• I overheard a woman last night talk about which kind of wines she liked. She said, “I like French wine, Spanish wine, Australian, Italian… pretty much anything but what we have here. I like my wine to be spicy or smooth.”


    My first thought was please ‘don’t put Australia in the same category with Italy, France and Spain’. Her comment tells me that she is either misinformed, attempting to impress, or is trying to be an elitist wine snob.

    I say she may be misinformed because American and Australian are somewhat similar in that they are both a New World style. It could be that she thinks Australian wine to be smooth. That is merely overripe fruit being harvested which gives the wine an easy going approachable palate. If this is the case she can just go to hotter climates in California for her wine, like Lodi or Modesto for instance. If she is looking to Aussie for the spicy Shiraz, then look no further then Mendocino, Santa Barbara, Central Coast, etc.

    If the woman was attempting to impress then I would just leave her to it. People like to talk about wine and I have no qualms about incorrect facts. I might correct them, but quite often I just let it slip by. Who am I to judge? I’ve been wrong so many times that I have achieved a certain level of wrongness that is worthy of mocking.

    The last possibility I have a problem with. Why make a show of your superior knowledge (which in this case is flawed) in an effort to place the other person’s tastes beneath yours?




    I imagine a couple of socialites having tea and discussing wine…

    “I only drink pink wine on tuuuesdays!”

    “Quite so, and Petite Sirah is most assuredly only imbibed on Saturdays between the hours of 7 and 9.”

    “7 and 9?! Why that’s preposterous! 8:30 at the very latest!”

    “Well I can be a bit scandalous from time to time.” Wink wink nudge nudge

    “Oh Martha you wicked dahling!”


    I actually wish I had a recording of the above conversation.


    Well hopefully she reads this and I can point her in the direction of a few deliciously smooth and spicy wines from California. Take Jaffurs and Foxen for instance…


    Jaffurs 2011 Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard in Santa Maria Valley AVA

    “In 2011, the Bien Nacido Vineyard Syrah harvest gave us fully ripe, mature fruit at lower sugar levels than usual. The resulting wine has darkness, minerality, and elegance reminiscent of a fine Côte-Rôtie Syrah. Balanced acidity makes it exciting on the pallet. Plums and dark fruit integrate with Northern Rhône Syrah characteristics of cassis, tar, white pepper and black licorice. A beautiful wine that should age magnificently.”


    Foxen 2011 Syrah ‘Toasted Rope’ Santa Ynez Valley AVA

    International Wine Cellar – 92pts

    “Made entirely from fruit grown in the Vogelzang vineyard and includes 15% co-fermented viognier; all Hungarian oak puncheons, 30% of them new): Deep red. High-pitched red berry and rose scents are given depth by suggestions of woodsmoke and licorice. Sappy, penetrating red fruit flavors are full of verve and sharpened by a palate-numbing black pepper quality. There’s a litheness here that reminds me of pinot noir. Closes tangy and long, with impressive clarity, silky tannins and lingering smokiness. This intriguing wine, modeled on Cote-Rotie (mission accomplished), was bottled unfined and unfiltered. (Nov/Dec 2013)”


    Silky with black pepper? Yeah I got your spicy smooth.


    All I ask is that you don’t eliminate an entire country’s wine portfolio based off of a few failed attempts to find what you were looking for. If you know what you like drop me a comment or send me an email (realfoodwine@gmail.com). I’ll help you figure something out.