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East Coast vs. West Coast palates


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...(thanks jrufusj for such a sensory description)...

...

Generalistic? You bet! But there is the "go West young man", and the attendant lack of tradition personified in many aspects of WC life, as opposed to the more  conventional attitude prevalent back E.

Thanks for the compliments.

Great point about western mentality.

In Matt Kramer's book Making Sense of California Wine, there is a chapter (an essay really) called "The Machine in the Mind" or something like that. Anyone who is seriously interested in this topic should beg, borrow, or steal a copy to read that chapter.

One caveat -- I haven't bought his new Cali book, so I don't know if the same material is there. I've only got the early '90s version.

Take care,

Jim

Jim Jones

London, England

Never teach a pig to sing. It only wastes your time and frustrates the pig.

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I'd be interested to hear people's answers to a few questions:

1.  Which is more important to you in wine?

  (a)  primary fruit

  (b)  secondary elements

2.  Which rules?

  (a)  nose

  (b)  palate

3.  Choose one...

  (a) Burgundy

  (b) Bordeaux

4.  My attitude to new oak is...

  (a) Can't get enough

  (b) I'm starting to get tired of it

  © A few people know how to use it right...but it should only appear in limited cases

  (d) Save the forests...boycott tree killing winemakers!

  (e) Why does it get so much attention? Some people use it, some people don't

5.  Which is more critical to balance and development (and I know they're both important, but play along and choose one)?

  (a) Tannins

  (b) Acid

6.  You can only have one of the following. You choose:

  (a)  Geyserville

  (b)  Lytton Springs

7.  At what price point does a wine need to be able to age (improve with, not just hold) to earn your interest and dollar?  (Please exclude wines like Condrieu, which obviously just don't fit the question.)

  (a)  At any level

  (b)  Over $20

  ©  Over $40

  (d)  Over $60 or higher

  (e)  Really don't care if it's nice and tasty now

  (f)  Don't have proper storage and don't want wines that need age

8.  Super Tuscans are:

  (a)  Excellent...please send me some

  (b)  Okay if they've got plenty of Sangiovese and don't taste like trees

  ©  An abomination

  (d)  A good idea gotten carried away

  (d)  No longer Super Tuscans but IGT's.  So leave me alone...tradition is nonsense.

Please hold off telling me that the answer you want to give is not listed.  Neither are the perfect answers on most personality tests, but the questions are chosen because the choice you make out of the limited options still says a lot.  If you don't like the questions, don't play.  I think the answers will tell a lot about our palates.

Thanks for bearing with me,

Jim

To get your statistical sample rolling, Jim:

1. b

2. b

3. a

4. c

5. b

6. a

7. a

8. b

Kriss Reed

Long Beach, CA

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To get your statistical sample rolling, Jim:

1. b

2. b

3. a

4. c

5. b

6. a

7. a

8. b

Funny. My answers are the same as yours, except that for me:

2 = a

7 = b or maybe c

Thanks for kicking off,

Jim

Jim Jones

London, England

Never teach a pig to sing. It only wastes your time and frustrates the pig.

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Ditto, doc. This has been a fabulous thread to follow!

If one knows where one's wine is going to be sold, or who might be reviewing it, doesn't it stand to reason that one might also sculpt according to one's broker's/marketer's/ad-man's advice? If there are some imports going only to particular parts of the country, then one may be inclined to shape the wine specific to the perceived tastes of that part of the country?

I know that in burgundy that many importers work with the winemakers to produce a certain style. They will change the % of new oak used, as well as vary fining and filtering techniques for certain importers. I have seen importers offer to share barrel costs to get a certain amount of new oak.

I would love to play:

1. b

2. b

3. a

4. c

5. b

6. b

7. c

8. d

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Way to go Carolyn, this is the best thread we've had since I've been lurking on this board.

Here's mine:

1. b

2. b

3. a

4. c

5. a

6. b

7. b

8. d

If Loire and Rhone were c&d of question 3 I'd still be thinking.

Best,

Mike

Edited by mike volker (log)
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1. Which is more important to you in wine?

(a) primary fruit

2. Which rules?

(b) palate

3. Choose one...

(a) Burgundy

4. My attitude to new oak is...

(d) Save the forests...boycott tree killing winemakers!

5. Which is more critical to balance and development (and I know they're both important, but play along and choose one)?

(b) Acid

6. You can only have one of the following. You choose:

(b) Lytton Springs

7. At what price point does a wine need to be able to age

(e) Really don't care if it's nice and tasty now

8. Super Tuscans are:

(b) Okay if they've got plenty of Sangiovese and don't taste like trees

I will also say if I see yet another, over oaked, 13.5 percent or above wine from California that gets another 90 or above from Parker thats starts taking up all the shelves at my local wine store, I'm going to kill someone.

What about "I DRINK WINES WITH FOOD!"" do these people not understand?

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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1.b

2.b

3.b (to be different) :laugh:

4.c

5.b

6.b

7.a I don't mind wines that drink young, in general though I don't buy them since I have a cellar of maturing wines.

8.b

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I'm a relative newbie as far as wine is concerned (having lived in the wine-unfriendly state of Pennsylvania until recently) but I now have access to a couple of great wine shops, and have started paying real attention to what I drink, and ever so slowly forming preferences. Out of curiousity, and for whatever it's worth, here are my answers:

I'd be interested to hear people's answers to a few questions:

1.  Which is more important to you in wine?

  (b)  secondary elements

2.  Which rules?

  (b)  palate

3.  Choose one...

  (a) Burgundy (this is totally arbitrary, I like both.)

4.  My attitude to new oak is...

  © A few people know how to use it right...but it should only appear in limited cases

5.  Which is more critical to balance and development (and I know they're both important, but play along and choose one)?

  (a) Tannins  (but seriously, I have no real idea)

6.  You can only have one of the following. You choose:

  (b)  Lytton Springs (Looking at the website-listed grape composition)

7.  At what price point does a wine need to be able to age (improve with, not just hold) to earn your interest and dollar?  (Please exclude wines like Condrieu, which obviously just don't fit the question.)

  (d)  Over $60 or higher (In my fantasy life)

  (e)  Really don't care if it's nice and tasty now (In reality)

8.  Super Tuscans are:

  (b)  Okay if they've got plenty of Sangiovese and don't taste like trees

Edit: Duh, forgot to say the first thing I thought when responding -- I really appreciate everyone's contribution to this thread, this is a lot of useful, thought-provoking information!

Edited by Behemoth (log)
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... Matt Kramer's book Making Sense of California Wine ... Anyone who is seriously interested in this topic should beg, borrow, or steal a copy to read that chapter.

One caveat -- I haven't bought his new Cali book, so I don't know if the same material is there.  I've only got the early '90s version.

I recently got the new edition of this, titled New California Wine (ISBN 0762419644), and am starting to read it. (Like some other people, I knew of Kramer first through his writing on food, when he was a witty dining critic in Oregon in the 1970s; some of his lines from then remain quotable, or at least hard to forget.)

But the new book begins by explaining that when his previous version appeared in 1992, “the now-famous `explosion’ in prices and marketing -- the invention of `cult’ Cabernets; the proliferation of tiny labels selling for $50 to $100 a bottle -- had not yet occurred.” That’s crucial history in a nutshell. Please don’t anyone lose sight, when discussing the phenomena listed in that sentence, that they belong to a specific period, and group of devotees. In my own experience, many of the latter came to an interest in fine wine as the new phenomena were occurring. I do know a few California wine enthusiasts, and of those whose enthusiasm predated the phenomena Kramer mentioned, I can’t think of any who embraced them.

Also incidentally, and this is only my experience, I believe I’ve heard the term “east-coast palate” so far only from those who identify themselves as east-coast people.

-- Max

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OK I'll play.

1) b

2) b

3) a for white, b for red (a bit of a cheat I know)

4) c

5) b

6) a

7) c

8) d

7 was tough because I'd love to buy $15 wines with great aging potential and fabulous $40 wines ready to drink but that universe ceased to exist around 1995.

''Wine is a beverage to enjoy with your meal, with good conversation, if it's too expensive all you talk about is the wine.'' Bill Bowers - The Captain's Tavern, Miami

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Several of the points I might have made have been stated, better than I might. So just a couple of additional points.

-Jason's "Wine With Food" motto only hints at something Jancis Robinson has been big on recently: that this is no longer the case for many people, in many situations. More and more, the wine is being asked to stand on its own as a sensory experience, and for that, many of the leaner Old World styles just don't work (not all, not even most, and not entirely). You need more concentration, more extraction, higher glycerin. And New World wines are well suited to this.

-Terroir can be fully as fully expressed in the New as in the Old World styles, I think. The difference is mostly in the *nature* of the terroir, and what that means in terms of winemaking. The Cal climate means that much higher levels of concentration can be achieved naturally, and kept in balance by a skilled winemaker. And this is a very attractive style. So folks in colder climates feel pressure to come up with wines for which their regions are not well suited. And then you find people manipulating the wine to such an extent that the result can become almost plastic in feel, entirely artificial tasting.

In the end, I like both styles. I like big Zins, I like Burgundies very much. What I don't like is the rush to homogeneization we call Parkerization. To me, the best example of the problem is an appelation I always felt was one of the best-kept secrets in the wine world: Cornas. I've drunk them for decades, and for decades I paid a pittance for huge, tannic, singular wines with more genuine personality than the average politician. Then a few years ago Jean-Luc Colombo"discovered" Cornas, and introduced "modern", "clean" winemaking. And more and more of the wines I buy each year are... lessened. Pithed, trepanned, lobotomized. Castrated, emasculated. :wink:

I want to be able to buy Cal wines, and to have caring winemakes such as Mary husbanding them. It's just that I don't want Cal winemaking to spread to Cornas, to Tuscany, to Bordeaux (what's a St. Emilion Garagiste but someone who wanted to make Cal wines without leaving France?). California and Australia are suited by nature to producing these wines. Everyone else should be making the wines their terroir dictates. Otherwise we'll lose much that is wonderful.

Unless global warming continues, and vintages like 2003 pop up more often. Then all bets are off.

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Very interesting points!

(But just to clarify, I suck at winemaking. I do make my own annual production of sangiovese and I like to think I'm improving every year. Dan Panico, is excellent however, and has a firm sense of his own style. As he's somewhat monosyllabic in public, I am the winery's marketing arm. We make a good team, privately and publicly. :wink: )

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Mary Baker

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I will also say if I see yet another, over oaked, 13.5 percent or above wine from California that gets another 90 or above from Parker thats starts taking up all the shelves at my local wine store, I'm going to kill someone.

What about "I DRINK WINES WITH FOOD!"" do these people not understand?

Methinks there is gonna be a lotta dead people very soon... :raz:

I haven't had a chance to get back to this thread in a bit and I have been enjoying it immensely!

My turn to play...

1. Which is more important to you in wine?

(b) secondary elements

2. Which rules?

(a) nose

(b) palate

Really tough call -- when I've got a cold and can't smell diddly, the doesn't taste. So I guess I gotta say: A

3. Choose one...

(b) Bordeaux

4. My attitude to new oak is...

C) A few people know how to use it right...but it should only appear in limited cases

5. Which is more critical to balance and development (and I know they're both important, but play along and choose one)?

(b) Acid

6. You can only have one of the following. You choose:

(b) Lytton Springs

7. At what price point does a wine need to be able to age (improve with, not just hold) to earn your interest and dollar? (Please exclude wines like Condrieu, which obviously just don't fit the question.)

(e) Really don't care if it's nice and tasty now

8. Super Tuscans are:

(a) Excellent...please send me some

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In Texas we refer to "Screagle" as Screamingly Overrated....

I love the questions, so will play....

1. Which is more important to you in wine?

(a) primary fruit

2. Which rules?

(a) nose

3. Choose one...

(a) Burgundy

4. My attitude to new oak is...

© A few people know how to use it right...but it should only appear in limited cases

5. Which is more critical to balance and development (and I know they're both important, but play along and choose one)?

(b) Acid

6. You can only have one of the following. You choose:

(b) Lytton Springs

7. At what price point does a wine need to be able to age (improve with, not just hold) to earn your interest and dollar?

© Over $40

8. Super Tuscans are: (b) Okay if they've got plenty of Sangiovese and don't taste like trees

My responses. Maybe y'all will have to come up with a "Third Coast Palate" for me in Texas??

Cheers,

Rob

Edited by RobInAustin (log)
"When I lived in Paris, and champagne was relatively cheap, I always enjoyed a half-bottle in the middle of the morning and another half-bottle at six or so in the evening. It did me a tremendous amount of good." - Gerald Hamilton.
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OK - I'll throw my answers into the mix

1. Which is more important to you in wine?

(b) secondary elements

2. Which rules?

(a) nose

(b) palate

3. Choose one...

(b) Bordeaux (I've not had enough of either to have a clear preference)

4. My attitude to new oak is...

(e) Why does it get so much attention? Some people use it, some people don't

5. Which is more critical to balance and development (and I know they're both important, but play along and choose one)?

(a) Tannins

6. You can only have one of the following. You choose:

(b) Lytton Springs

7. At what price point does a wine need to be able to age (improve with, not just hold) to earn your interest and dollar? (Please exclude wines like Condrieu, which obviously just don't fit the question.)

© Over $40

8. Super Tuscans are:

(d) A good idea gotten carried away

I've found this discussion to be really interesting - thanks to all for their thoughts. As much as I enjoy (and drink) wine, I wouldn't consider myself an expert or even as learned as most of the posters here. I moved to the EC (DC) in ''96 after growing up and living in the SF Bay Area. I spent as much time as I could in wine country (Napa mostly at that time - but have come to enjoy Sonoma more) and I had definite opinions on what I liked and didn't like that were likely a result of exposure only to WC wine. I was initially quite disappointed when I moved here in terms of wine knowledge and selection available. Of course I was in grad school at the time, didn't have a lot of money, etc. I had read a bit about wine in VA before I came (it was the new Napa, up and coming) and was sorely disappointed when I started trying the wines. With a few expections (at that time), most of the wines were too-sweet "blends" that seemed to cater to the white zin crowd (don't get me wrong, it can have its place, just not one of my favorites). In addition it seemed that all of my favorites from the WC were either unavailable or marked up ridiculously. Over the years though, I have come to appreciate the much greater selection of Old World wines, the real depth of knowledge of wine among some purveyors and the gradual improvement of wines from VA wineries. As I read the posts here, I realize that had I stuck to only WC or even CA wines, my palate would not have developed as it has and my appreciation of wine would be narrower. I suppose the (convoluted) point here is that there is a difference in both attitudes and palates on the coasts and that each have their place. I know that I have personally benefitted from being exposed to both.

"See these? American donuts. Glazed, powered, and raspberry-filled. Now, how's that for freedom of choice."

-Homer Simpson

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I suppose the (convoluted) point here is that there is a difference in both attitudes and palates on the coasts and that each have their place.  I know that I have personally benefitted from being exposed to both.

Well said!

Maybe y'all will have to come up with a "Third Coast Palate" for me in Texas

So Rob, how would you define a Gulf Coast (GC) palate?

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Mary Baker

Solid Communications

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Very interesting points!

(But just to clarify, I suck at winemaking. I do make my own annual production of sangiovese and I like to think I'm improving every year.  Dan Panico, is excellent however, and has a firm sense of his own style.  As he's somewhat monosyllabic in public, I am the winery's marketing arm. We make a good team, privately and publicly.  :wink: )

Thank you.

And I never said you were *good* :wink:. Just that you cared , which you clearly do.

That's actually something to ponder, if we chose to take it seriously. A *skilled* winemaker is a wonderful thing - if they choose to use their powers for Good. But a winemaker with *soul* can always learn technique.

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1) Yes

2) Yes

3) Yes *please*

4) c part 1; wouldn't say part 2, necessarily

5) a for development, b for balance. Sorry.

6) b (yay! Pedro learns to Play Well With Others)

7) All of the Above. There are wines in both categories at each price point. (I knew I couldn't keep it up)

8) Part of the mix. Fine if the mix continues to include Really Rough Amarone. Otherwise may the Devil take them all :raz:

I'm sure a competent Psychologist would have a field day with me. Lucky thing there's so few of those.

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7 was tough because I'd love to buy $15 wines with great aging potential and fabulous $40 wines ready to drink but that universe ceased to exist around 1995.

For the former, you should spend more time in the Spain and Portugal section of your local store. For the latter... there's some. Zins and such.

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Maybe y'all will have to come up with a "Third Coast Palate" for me in Texas

So Rob, how would you define a Gulf Coast (GC) palate?

Rebel Rose,

first, we prefer "third coast" to Gulf Coast. Mississippi is a "gulf coast" state, Texas is "Third Coast". :biggrin:

Texans who are into wine seem split into two catagories. One is the "I like it cuz the Wine Speculater or Parker rated it over 90 points, so even drinking it on release it must be great and worth all the money I paid for it..." I am NOT in this group.

The other is, we are often the "forgotten" market, so overlyhyped wines dont make it here, so, we tend to be less interested in the reviews and more interested int he actual quality in the bottle. We are interested in a core of tradition, will look at experimentation, but, does it TASTE good, and is it worth the money are most important at end of day. The winemakers' resume doesnt count, terrroir means something if you can find it in the bottle. Wine Speculater gets it wrong as often as right, and Parker doesn't know EVERYTHING despite his PR agent. Just because its new doesnt mean its good. Just because it always is done that way doesn't mean its right. Im in this camp 110%

PS: and if you use more than 10-15% new oak a year, you are a LUMBERYARD and not a winery.

Cheers, Rob

Edited by RobInAustin (log)
"When I lived in Paris, and champagne was relatively cheap, I always enjoyed a half-bottle in the middle of the morning and another half-bottle at six or so in the evening. It did me a tremendous amount of good." - Gerald Hamilton.
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Gee, your operating system crashes, you then get a virus, and look what you miss out on.

Contributing to the sample first. Comments following.

1. b (with a caveat discussed below)

2. b (the nose can be tricked)

3. b

4. e

5. b (caveat below again)

6. a

7. e

8. d (but I don't really like any of my options)

Caveat 1 -- it's really got to have both. If the fruit is off, then the secondary elements, as interesting as they might be, are nothing more than novelty.

Caveat 5 -- the default answer is b because I think white and red wines when I think about development.

Okay, soapbox time...

Like Geo and Redwinger, I'm live in flyover country. One can say that the midwest palate is beer or Thunderbird, or MD 20/20, but we're sensible folk here, and appreciate lots of things.

For me, personally, I align with what has been described as and east coast palate in this thread. That the taste part. I would argue, though, that the consumer market is overwhelmingly not east coast palate. Note, I'm not saying that makes them west coast palate by default, just not east coast palate as has been described. Small wonder, then, that an overwhelmingnumber of wines are made for people who don't post or lurk on this or any other wine board.

I've found the whole terroir discussion interesting. I don't know if there will ever be much terroir with respect to California wines. How many times has one variety been ripped out to plant another "hotter selling" variety? Chardonnay grows side by side with cabernet sauvignon, merlot, syrah, pinot noir, you name it. And the grape that shows terroir better than any other in my opinion -- riesling -- is hardly planted in California at all.

It was fun reading this.

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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I would think that east coast tends more towards blends and west coast tends to be single variatels.

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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