Il vino è la luce del sole tenuta insieme dall'acqua - Galileo Galilei
The light. It always comes back to the light with me. When I think of California, be it in the Sierras, in Joshua Tree, Big Sur, Stockton....., the color of our light is the giveaway. It may be the filtering effects of ionized air coming from the vast Pacific. Perhaps that band of latitude from 32Â° 30' N to 42Â° N sits at a perfect angle to the sun. Whatever it may be, it is impossible to go outside and not feel that there is a rich softness to the light in this state. Beyond any viticultural or enological decision, this is what makes our wine taste the way it does.
The term "New World Style" is often derisively thrown around to describe the full bodied wines produced in California. Our wines are criticized as unsophisticated or disingenuous due to the flavors that are emphasized. I have always contended though that there is little choice in the m atter. The wine tastes of its place. I love the color and feel of this land and I taste those same parameters in the wine produced here. As a winemaker, my conscious decisions about style are vastly secondary to the impact of the land.
Driving on a trip up to Napa last week I decided to take the long route, California 25. This is one of those magical roads that show the side of California no one outside of here knows exists. Gently rolling hills of oak and golden tanned grasses. And as always, framed by the gorgeous blue sky.
When I think California, those are the colors that come to mind, blue and gold. There is a reason the colleges here embrace the colors they do. Be it the southern softness of UCLA's True Blue and Gold or the richer cool hues of Berkeley's Yale Blue and California Gold, these colors surround us here. What is color but the specific spectral bands of the light that bathes us. A light of such abundance and beauty, the wine produced here has no choice but to mirror.