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Roy Lichtenstein and Californian wine


lichtenstein post-event 2013 - Post-event2.jpgOn Tuesday night, 26 March, 200 lucky Londoners bagged tickets to a fabulous evening at Tate Modern. An after-hours private viewing of the much-vaunted Lichtenstein retrospective in parallel with an exclusive tasting of specially selected Californian wines proved a sure-fire hit.

Outside, London’s skyline twinkled through the Tate’s picture windows, providing what seemed like the perfect canvas for Roy Lichtenstein’s fun, expressive modern images, with their primary colours, clean lines and hand-painted Benday dots.

The artist’s take on mass-media culture, with its comic-book heroes, Disney characters and advertising imagery, is all about technical skill, vitality and charm – virtues not lost on the Californian winemakers in the tasting along the corridor. And if Lichtenstein’s work shows more than a few nods to France, the same could also be said for the US oenophiles, with their Bordeaux and Rhône blends and Burgundy lookalikes.

lichtenstein post-event 2013 - Post-event1.jpgWhile the art painted its own tales, so Stephanie Honig of the eponymous winery in Napa was on hand to tell the story of her beautiful pioneering Sauvignon and her classically elegant Cabernet. Throughout the tasting, guests enthused with passion about the brightness and quality of the grapes, the length of the wines and their finish.

Californian Wines Director John McLaren, who co-hosted the wine side of the evening with Tate buyer Hamish Anderson, urged guests to make the most of ‘this rare opportunity to explore such a wide range of Californian wine at the £10-plus level’, reminding guests that only France delivers a greater diversity than the West Coast in this price bracket.

Hamish Anderson concurred: ‘This was one of the very best tastings we have hosted over the years. John [McLaren] rightly highlighted the great diversity of California, but what I took most from the evening was in the sweet spot between £15 and £30, where California now represents excellent value against what Bordeaux and Burgundy can deliver at that price. Wine of the night for me was Paul Hobbs' Cross Barn Chardonnay – beautifully elegant and restrained, I shall be finishing the leftovers with dinner tonight!’

Find out more about California Wines.

This article was published in March 2013.

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