Punch Down

Thanks for visiting my blog. Here is where my life in wine will be documented. I am a level two certified sommelier through the International Sommelier Guild. I have worked in virtually all aspects of the wine industry and, believe it or not, I am still enthusiastic as ever. So, please join me as I muse about regions, give reviews, and sometimes rant about this little thing we call wine.

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Location: Boise, Idaho, United States

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Clone Wars

Clone Wars!

Normally when I hear that, I think about the 300 or so Pinot Noir clones that have been classified over the years and if anyone actually knows which Dijon Clone 828 is the real version (can you tell I’m not a Star Wars geek?).

Sure, imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, but when does that start encroaching on the turf of the original? For the longest time, the New World wines would emulate their Old World cousins. Napa Cabernet would look to Bordeaux, Oregon Pinot would be compared to Burgundy, and Washington Syrah would be judged by their Rhone counterparts.

In these cases, though, each New World region established its own identity and terroir. All of the regions mentioned above has had an opportunity to work on their craft and, while it’s not uncommon to see some of these regions eclipsing their Old World brethren’s prices, wines are being introduced with no track record and circumventing the part where they pay their dues.

The most blatant example of this came in an e-mail I received yesterday which offered me two bottles of “port” wine from California for $500 per bottle.



Here is where the smart, savvy wine consumers say, “Um, excuse me, but I believe the 2003 Quinta de Roriz Vintage Port, which actually came from Portugal and received a 97 point score from the Speculator, can be had for about $45 retail. Pardon me while I make you a punch line.”

Upon doing some research, the winemaker is very proud of the fact that he makes his own brandy from Cabernet Sauvignon grown in a vineyard that should be reserved for making ultra expensive wine. The logic here is so amazingly backwards that one would have to speculate if he ever took an economics class.

If they can get the money, more power to them, but it will be interesting to see if these bottles end up in the cellars of serious collectors. In my opinion, this bottling should take its place among the ZD Abacus wines of the world – novel concept, but try again when you’re not completely full of yourself.

It used to be that people would flock to the clones to avoid the high price of the original. If this “port” is any indication, the original seems like an absolute bargain nowadays.



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