- The Underground Wine Letter - http://www.undergroundwineletter.com -


Emergency firefighting cover - Operation Fresco [1]

cartoon thinkingthe thinker [2]

Do you really know the wine you are drinking?  Maybe not. Consider this. Recently I received a note from an old friend who was trying to drink a cult Napa Valley Cabernet and he had this to say:

I am sitting here sipping a .. …… .. ……… It tastes like black cherry cough drops and is 15.6% alcohol, and it tastes it.

No one has followed the evolution of 20th and 21st century American wine more than you. You need to do an article titled “Where did we go wrong?, an autopsy on the death of American Cabernet Sauvignon.” I am serious. When did the decline start, who was responsible, who facilitated the decline, why did it happen, who perpetuates it, etc.?

I think you have the resources and knowledge to tackle this. No one else has done it. In a generation they have taken a delicious, world class dinner wine and turned it into a clownish aperitif wine.

Here was my response:

I guess my first question is why?  That is why continue to try to drink the kind of wine that you have now? I do not drink them because I do not like these kinds of wines!

I wrote an article about 2 years ago that was my version of what happened. Very interesting that you should bring up the subject now. Recently I was told by a friend who had just been in Napa that I was disliked by some people there. My response – so be it! I really do not care! All I have done is try to convey my thoughts on where we have gone wrong. And, if there are a lot of people who do not like it, then I know I am right!

This is reflected in the following articles:

Where Has Napa Valley Gone? [3]
Caution! What’s In Your Wine?

Please take a look at these articles. And, there are several others as well. I think I have made my case. But, if you have any other thoughts on what I might say please let me know.

Always remember that The Underground Wineletter stands for the wine consumer. That is it. Period. If you know of any other publication that can say that I would love to hear about it.

And I would also add that The Underground Wineletter (which began in 1979) was one of the first publications to write about California Cabernets. We loved many of the wines and were responsible for creating a lot of demand for many early Napa Valley Cabernets (to read some of those early reviews click here [4]). There were many gorgeous balanced wines that have stood the test of time and are wonderful wines to drink today. But, sadly, today many of the wines have changed, and I do not like them. They are too extracted, manipulated, out of balance, and overly alcoholic. Now I only write about the wines I like. I do my best to try to not even taste wines I will not like, but, if I do, I do not write about them. However, right now many people are making a lot of money making and selling manipulated high alcohol fruit bombs that get big scores from the 100 point boys who, in turn, make their living promoting these kind of wines (to read my most recent article on this subject with links to other related articles click here [5]).

That is not The Underground Wineletter and that is not me. And, as I said, I do not like these kinds of wines. I do not drink them, and I do not make a living promoting them. Nor have I ever made a living doing The Underground Wineletter. I do The Underground Wineletter because I love lots of different wines, and I love what I am doing. And over the years, I have chosen to take the high road as represented by my motto “Drink What You Like & Like What You Drink” [6]. [6]

Nonetheless, I might do a bit more investigation into what happened to Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons beyond what I have already discovered.deep throat 2 [7]But, I need to gather a lot of information and talk to “inside” sources so it might take a while to find my “deep throat.” Stay tuned!

In Vino Veritas,Sig

John Tilson