As a French wine professional, I’m always amazed by the creativity of American wine producers. While in France, you identify the wine regions by the type of grapes (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in Burgundy and Champagne, Cabernet and Merlot in Bordeaux, Mourvèdre, Grenache or Malbec in the South West…), California is paradise for a lot of varieties, not at all indigeneous to the place but successfully adapted to the local terroir and thus opens the doors to very creative blends.
Dave Corey is the perfect example of this strategy. He grows Mourvèdre, Grenache, Tempranillo, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah for red wines and Roussane, Marsanne and Sauvignon blanc for the whites among others in his Alta Mesa Vineyard. His blends are very unusual for a French wine consumer: his 2006 Hard Core is a blend of 29% Mourvedre, 24% Grenache, 27% Syrah, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon – impossible in France! And let’s not even think about blending 39% Grenache, 36% Tempranillo and 25% Syrah as Dave did in his 2006 Ground Around. Their quality is outstanding because Dave knows his terroirs, pays attention to the sources of the grapes and doesn’t hesitate to blend varieties for the way they’ll complement each other.
Dave Corey’s wines are the exact opposite of the image American wines carry around on the international scene: mono varietal, marketed and branded for a certain category of wine consumer, easy to drink and to forget. Dave’s wines are the proof Americans can make great signature wines – creative and innovative – for the wine lover. And those wines can rivalled with the best European wines at a much better price.