Recently, on a trip to Oregon, I said something very bratty. It’s nice, I said, when I was there, to be away from the cult of California wine. Forgive me, but it was so exciting, at first, to see wines from so many other states on menus. Tons from Oregon, but also Washington, Maine and I can’t remember where else. Other places, anyway, not California. How cool, I thought, to be away from the dominant mainstream, because my own thoughtless ideology says that the unknown underdog must be superior. My exuberance lasted a couple of days, and then, let me tell you, I realized that I was not getting anything all that good. So, I hoped that my little outburst would be remembered only by me and quietly switched over to what the Oregonians really do have a lock on: Beer.
Back home sweet home I am grateful not only to be a member of the cult of California wine, but to have my membership fees waved every time I decide to sit in our own little bar with a glass. This month, to truly celebrate superiority, I’m going with Ridge wines. After all, in the 2006 re-enactment of the infamous Judgment of Paris, where French and California wines, originally pitted against one another in 1976, were revisited to test how they had aged, the Ridge Winery’s Monte Bello cabernet not only won, but was 18 points ahead of the second place wine. That’s pretty convincing, when you think about it. Lesson of the month: Not all dominant paradigms must be subverted.