As I explained in Spoofulated or Artisanal?, the conversion of grapes into that stuff in your glass is obviously a major technological reshaping every time. Unlike the free, open ‘70’s and ‘80’s, today’s winemakers are lying low and keeping mum while paparazzi fire live ammo over their heads.
In Dan Berger's latest Vintage Experiences he relates a conversation with a fellow judge, and East Coast Burgundy junkie, who indicated concern about California Pinot Noir and the current fad to blend these with 24% Syrah to obtain more color at the expense of covering up nuance. I was with him all the way until he stepped off the cliff of absolutism: "Color in Pinot Noir ought to be pale, not black. If you see a black Pinot, something is wrong."
I confess I’ve been holding out on my readers about an intriguing area of research Susie and I have been pursuing lately, that of the relationship of wine and music. My wife, Dr. Susan Mayer-Smith, a French-trained clinical psychologist who holds two music degrees and was awarded first chair flautist for the Chicago Symphony at age 19, has been working with me to explore the GrapeCraft core notion that wine is liquid music.
Dan Berger’s article in Appellation America offers a brilliant insight: overripe wines are wimpier. And as a winemaker weary of apologizing for youthful leanness and austerity, these words are a breath of fresh air.
He’s right! Today’s overpriced prune bombs may offer cheap thrills to impact thrill-seekers who lack the stones to appreciate good structure, minerality and integrity serious wine offers. But they’re wimps.