California’s traditional superiority over other US wine-making states is being challenged. One of the challengers is Michael Amigoni from Amigoni Urban Winery. Michael spoke to Regional Wine Taster after an evening tasting at his winery, which is uniquely located in the Livestock Exchange Building, nestled in the West Bottoms, the old stockyards district of Kansas City. He says the Judgement of Paris analogy made in Kansas Wine Causes Bottle Shock is a fair one.
Michael includes wines from Virginia, the Finger Lakes of upstate New York, Texas and Oklahoma as “being judged against California wines and exceeding some of their ratings on the wines.” He continues, “So I think there is some of that judgement, that we’re catching up with them fairly quickly.”
Michael agrees with Michelle Meyer from Holy-Field Vineyard in Kansas that US regional wines, including those from Missouri and Kansas, are growing in popularity in the Midwest and around the country. “I think what we’ve seen, in especially the last five years, is more of the regional wines getting better.” Michael says some of the natural acidity in wines here has been tamed and from a Midwest region better known for sweeter wines, more dry wines are entering the market.
Is California’s aura of superiority towards the rest of the country’s wines diminishing? “A little bit.” says Michael. As an example he points to California-based juggernaut Gallo Winery. Michael says Gallo’s production of sweet wines under the Barefoot Wine label is something of a tribute to the sweet wine making traditions of the Midwest.