The Evil Resolution: Self-deprecation 2012; After over a decade of hating on American wine, I’ll spend a year trying to prove myself wrong

As 2011 comes to a close, and 2012 arrives, I find wine writers are reflecting on this years’ wines, as they should be. Reflection shines a light on the path one must take moving forward. It helps us to see the past errors, and also the successes. I have been drinking wine over fifteen years now, I will tell you honestly it has been a somewhat myopic journey. I drink 99.9% European wines with a very heavy focus on France. I’m not ashamed. There’s nothing wrong with drinking only what interests you. There’s a myriad of different wine styles, and grape varieties that one could keep occupied for a lifetime just in Europe alone. I have constantly pushed myself into these tiny, far-flung corners of Europe trying to track down the unearthed hidden gems of  the wine world. I’ve had a blast doing it to. I don’t know how many varieties I’ve tried, but I can imagine it is well over one hundred.

I was raised in a European household, lived a large chunk of time in Europe, and as a first generation American, I can honestly say I know relatively little about American wine. Even early on in my wine education, I was quick to move through American wines. I’ll be the first to admit that for years I have been overly dismissive of American wines, so I’m making my New Year’s Resolution this: In 2012 I will dedicate my blog to my exploration of American(U.S.) wine. My promise is to dedicate this blog to a year of domestic wine exploration. Call it an American wine odyssey through the eyes of a European palate. I’m going to continue to search out wines that express a “sense of place”. I will insist on wines with balance, and moderate to low alcohol levels. I will still look for wines with more acidity that what most prefer, and the wines that I come across that I believe to be inferior will still be called-out, like always. I’m conscience of the fact that I’m not going to find wines that are carbon copies of European wine. but what I’m hoping to discover for myself is that American wine can express itself just as purely and honestly as its European counterpart. I also promise to continue to search out the lesser known wines.  This is going to be hard work, I’m going to need some help from my friends. You know who you are. I’m going to pick your brain, ask you stupid questions, and irritate the hell out of you. The funny thing is that I have so many friends in the California wine industry, and for years I have shunned or at the very least showed very little interest in what they’re trying to accomplish. I’m ready to learn.

I can imagine what the few who read my blog are thinking; this isn’t all that brave, interesting, or even thought-provoking. Many are going to call me naive or much worse for making this my pathetic resolution, and also for being so close minded for so long. Maybe they’re right, but for me this is as personal as it gets. I’m driven to break down the walls of my previous prejudices, and challenging myself to what would have been unthinkable years ago. In order to grow at times you need to shed your skin. I’m prepared to do so. Recently I challenged wine bloggers to dig deeper. To produce more engaging material, I’m not exempt from my own criticism. I will do what I can to live up to my own critique.

I will still be on the lookout for the alternative varieties A.K.A. B Team wines. I drink a lot of Champagne, and Rosé, so you can bet that finding suitable replacements will be on the top of my list too. My 2012 New Year’s Resolution is a promise to myself, and to you. To continue to evolve. Challenge accepted

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14 responses to “The Evil Resolution: Self-deprecation 2012; After over a decade of hating on American wine, I’ll spend a year trying to prove myself wrong

  • suckandspit

    Are you kidding me? Only wines from the USA? Why not focus on a hot cup of piss while soaking with some oak chips? Really though, we already some people doing that. Wine Spectator. Just do what I do. Taste everything, taste burgs next to Ca Pinot then let your palate decide which is better. I mean we already know the the ’11 vintage in CA is going to be jacked since they had a so-called bad vintage, which means $3-4 more a bottle.

    • Evil Bottle

      I’m scared too, but I cannot see a better challenge for me than the search for American Terroir. I’m sure there are American wines in your shop, and I’m sure you believe in them. That’s what I’m after. I’m enlisting you to aid me in the journey.

  • Beau (@UCBeau)

    Good on ya. CA, WA,OR, NY, VA are states producing wines I think you will find to be very interesting. Separating the crap from the gems isn’t easy, given the proliferation of manufactured plonk, but I respect your approach. I look forward to seeing what you find in the USA.

  • suckandspit

    I do carry some WA and OR wines but I have put a boycott on all CA wines. Nicole and I are having a hell of a time finding wines in our area that are not over-extracted, high alcohol and seem to prices their wines according to scores. It is getting harder and harder to find decent wines that have a decent price. I’ve come across a few all ready and I’ll you know whats the good word. We were invited to taste Delille Cellars a week ago so we’ll see how that works out.


    • Evil Bottle

      Santo, you’ll have to share any recs you have with me. It’s funny that while working in a shop, our best QPR wines are mostly French and Spanish. Doesn’t make much sense.

  • suckandspit

    Spain for sure! Portugal is running up the back pretty fast as well. I’ll let you know whats up


  • Linda Adams

    Funny, when I started drinking wines, I only drank American bottlings. Five years later, I was introduced to Italian varietals and I was blown away by earthy, mineral and rustic equations. Looking back on your post previous to this, it’s so true – we have to try even the wines we are skeptical of because that is how we learn about our palate, and how different wines appeal to different folk. It’s just reality. The Cold Heaven Cellars is a perfect example of California wines that have potential. It would be my pleasure to share with you others along the way that I deem well made and pleasurable. Here’s to 2012 and new adventures in wine: the greatest creation on earth.

  • Txiki Boateng

    Sounds like a good plan to me. Hopefully you are able to find some good ones at decent prices too. You’ll need to let me know.

  • Wandering Wino

    Look forward to hearing more about your finds and views in 2012.

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  • Nick Musial (@nwawineseller)

    There are a couple of producers in Santa Cruz that come to mind. A set of twins by the name of Varner making mind-bending Chards, the inimitable Josh Jensen and the wines of Calera. Exciting goings on in Santa Cruz indeed…

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