Wine, Wine Reviews

California Wine Fest 2016 – Toronto

Wine Festival

California is America’s wines production leader.

Its more than 3000 wineries produce millions of hectolitres of wine in five major regions (North Coast, Central valley, Central Coast, Sierra Foothills, and South Coast), each of which contains one or more appellations.

California Wines based in San Francisco is the promotion agency of all its members and organizes annual tastings in Canada from east to west (Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Halifax, Calgary and Vancouver) in an attempt to increase market share.

Canada is the largest export market for California wines. This year, the tasting took place at the Royal York Hotel.

A small room adjacent tot eh main tasting hall was set up with sparkling, still white and red wines for wine writers to taste in a more relaxed environment.

There were approximately 60 wines. Most were very enjoyable and well made. The main tasting venue offered more than 560 wines to more than 600 trade people. It was very crowded and made it impossible to taste adequately. The majority of the wines offered for tasting were either chardonnay, or cabernet sauvignon with a few sauvignon blanc, blends and less popular varieties.

By all standards, wines were high in alcohol (14 50 15.8 per cent ABV) and contain too much residual sugar, a trend that has been developing for a few years now. California wineries seem to produce wine that appeal to the American palate, rather than striving to make terroir-specific wines.

Only a few wineries approach wine making as a natural process, most rather believe that manufacturing is the way to increase sales and drive profits. They reduce alcohol using `cones`, dilute with water, or acidify, of de-acidify, add tannins just to mention a few techniques.

It is questionable with regard to value of inviting several servers from one restaurant chain, especially servers working in the same outlet.

Some high-end wineries were conspicuous by their absence, which leads me to believe that owners question the value of inviting hundreds of people who overcrowd the limited space.

My recommendations are:

White wines

Morning Fog Chardonnay, 2014, Wente

Chardonnay, 2013, Sebastiani

Carneros Chardonnay, 2013, Artesia

Chardonnay, 2012, Grgich

Chardonnay, 2014, Esser

Fume Blanc, 2013m Grgich

Viognier, 2014, Miner

Sparkling wines

Brut, Gloria Ferrer

Blanc de Blancs, Schramsberg

Red wines

The oracle, 2012, Miner

Merlot, 2013, Long Meadow

Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013, Rutherford

Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013, Peju

Cabernet Sauvignon. 2013, Stag`s Leap Cellars

Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011, Silver Oak

Three Palms Vineyard Merlot, 2012, Duckhorn

Cabernet Saving, 2012, Long Meadow

Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011, Heitz

Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012, Heitz


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