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« Freedom | Main | More Perfect »

05 November 2006

Two Questions

Maostatwine Question #1: Is the big oeno-homogenization upon us? 
As someone who literally tastes hundreds (thousands?) of wines each year, the Caveman answers thusly:

"One of the reasons that I do what I do are the wine tastings. I used to revel in these moments, looking forward to each with the anticipation of a kid running home Halloween night with a bag full of candy… oh, which one will I gobble down first?

But more and more my bag is overflowing with the same candy. Recent tastings have left me wondering wether those harbingers of doom (me included) were right; we are moving with giant steps towards a uniformity of taste, adorned in Chairman Mao grey sporting both little hats and stars."

Question #2: Aside from the ongoing Great Leap Forward in the world of wine, what makes a really good, memorable bottle of wine? 

Inquiring minds want to know.

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Comments

Alexis

Uniformity of taste: As predicted in the movie Mondovino one could say. I still haven't tasted all the wines available on the market. Can't confirm it yet ;)
But I guess it is true for supermarket wines first of all.
But a global wine market and competiton also has positive consequences on wine production. Each region can become a niche market focussing on a particular terroir, producing a particular style of wine. In Germany for example it has helped producing a better style of Riesling over the last decades.
Let's just wait and drink!

Alexis

And question 2: a big bottle of wine is just the one bottle which fits perfectly with the occasion.
(Ok, sometimes the occasion makes the wine perfect, sometimes the wine is the occasion!)

jeff

As the dinosaurs grow larger the mammals come in to fill the niches.

OK, too obscure. How about: In a land where billions of Big Macs(tm) are sold, a Mom and Pop burger joint or even small chain can still thrive if they offer a quality product at a price commensurate with the value given. Next time you are in CA, visit an "In-n-Out Burger"* and see what I mean: people will pay more and wait longer because the burger is that much better.

Wineries that can do the same with their wines will succeed. Dare to be interesting. - j

* No this is not a misplaced comment on the "Eros..." post...

John

#1 While there will always be "sheep" that form the homogenous masses, there will also always be the "goats" that do their own thing.

#2 A friend introduced me to the wine term "three-dimensional." A good wine has three dimensions.

jeff

hey John:

#1: yes, and they smell funny. But perhaps that's the point...

#2: That's an interesting comment. I certainly have had one dimensional wines, but why only three? If you take the simple aroma, flavor, and finish - that's three right there. And I have had wines that have taken me in multiple directions for each of those. Just curious what you meant. (Perhaps we need a String Theory of Wine?-)

John

el jefe,

By three-dimensional I mean, having much complexity (a wine to linger over), but not limited to "three" aspects. Maybe not the best descriptor, but I've always liked it.

East Village Wine Geek

Rant on #1: It wasn't more than a decade ago the uniform was merlot and what we could do with it. Now the uniform is pinot noir and what we can do with it. It also used to be that everyone wanted high-alcohol biggens and more and more we are reading about the national lean towards restraint which is very exciting. I feel that once these new trends set in it is fun to go hunting for the rebels.

Rant on #2: A great bottle of wine is best remembered by the experience in which it is involved. Everybody has different tastes in wine despite the uniformity of a national trend and when you can find a wine that all your friends can enjoy in one sitting that is just down right memorable. The experience along with the quality of the wine will seal the deal for the producer or varietal or relationship with whatever wine merchant you trusted to choose the particular bottle.

Cheers!

Victoria

#1
I agree and think that has been the case lately.
One of the reasons? Wine consumption has been groing rapidly here in the state, especially the last 5 years. I would say the majority of the consumers like a "safe", easy-to-drink wine that they recognize. And what the consumer wants the consumer gets. To be able sell enought quantity of wine a lot of times many wineries have to produce according to the demand for that kind of wine. In the years to come as a lot of consumers get a more sofisticated taste I think we'll see more diversity in wine again.

Noah

To #1 I say NO, NO, NO. It just isn't the truth. There is more variety all the way around. If anyone is seriously arguing that there are less choices now than there were 10,20 or 50 years ago they are out of their mind. With the internet and the HUGE upswing in consumption fine wine (both artisinal and larger production) are more widely available than ever. There is more dialougue, more information about wine, more unique wines out there than ever before. More winebars. More adventurous wine lists. Hell even more winelists period.

I think focusing on the Mondavi's and Beringers of the world belies the fact that there are tons of small producers doing better than ever...

marketfreshchef

I do agree with the observation that many wines readily proffered at the neighborhood wine shop taste alike. That fact, unfortunately, I don't have an explanation for, although I can see the appeal of blase' wines' coming into popularity to bring twenty-somethings into vogue who finally realize that beer or "shots" are no longer sensible social/business/political lubricants.

As to item number two, I have always found the romance in wine the most appealing, and subsequently compelling, aspect. The events and emotions connected to consumption of a particular bottle of wine are how we remember and, ofttimes, measure it's memory. I can still recall the setting, first big mouthful, and love in my heart, the very first time I shared a stupendous Nebbiolo with my new love. And I believe we would now risk 10 times the original cost to hope to recapture the delicious nose of the Gamay in the brunt bottle we drank repeatedly in '88. You know that I'm saying here: "Let's try another bottle of that fabulous what-have-you we had at the ocean last month, shall we?"

I believe far too many bottles of mediocre wine are being consumed in mediocre circumstances, and nobody knows the difference. Or cares. And I know for a fact that those who are drinking crummy wine are also cooking with it. Shame on them! They (and their dinner guests) don't know that they're missing, and that's a significant part of the problem.

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