I recently did a couple of favors for a friend and she was very appreciative. She offered to pay for the work but I declined.
A week or so later there was a gift bag sitting on the patio when I returned home from some weekend errands, and a note saying 'thanks' for the help. One look at the gift bag and it was obvious that it was a bottle of wine.
One terrible thing about being a wine lover is that it makes for difficult situations when someone not into wine decides to buy you a bottle. They are quite often socked at the prices when going in a wine store, or they are overwhelmed when going into a supermarket and picking up a bottle. At least this person took the time to call another mutual friend and ask what kind of wine I liked.
The bottom line is that I appreciated the sentiment and last night I finally got around to opening the bottle. The wine in question was a 2007 Fetzer Vineyards Valley Oaks California Riesling. The nose was floral with some pear overtones to it and the pears were joined by some over ripe peaches or apricots in the taste. The over riding factor in the wine however was the lack of the crisp, sharp acid that makes Riesling what it is. The sweetness was there, but without that acid to balance out the sugar the wine was flat and one dimensional.
High production Rieslings from "California" just don't compare to their counterparts from Washington where there is enough cool weather to keep acid levels higher and in correct proportion. I've had some good Riesling from California, primarily Trefethen, Stony Hill and Handley, but the Fetzer certainly wasn't joining that group. I won't even go into a comparison with wines from Germany or Australia because there isn't a comparison to be made.
We drank a couple of glasses with some chicken and called the friend and thanked them. I appreciated the gesture, if not the wine.