I couldn't agree more. They grow such great fruit there and have such great potential, but then too many of the winemakers just overoak it to death. Unfortunately, this will not help. I guess all we can do is make a point of patronizing the ones with a light hand who get it right.
Unfortunately it does have an effect, Bruce. I saved the following quote from a winemaker who is dismayed at all of the new wood being used. I don't know the validity of the statement, but he has always been honest with me. He told me this while doing an interview for a newspaper article, so his identity is protected as requested.
I remember the years being around Alex when he made the wines with minimal new oak and I think they were better. However, he would throw a (fit) when the scores came in not to his liking from both the Wine Spitoon and Bobby Baby. So one day when I was there, he had just received undesirable scores from the W.S., threw it against the wall and said: "Fuck 'um! We're getting rid of all the barrels and will use 100% new oak from now on. If they want fuckin' oak I'll give it to them in spades."
This is really scary if true -- winemakers who make wines for points instead of for balance, finesse, and as an accompaniment to food. Based on my palate, it is true. I suspect most of us believe winemakers do just that.