Cabernet - King of California?

Cabernet Sauvignon has been enjoying being the number one, the so called King of California, for a long time.  And who else could it or should it be anyways?  After all, it was Cabernet that put California or more specific, Napa Valley, on the map in the first place when it won multiple medals at the 1988 World fair in Paris and later in 1976 won awards at the blind tasting against some of France’s finest wines. 
But with today’s offerings of different grapes, such as big powerful Syrah’s, bold Zinfandel’s and many others that are being grown all throughout California, is Cabernet still King?  Based on various articles, certainly so.  I say, no! 

I believe it is time for others to get the spot light.  Not saying that we shouldn’t be always thankful what cabernet did to California and especially Napa, but enough is enough.  That raises the question as to who should be taking over the reign of the most powerful grape in California.  I say, Zinfandel.  Zinfandel is home to California, like no other grape is.  Zinfandel arrived to the US east coast by 1829 and made its way to California by 1850.  It was widely planted and enjoyed until the prohibition in 1933.  You can read more about Zinfandel on Wikipedia (link is listed below).
Besides – Zinfandel needs to be given an opportunity to jump out of the white zinfandel shadow for many reasons!

1 comment:

  1. Ummm, I would say that you are over simplifying the California wine industry here. While I agree that the Zinfandel grape holds a secure place in the pantheon of California red wines, I don't believe that it is in any danger of overtaking Cabernet Sauvignon as the "King" of California red wines.

    The biggest problem may lie in the grape itself rather than any type of perception issue. Especially when you are talking about Central Valley Zins such as those produced in the Lodi region. The climate produces grapes that appear over ripe and loaded with sugar and you end up with wines with as high as 16% ABV. While those wines may be fun to drink at times (I do love a good Zin) they have a distinctly different profile for both drinking and aging than the Cabs do.

    No, Cabernet Sauvignon is still the big dog and will remain there for quite some time to come.