Beverage Dynamics

Beverage Dynamics May/June 2015

Beverage Dynamics is the largest national business magazine devoted exclusively to the needs of off-premise beverage alcohol retailers, from single liquor stores to big box chains, through coverage of the latest trends in wine, beer and spirits.

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Page 28 of 59 May/June 2015 • Beverage Dynamics 29 I n 2011, acclaimed sommelier Rajat Parr, partner and proprietor of Domaine de la Côte and Sandhi in Santa Barbara's Sta. Rita Hills, co-founded In Pursuit of Bal- ance, a non-profi t organization that puts the spotlight on California-made Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The response has been strong. With 33 well-regarded wineries joining In Pursuit of Bal- ance (such as Au Bon Climat, Flowers and Twomey), and 2015 events spanning New York, San Francisco, Houston, Osaka and Tokyo, there is undoubtedly a desire among industry infl uencers to illuminate wines that are balanced, non-manipulated and redolent of California's unique and motley terroirs. The rich, powerful Cabernet Sauvignon that stole the show at the 1976 Judgment of Paris may have long defi ned the aggressive style of winemaking favored by Napa Valley behemoths, but today, California, the country's largest producer of wine, is fast becoming known for leaner, refi ned expressions made outside of the saturated epicenter of fabled tasting rooms. CHANGING PERCEPTIONS "The overall perception here is that the California wine pen- dulum is swinging back towards more restrained and balanced wines," says Jennifer DiDomizio, who runs the shop California Wine Merchants with Taylor Senatore in New York's Financial District. "In the rest of the country, I don't think it's changed much from the idea that California wines are generally big, bold and in-your-face. In many other states, the selection of California wines is more homogenized and includes less choice from larger scale wineries." A visit to California in the 1980s and 1990s would have as- sured copious glasses of oak-forward Chardonnay and tannic Cabernet Sauvignon churned out by large-volume producers, the Bordeaux varietals and luxurious styles dominating the scene. Of course, the predilection for these wines remains strong. They are very much a thriving component of California's winemaking tradition, forever entrenched in its culture. Then the other trends started to emerge: the Rhone Rangers championing grape varieties from the South of France, the plant- Off the Beaten Path: California's Lesser-Known AVAs There's more to California wine than robust fl avors and world-famous vineyards. I BY ALIA AKKAM

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