

The Chron has a useful discussion of west coast oysters, and an into to bergamot for the unititiated.

The NY Times, still apparently reeling from the belated realization that Manhattan is a mall, is a wash this week.

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