Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Not to be categorized as a light read, the documentary Mondovino does not hand its message over easily, but it does speak loud and clear to those who are willing to listen. I have stated that I have no intention of politicizing this blog, but Mondovino makes it oh so apparent how political wine is. Jonathan Nossiter has painted a vivid picture of how globalized wine is becoming to the point that “everybody is making the same wine.” The biggest villains, according to Nossiter’s presentation, are a wine consultant, Michel Rolland, and wine critic, Robert Parker, Jr., and as the movie progresses one is given the impression that these two are not only in bed with each other, but that the Robert Mondavi dynasty and Wine Spectator join them in their romps as well.


Robert Parker has gained such an ironclad reputation as a critic over the years that many winemakers fear that their wine sales will fail if they do not make wines that he likes. He favors heavily extracted fruit forward wines that are easy to drink upon release. Winemakers around the world have fallen into this trap; even those who have generations of tradition and local character that they could be celebrating have dismissed their ways of winemaking in the hopes that he will give them a nod. This phenomenon is known as Parkerization. Rolland consults with over 400 winemaking clients around the world and coaches them as to how they can make their wines a “success” by modernizing their techniques. He tells them all to micro-oxegenate, it is his mantra. My impression is that this is the element that takes the furry edges off of the tannins prematurely and speed ages them so that they do not have to be cellared for enjoyment later. I believe that this process prevents the wines from being age worthy if I understand what was being stated correctly.


The argument made by the anti-globalization proponents in the movie is that most people in our high speed stress laden world barely have time to enjoy pleasurable things such as eating, good company, and loving so, unfortunately, why would they want to take the time to wait for a bottle of wine to age beautifully? I would love for that question to become this statement: In a world that has become so fast paced, enjoying a bottle of wine that has been allowed to age beautifully parallels the most pleasurable things in life that time must be taken to enjoy-good food, good company and love. 


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