Thursday, October 12, 2006

Vade Retro

Eric Asimov published a piece in the New York Times yesterday about the wine consultant Michel Rolland, already vilified as a cackling cad in the hand-held-camera-and-dogs parade that was the movie "Mondovino."

In the Times, Rolland says that when he was growing up, “We never drank wines younger than 12 years old." Today, he's gone the other way and advises making wines that are ready to drink practically out of the gate. “Consumers today like to drink much sooner.”

And what the consumer wants is what Rolland wants his clients to want.

I might get all polemic here. I'm trying not to. But wine isn't just a cash cow, it isn't just a beverage; it has an artistic component, and you can throw out all the comparisons you need: Van Gogh, Beethoven, Kafka, obscure artists in their lifetimes working toward a vision of their productions that wasn't based simply on if they would sell.

Maybe winemakers shouldn't suffer and die obscure just so that in twenty years, someone's son can open a bottle of Bonnes-Mares and quaff it with delight. But then again, maybe wines shouldn't be Frankensteinian monsters boldly lumbering out of their vats and oak barrels ready for the wine glass, only to become decomposing zombies three years down the line...

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