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Friday, August 7, 2009

True or false? (#9)

Yes, it's been a long time... but for those of you who are familiar with my "True or False?", this is the second one produced as a varietal... :)
"There's no really bad wine anymore, but a lot of less very good wine. Things are becoming normalized - the rules swamp expression"
Gerard Chave, Hermitage

I would love to hear your opinion.

Cheers, LA


Anonymous said...

I agree, but for a different reason. Since the commercialization of production and the consolidation of distribution wine is being made for a profiled palate. That concept is based on taking the younger generation from pepsi to pop wine, banking on the American sweet tooth. These wines are promoted as "dry" so the judicious addition of oak and alcohol is necessary to disquise the obvious overabundance of residual sugar. It is now difficult to find a properly made wine at popular prices.

Anonymous said...

I'm not in the market for expensive wine, as I can't afford it. In any case, there is a great deal of quality wine in the $12 to $20 range (Canadian prices).

However, even the affordable quality products are viewed by many people as being too expensive. Many wine consumers see it is just another branded product, like soup or detergent. Their eyes glaze over when this "wine snob" succinctly explains simple concepts such as varieties and Bordeaux blending. They also have no idea that much of the cheap wine is sourced from overseas, and essentially mislabelled as product of another country. (An example is "Cellared in Canada".)

Anonymous said...

Quality is subjective. These days fewer wines are oxidized or acetic (almost universally considered flaws). More wines are overoaked, high in alcohol, and/or sweet (qualities that are considered flaws by some of us, but not by others including influential critics like Parker).

Anonymous said...

I disagree, unfortunately there is still wine that should never have made it to the market. It is the reason people say; "I do not like wine - it is sour, it is too sharp (acid)it smells funny etc." Fortunately there is an increasing amount of worthwhile wine made to off set the negative remarks, but bottles of wine do get sent back or taken back, check with the restaurants and wine shops.

Bob Tardif said...

I disagree with no reservation. Wine is the result of valiant efforts to make the most of the fruits of vineyards. While the qualitative results of those efforts vary considerable among the artists who craft the wines we drink, those outcomes can never be better than the potential within the fruit.

Winemakers today produce results that are substantially closer to the potential of the grapes than ever before. With the growth of science, both viticulture and enology, and the expanding interest and knowledge of the wine-loving public, competition and pride alone put the certainty of constant improvement into the ethos of winemaking.

One test of the assertion of "... a lot less really good wine" is this question: Do you have more 'favorite' wines and wineries now than you had five/ten years ago?

I certainly do! And, I know a lot more now than I did then! Of course, there is a lot of wine out there I don't drink because of a growing list of superb alternatives. The choices are extensive and options are much improved. Viva les possibilites!

Robert F Tardif, Ph.D.

Frank Doherty said...

I agree that it is hard to find bad (poorly made technically) wine.
Since there is more wine being produced it is fair to say that more mediocre (by standards of more knowledgeable wine consumers) wine is being produced.
As consumers become more aware the standards are moving to a higher level.

Luiz Alberto said...

"Reply by Rodolphe Boulanger 3 minutes ago
There are still 4 types of wine:

Great Expensive Wine (think First Growths, DRC, etc)
Poor Expensive Wine (think overextracted and faddish things)
Great Inexpensive Wine (we love it when we find it)
Poor Inexpensive Wine (most people who drink this every day don't know any better)

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Permalink Reply by Luiz Alberto 1 second ago
Delete Hi Rodolphe,
Thanks for participating.
I agree with almost everything that you said. With one exception: would you be able to exemplify your "type #3" wine? I have had many, many good inexpensive wines, but truly great (and inexpensive)? Well, that’s a new one for me…
Either you make way more money than I do (and, therefore, you think the wines are "inexpensive")... or what you say is "great" is actually only "good".
However, I would absolutely love you to prove me wrong! Send me a few names and I'll gladly try them.

JoelDee/Berlin said...

There are very few great wines being made. Why?

Most are blended which was once called Meritage or "2 Buck Chuck". To say a wine reflects the vineyard when it may have grapes from as many as four vineyards to hide the flaws, and Malbec added from as far away as Argentina to tame the tannins, is quite a stretch of the imagination. Blended wines once were the cheap overflow castoffs which wine snobs now describe as great when referring to Bordeaux, Napa, Australia, Super Tuscan - must I go on. Blended wines once were the castoffs of a bad year, but because of extreme production costs most vigneron have built for themselves, we get marketed "crap" blended to a taste formula wines.

It's time to move on.

Anonymous said...

According tAo this critical quotation ,the best of wines will be the wine that I can't drink often because it is also the most sought-after, the rarest and therefore the most expensive. Nevertheless for a same norm of production it will be
possible to find a wine benefitting from the same poor terrain ,the same vine stock , the same conditions
climatical with some differences to the level of know-how to make it (mixing old age of the stock , methods of vintage,scratching grapes or not,time and temperature of the fermentation, in the small or the big vat.
method of extracting , the amount of squeezed grapes, mix of vines , antiquity of barrels , placement in bottles, tenperature of conservation...)
This wine with less notoriety into the same vineyard location will be nearly almost as good than the first great vintage . But that remains a question of great expertise in order to avoid making alcoholic vinegar with good vines

Knut Wohncke said...

The presumption that there no longer are any "bad" wines requires a redefinition of badness.

Once, it was easy to find thin, acetic, under ripe, astringent, rot tinged, painfully acidic, vegetal wines of any stripe. Some were oxydized even before they were bottled. Some had undergone malolactic fermentation after being bottled or they contained maddening levels of brett, mercaptan, hydrogen-sulfide along with a host of other bacterial or fungal infections. Vineyards were often farmed to maximize output which minimized grape quality. Wines were fermented in open wooden cuves in unclean facilities. Half made, they would be bottled by hand by some Gauloise smoking vigneron and if the ash from his cigarette found its way into the barrel, well that's character.

Today's bad is a different thing, entirely. Although, any of the above maladies can still be found, on occasion, it is difficult to come across a bottle afflicted with five or six of them, at once as was the case with many wines that I tried to drink fom the 50's, 60's, 70's and even the 80's.

No, today's bad is defined by the plethora of factory wines as exemplified by 12,000,000 case production per annum from the winery known as Yellow Tail. The wines comming from this facility are a culmination of decades long market research and perhaps, a realization that most new world wine is annonymous and totally untied to place and that they are totally interchangeable much like a Ford Taurus, a Mercury Sable or the German built Ford Taunus, for that matter. The badness does not stem from the construction, but from the nature of the assembly line. It is undesirable to deviate from an efficient design template that is popular and profitable. If it already appeals to the broadest spectrum of consumer then it can easily be cosmetically altered to appeal to emerging mass market developments without any drastic retooling or interruptions in production. Hence, a Hummer with a sunroof or Yellow Tail Pinot Grigio!

Otavio said...

We live on the Golden Age of Wine drinking!! There has never been as much good ( as defined by wines without defects,expressive of grape and terroir,at reasonable prices) wine as today.
Wine is now produced in several styles. it is up to the individual consumer to decide which style and price he can afford. It is up to wine lovers and professionals to understand and appreciate the differences and reject the ( hopefully few) styles he/she does not like.
On the other end, there are also many bad ( as defined by unbalanced, overly acidic, overly extracted, over-oaked, excessively alcoholic, and , of course, defective) wine hitting the shelves of stores everywhere., from every appelation, including the most prestigious ones.
We welcome these too. It is impossible to know wines without having a share of the bad stuff that is out there.