Is a Critic to Blame for So Much 'Sameness' in Wine?

     The second installment of Robert Mondavi Winery’s “Taste 3” seminar series pushed the envelope by providing food for thought about wine, food and the arts. 

     Held at COPIA and at Mondavi’s Oakville winery in the Napa Valley, it brought together national and international authorities to cover such issues as wine fraud, grape hang-time and health, terroir, and the environmental cost of the present method of producing wine.

     Iconoclastic winemaker Randall Grahm – whose vinous wares have been featured on numerous occasions by the wine clubs of Vinesse – was present to not only give a skeptic’s views on terroir, but to hope out loud that critic Robert Parker Jr. might change his view on wine.

     “For the longest time, I supposed myself to be an agnostic on the possibility of finding terroir in the new world,” Grahm said. “It’s not that I wanted to be a member of the anti-terroirist brigade; it’s really the opposite. To me, a wine that somehow captures the sense of taste is the only wine I find that is truly necessary.”

     Grahm added that trying to find that unique place for grapes in the New World would have to be something short of a miracle.

 “Something on the order of Robert Parker waking up one morning and saying, ‘Of course, it’s all about finesse. What was I thinking?'”

     Because Parker seems to have a preference for highly-extracted “fruit bombs,” and because he influences such a high percentage of consumers in their wine purchases, many wineries have adopted a “Parker style” in their winemaking, creating a sense of “sameness” among many varieties.

     Leave it to Randall Grahm, a vintner who definitely makes wine to the beat of his own drummer, to finally say what many people have been thinking for a long time.


Posted in Wine Buzz
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