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Off The Vine

Wineries offer fresh selections

Not long ago, I had a gentleman in the shop who seemed — agitated and out of sorts. Finally, after listening to him for a few minutes, — he related to me his problem. It seems that a certain winery is simply — "not making" the style of wine he was used to drinking from them. Year — after year the wine was, to his palate, "constantly rich, powerful, tannic — and hot in the finish." The wines in recent vintages were not "up to snuff" — and he was going to sit down and e-mail the winemaker about his new and — errant ways.

Once in a while, I hear this sort of criticism. Many people — expect certain things from specific wineries and they are very disappointed — when a long-enjoyed winery doesn't fulfill their needs. The fact of the — matter is; wineries change focus, winemakers and vintages at an alarming — rate. Entire winemaking regions, such as the Piedmont region in Northwestern — Italy have entered into profound changes on how they view the wine drinking — world and their part as winemakers in it. A new generation of winemaker — is setting the tone in many established wineries and these changes are — inevitable and occur day by day.

Along with the change in winery practice, vineyard management — and growing season, we, as human beings, change from moment to moment. — What we perceive one moment may be altered and discarded the next moment. — Emotional changes can alter, with alarming speed, palate sensors wherein — a wine one tasted while content and happy may seem bitter and wacky when — the taster is unhappy and upset. I experience this all the time as a commercial — wine judge dealing with temperamental wine judges.

The bottom line is that change in winemaking is happening — all the time. The good news is that this change allows us to move on and — experience new wines and wineries. Anyone who hangs on to a winery for — past accomplishments is avoiding the vast and wonderful world of wine — just begging to be experienced.

See you soon!

has been a commercial wine and spirits judge — at state fairs in California, Oregon and Washington and is a co-founder — KSOR wine tasting. He was on winery staffs of various Italian and French — wineries in the 1970s, and has owned Ashland Wine Cellar since 1980.