Sat 3 Jul 2010
So I open this nifty bottle of $20 cabernet from, say, Napa Valley and, let’s see, the alcohol is 14.5 to 15 percent, it has dollops of merlot and cabernet franc and a touch of syrah — people are so clever nowadays! — it smells like vanilla-laced, toasty oak and cassis and, you know, it’s fine, just fine, but nothing very special or exciting. But, hey, we’re just talking about 20 bucks, so do we care?
Then I open this bottle of cabernet that costs $45 or $60 or $75 from, oh, just about anywhere but let’s say Tuscany, and the alcohol is 14.5 to 15 percent, it has dollops of merlot and cabernet franc and a touch of syrah — people are so clever nowadays! — it smells like vanilla-laced, toasty oak and cassis and, you know, it’s fine, just fine, but nothing very special or exciting. And, come on, we’re talking real money here, wine-wise.
I’m so tired of this crapola. I just want to pour out these damned wines. I’m tired of interchangeable cabernet-based wines that could have been made in Napa or Sonoma, Tuscany or Piedmont, Barossa or Coonawarra, Rapel or Mendoza or Walla Walla because they all look and smell and taste and feel the same. Lord, I’m so weary of carefully-calibrated, committee-made cabernets that toe the line of all the popular, 95-point conventions and cliches. Have mercy, I’m exhausted by the sleek, slick debut cabernets that cost $75 or $100 a bottle right out of the starting gate, with no track record except the promise of a winemaker’s name. Criminy, I’m sick unto death of the press releases that inform me in exalted, ecstatic tones of the owner’s vision and the winemaker’s passion and the integrity of the land and the absolute sustainable architectural treasureness of the winery.
And speaking of the integrity of the land, the notion of terroir and single-vineyard wines don’t matter a rat’s ass when the finished wine is sodden with oak and hot with alcohol. Don’t spin me the hype of how important yer little microclimate and soil and organic philosophy and vineyard practices are (not to mention all that vision and passion) when you clobber the wine with wood and eradicate any terroir-like character it might have had. What a waste!
So stop it. Right now.
Broken wine glass image from apartmenttherapy.com.