Business: A Brief Guide to California Wine

TO connoisseurs, wine is not merely a commodity but art, poetry, flowers —depending on how lyrical or sensual one chooses to be. "Wine can be likened to a living being," say Hurst Hannum and Robert S. Blumberg in The Fine Wines of California. "It thrives on proper care and can turn against those who mistreat it." Restaurant Reviewer Gael Greene, not completely seriously, pronounces Gallo Hearty Burgundy "as refreshing as a 17-year-old lifeguard on the Fourth of July."

In the special vocabulary of serious tasters, wines can be "acid" (tart, sour, with the bite of natural fruit acids), "astringent" (puckery, like a...

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