Matt Kramer is a nice guy. At least that’s what I’m told from my winemaker friends to whom he’s granted an audience. I get the impression he and I see eye to eye on many current issues in wine production: the pre-eminence of distinctive terroir expression, the importance of living soil, the need for balance rather than impact, concern about centrist tendencies that turn wine into a shallow commodity. In sum, the fight for the soul of wine.
So many wine media pundits speak of their love of Old World wine styles over the standard California offerings, which tend to overblown styles which please up front but lack minerality and length in the finish; muscular and fruit forward but without balance, interest and depth, brawny and generous yet dull and shallow; long on impact but short-lived. And I agree.
In my struggle to discover common ground with critics of wine technology, I find myself sympathetic to concerns that new approaches to winemaking might alter its nature, which is pretty mysterious and possibly fragile. But these concerns are being voiced a century too late, when the advent of electricity and modern science changed wine forever. Electricity isn’t evil in and of itself, but it has conferred great power absent wisdom, and scientific skepticism provides scant protection of mysteries beyond its grasp.
I reckon it's high time to post my views, which are somewhat at odds with mainstream enology, concerning this beast and its handling. For the anti-filtration crowd (count me in) this is the central problem facing those who take on the making of serious wine.
It was an honor to read your reflections about me appended to Alan Goldfarb’s recent blog. Studying your work has been a life’s privilege over the years, and I just wish there were only a few of your comments I was confused about from the encyclopediaic knowledge you imparted in Wine Phenolics! So I imagine you can relate to my current difficulties in being understood.
Not every member of the press is bent on demonizing today's imminently sensible postmodern alcohol-balancing practices. Here's one journalist in the normally chilly region of Tasmania who takes a balanced view. Mark Smith of the Launceston Examiner (no relation!) tells it like it is.