It is about time something was done. Oak is great for some wines and I was always under the impression California oaked the wines to show off how much money they have by using expensive French oak. If the bottles’ game ends, wine will become more like wine. Unoaked Chardonnay is great for matching with food. Heavily oaked wines cannot match food unless one asks a politically-correct wine steward at the restaurant. Good trends beginning.
The spending downturn in the US could herald a new style of Californian wine, New York Times columnist Eric Asimov has said.
Monetary concerns might influence the way people make wine in the region, he wrote in his blog on nytimes.com at the end of July: specifically that levels of new oak would drop.
‘I expect to see even more Chardonnays using no-oak marketing terms like naked, virgin, inox, metallico and the more plain-spoken unoaked,’ he said, saying he thought red wine would ‘follow suit’ and that winemakers also had an ‘economic incentive’ to use less oak.
He also said that wineries would stop using heavy bottles to impart high status, saying that aside from the environmental cost of shipping, they were ‘also more expensive’.
Asimov said there was, ‘significant discussion in California over whether the age of the $100 to $150 bottle of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon was over forever, or just temporarily.’