Sunday, May 6, 2012

Ramona wines beat French?

How many of you know that there are wineries in our San Diego backyard? Probably not many. Well, if you can produce wine in Baja California (yes they do it too) and in Arizona, why not San DiegoRamona Valley American Viticulture Area (AVA) is located roughly 30 miles east of San Diego. It is the third recognised AVA (2006) in Southern California after Temecula (1986) and San Pasqual Valley (1981).

Mid April, a wine challenge was held between three Ramona Valley wine selected by John York, president of the Ramona Valley Vineyard Association and three French wines selected (Southern Rhone) by John Alonge (known as the 'wine heretic'), owner of the San Diego Wine and Culinary Center and other wine-related businesses. The categories were Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc and Syrah. All three category was swept by Ramona including People's Choice award. Here is the article on Union Tribune San Diego.

The following are the wines in the challenge:

2010 Sauvignon Blanc Milagro Farms Vineyard and Winery $23 vs 2009 Simmonet Febvre (France’s Burgundy region) $14.95

2008 Cabernet Franc Woof’n Rose Winery $22 vs 2010 Thierry Germain Loire Valley $20+

Prices are based on own research mainly on the winery website or on other wine searchers.

The challenge was done double blind (nothing about the wine is known to the judges) as opposed to single blind (the wine list is known but not in order) by a panel of French and American associated with the wine trade in San Diego.

It was stated that the French wines were selected from Southern Rhone based on the fact that the geological and climate foundation are pretty similar to Ramona's and another factor is the price range should be similar to that of Ramona (is it really?). The prices for Ramona seem slightly higher than the French ones. One could argue the need to cover start up costs etc since Ramona is so new.

Is this really an advertising scheme as suggested by some? And so what if it is? It is good to see local wines gaining traction although it will be awhile before they are well established. One can only hope that the love of wine and not profit is what is driving this movement. No matter, I would not discredit them until I try the wines for myself.

what do you think?

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