Oenological Battles: The War on Terroir

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Traditional European winemakers try to survive the market takeover by American wine-labs.

Link found at (and clever title stolen from) Arts and Letters Daily.

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I think this caption for one of the pictures in the article says it all: "Most wine drinkers prefer cheap libation to expensive quality." Wine is become yet another means to intoxication, and if it has a predictable taste along the way, so much the better. Fools and idiots.

Now, if we're speaking in the abstract about the use of technology in winemaking, the answer lies somewhere in the middle: we have tools to probe the mysteries of the grape which our forebears did not, but they certainly knew what they were doing. I, of course, lean more on the "traditionalist" side, but not as far as Herr Löwenstein.

Speaking of wine, I have an unopened bottle of Riesling Kabinett in the kitchen. Excuse me. :)

Hi Nick,

The cheap factor isnt the whole story, because some of these BIG, fruity California wines are anything but cheap. It ain't the cost, it's the taste. The general American trend to BIG, flavorful wines comes at the expense of traditional subtlety, and it's the use of technology in the service of making those wines even BIGGER and juicier that's making those traditional methods more and more untenable.

In short, the problem ain't with 2-Buck Chuck. If anything fred Franzia is pulling people into the wine world who couldn't otherwise afford it. The people who buy their wine at WalMart are not the ones who are bringing down European wine culture.

You're probably right, and serves me right for trying to write intelligently early in the morning. Big-and-bigger, of course, is a typically American thing to do.

And you mention something else of import: European wines are overpriced, as are some of the more elite American ones. Now part of that is economics, particularly in the case of European imports, but most of it is snob appeal, something wine really can do without.

Agreed on the pricing. The wine industry - both domestic and foreign - can only benefit if less people see wine as an over-priced pansy drink for rich effete metro-sexuals. Alas, in the land of Miller Lite, bridging that divide seems to be a daunting task.

I honestly think America needs a stronger line-up of middle-class wine - the type families can buy for everyday drinking. Many - maybe most - Americans just aren't comfortable with wine and aren't inclined to spend large amounts of money on something they don't "get." Hence the popularity of white zinfandel and wines that sell by the gallon.


Mama-Lu's Etsy Shop

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This page contains a single entry by Papa-Lu published on November 8, 2005 8:48 AM.

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