I've been drinking wine on a semi-regular basis for about 12-15 years. My first wow wine was a 99 point mid 80's Caymus Special Selection. I've been gravitating towards big California Cabs for about 3-4 years, like Shafer Hillside Select, Schrader, Realm & Carter To Kalon, etc.
I've found a couple of Syrah, Petite Sirah, Malbec, and Cab Francs that I like some times, but I still go back to the Cabs when I want something special. Some co-drinkers have been trying to get me to like Zin and Pinot, but it hasn't happened yet.
Am I more likely to stay with the California Cabs for the duration, or is my palate going to change, and am I going to wish my cellar wasn't so lopsided?
Just one more sip.
davec. the best is yet to come for you, trust me.
The wines you have been enjoying will soon become boring if not simply disappointing.
everyone's different, but i agree with w+a. i tend to find all but the very best cali cabs pretty boring and monotonous.
i find more complexity, diversity, and creativity in the US Rhone-Style wines, and for cab, Bordeaux offers more complexity and diversity as well. I can honestly say though that 3 years ago I would've scoffed at those remarks, and i know plenty of people who have had their share of wine and still hold cali cab above all else.
even with my limited experience though, i can see how this is a very cyclical hobby, and what may bore you right now, may very well blow you hair back a year from now.
don't stress it though, you could have far worse problems
"Remeber, avoid the pointy end." - jburman82
So, the mini-consensus so far is that I (we) will move on from Cali Cab, but where to? Any predictions?
I think a better answer is that you will continue to enjoy Cali Cabs, but will learn to appreciate other wines as well. I have the same type of experience with Cali PNs, which were my first WOW wines, and have way too much of them. I find that I'm moving more into Cali Cabs and Rhone style wines, and becoming a much bigger buyer of European wines, especially Rhones and Italian wines. But there is still a place in my cellar for the CA PNs. All you need is more cellar space.
When in doubt, open another bottle.
Have to agree with dinwiddie here. The first thought that sprang to mind was the Rhone Valley, especially New World-styled Châteauneuf-du-Pape in its early drinking window.
Why would you expect your palate to change if it means you won't like what you like now?
I liked chocolate cake when I was four. Still do.
I liked pineapple when I was four. Still do.
Why wouldn't you like what you like today?
In the best of worlds, you end up being exposed to more things and finding more things that you love. But you don't need to abandon what you like as if that means you're more "mature" or some such BS.
Sometimes a person's palate will change - he gets sick, has a stroke, etc., but fundamentally I think we like what we like. If you grew up eating chiles, you won't mind some heat in your food. If you grew up eating steamed rice all the time, maybe you don't want the heat, but if you do develop a taste for it, you don't abandon your earlier love.
I had a friend who collected a lot of Bordeaux. One day he realized he really didn't like it all that much. So after many years, he sold it off, took the money, and bought Cali cabs. He's been drinking those for at least 10 years or so, and he's happier than ever.
So maybe some CA cabs are a bit much. But some are also dammed good. I don't drink them every night - night before last we had a Barbera, last night we had a Rioja Reserva after going through a few dozen Portuguese wines and tonight I'm drinking a Cab Franc from Saumur. But I'm also quite happy to have a CA cab. No need to choose - just enjoy it all.
"The best part is how he said the ENGLISH language. Fine irony. Use American next time."
Great post GregT. Agree 100%.
Drink what you enjoy, and don't allow others to tell you that your palate isn't "developed" yet.
"Wine only turns into alcohol if you let it sit."---Lindsay Bluth
Who said anything about "developed" or out-growing Cali Cabs? The question I heard was "am I going to wish my cellar wasn't so lopsided?".
I'd say "yes" and offered a path towards more variety.
Thanks for all the input. I looked at recent purchases over the last 3 years, and we've purchased Cabs from 37 wineries. One winery, Vincent Arroyo, has a Petite Sirah that we like as much as their reserve Cab, and both are great. One of our drinking buddies likes the reserve Cab, but doesn't care enough to buy any of their PS. He's a big fan of Bordeaux and Cali Cabs.
We've attended 3 Denver Off-Line Events, the last of which was Pinot centric, and although there were some that were pretty good, none made me want to run out an buy any. The same happened at the Syrah/Shiraz party we hosted, where many good wines were poured, mine being one of the cheapest, a '05 or '06 Mollydooker Carnival of Love, but I don't think I'll be stocking up on any of those poured too soon either.
I'm not saying I won't drink a good wine that isn't a Cab when offered a glass or that I pull out of my cellar, but since we have many years worth of wine in our cellar, I'm having difficulty purchasing anything other than my favorites, which are mostly Cabs. I'll keep trying other wines when offered, but I don't want to miss my next eye opener, when it's right there at the next tasting room I find myself in.This message has been edited. Last edited by: davec,
Having participated in some of those off-lines with you, it's clear to me that you've got the right attitude - that is, you're open to new experiences. I've met too many wine-lovers who are so enamored with what they've got, they can't see the beauty in anything else. I don't think that's you. Knowing your palate a little bit, like SD-Wineuax suggested, I bet you'd find a more 'modern-styled' CdP that would capture your attention more than the wines we've had at our off-lines. I think you're in a really good place: you know what you like, you've got plenty of it, but you're still open and exploring. It's all good.
De gustibus non est disputandum.
This is a good thread. During the past 29 years, I have branched out from cali cabs and Bordeaux. But in the end, I eventually gravitate back to cali cabs. I have bought a lot of 2007. Bottom line, I just like'em.
Confessions though: "discovered" Alsace Rieslings about 7-8 years ago...thank God for that. Never drank a chardonnay till 1995, now buy a lot of Santa cruz versions, especially varner and top quality Pouilly fuisse.
Davec....the real answer is probably both. If you love cali cab....you will buy.....but there are great discoveries out there. Almost too many......
branching out huh, /as he stares at what is now 68% of his cellar in port.
This is my sig -> www.brownteacup.com
Ok, now you're just bragging!
De gustibus non est disputandum.
10 years ago my cellar was dominated by CA Cabernet Sauvignon.
Today it still is
10 years ago my cellar was dominated by Van Der Heyden
Today it's dominated by Stefania and Ridge.
If you'd asked me back then to predict how my cellar would look today I'd probably have said it would have a lot more red Bordeaux in it. It doesn't.
My tastes have changed, my budget has fluctuated, but I still like good CA cabs.
The big surprise is probably how little Aussie Shiraz I have.
It's not that I don't like it any more, I've just stopped buying it to cellar.
Davec, nobody has a crystal ball to what you will like and take advice like such with a grain of salt. Where you go is entirely up to you. I have been drinking Cabs since 1981 and have not slowed a bit. I drink 100-200 different bottles per year and never tire of them one bit. Last month I had some people over for a bbq and was served a Foley Petite Sirah blind and it was awesome---proof I can love another. I also enjoy cali-syrah on a regular basis and have just rediscovered older Shiraz. My point is that since liking something like Napa Cabernet should never preclude you from liking other varieties.
I just realized an additional reason why I may have brought up this discussion.
The first time I liked any wine at all was February 1983. I was at a tasting room in LA with a friend, and I really liked the Chateau Ste Michelle Johannisberg Riesling. I think the proprietor was careful to pour us "easy" wines, since we were newbies. He also poured a dry white, a mild red, and bold red, and a desert red, Black Velvet, I think. While I didn't dislike any of the other wines, the Riesling was responsible for starting me down this path, and was what I liked for several years, drinking less than a glass a month.
The next wine I was really impressed with was a 1982 Chateau Ste Michelle Merlot, that we had in 1989. I had purchased the bottle the week before, and we shared it with my step brother and his wife. I went back to buy more, and they only had the 1987 in stock. They told me I was lucky to find an '82.
I'm pretty sure that I would not have liked the Cali Cabs I am drinking today during either of those periods, just like I tend to avoid those wines now.
davec if it makes you feel any better I have a cellar that's completely lopsided in favor of Bordeaux. For now it's fine, but it was poor planning and purchasing on my behalf. I now appreciate having a little diversity in my cellar.
Dave, don't feel bad as everyone avoids merlot now......
I also used to love Cali Cab, but in recent years have found it to be way to heavy-handed for my current tastes. I know my palate changes.
How do you feel about Tempranillo or Garnacha?
What may seem to be a possibly lopsided cellar can be thinned when the time is right. I mean, you don't have to drink them all (although you may want to), and depending on what you have, might be quite desirable in years to come to others if not yourself.
What I'm sayin' is... I wouldn't count the lopsidedness as a loss just yet!
Ἐν οἴνῳ ἀλήθεια
En Vino Veritas
Rhone is place - well after Pinot !
I do agree that you fill your cellar is way too lopsided and this feeling will just get worse with time.This message has been edited. Last edited by: hippomon,
I started off with California Cabernet -- and progressed to Rhone, Piedmont, Tuscany, Spain -- and then to whites -- and then more reds -- and then... I quit my job, sold my Boston condo and ended up in the wine biz.
Keep experimenting and having fun, davec.
Gloria Maroti Frazee
director of education -- and video
You had me until the Cab Franc
Good posting, GregT, as usual. The voice of reason
I prefer Chenin Blanc from Saumur, and Cabernet Franc from Bolgheri.
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