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The hidden edge to Californian wines

They do make great wines in California, but to enjoy them you must take your time

By Barry Smith   December 2015

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Do they make great wines in California? It is the question still asked by traditionalists who never look beyond Old World wines. And I have some sympathy. We all know the cliché about over-ripe and over-oaked wines with high levels of alcohol. Sadly, the cliché is borne out by plenty of mass market, and some high-end, wines from Napa Valley. But the Napa wine industry is in transition.

We should remember the Judgement of Paris Tasting, organised in 1976 by Steven Spurrier, where Californian and French wines were compared in a…

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