The Demoncratisation of Wine

I like good wine, I dislike bad wine and that's about the sum of it. Despite the fact that I am a food blogger the link between my taste buds and that part of my brain that controls verbal description seems to be broken

Food, wine, beer is, in my books, either yummy, or not. I'm not one to start waxing lyrically about vanilla undertones or blackberry flavours, to me it all tastes like fermented grapes. Not to say that there are not good bottles and bad bottles of fermented grapes and that I can't tell the difference. I'm just not going to bore anyone with the petty details of my tongue

it's a sensual wine????? a naughty wine????? a charming wine????

Mushrooms are not actors and wine isn't a young's wine.

So I'm so glad that someone else has been incensed with this insufferable snobbery and food fetishism and called a spade a spade

Introducting, the Anti-Wine Guide

AFP - US-born film director Jonathan Nossiter, maker of Mondovino, has released his first book - an ''anti wine guide'' which like his 2004 documentary slams overly influential critics and outrageous prices.

Launched in Bordeaux recently, Nossiter said the book, Le Gout et le Pouvoir (Taste and Power), aimed to demystify wine and make it more democratic.

In a veiled attack on powerful critics such as American Robert Parker, whose arithmetical ratings of Bordeaux wines influence sales and prices, Nossiter says it is treason to taste 300 wines and then issue mathematical calculations.

''If there were 40 people in the room tasting we would have 40 different experiences,'' Nossiter said.

''This book is an anti-guide,'' he said, not aimed at imposing one person's tastes but instead at championing the taste of the individual over that of well known critics.

The book, which will be available in English late next year, ``is a call to find another way to talk about wine, to find words that include people, not exclude them,'' he said.

It follows hot on the heels of another recently launched book that also criticises Parker, accusing him of croneyism and lack of independence.

Aside from slamming wine buffs and their snobby talk, Nossiter also takes on outrageously priced restaurants as a barrier to enjoying wines.

Describing a visit to one trendy Paris restaurant which aims to bring good foods to a wide audience, Nossiter said the wine prices were ''punishing'' with a simple white burgundy at 17 euros ($A27) a glass.

''Scandalous,'' he says for a wine that could have been priced at
1.50 euros ($A2.38).

''More than 1,000 per cent mark up, when the norm is between 250 and 300 per cent,'' the book says.

Another wine, selling at 13 euros ($A20.50) a glass, normally costs 6 euros ($A9.50) a bottle, he says, a 1,300 per cent mark-up.

When the restaurant's sommelier is asked if the wines by the glass come from bottles opened that day or the day before - as wines change taste and lose freshness when opened for too long - the sommelier says he doesn't know and that it doesn't matter.

''That is like saying to a film maker, you can screen your film on the pavement instead of the screen, no difference,'' writes Nossiter.

Asked at the launch about fears that both critics and supermarkets will eventually impose standardised wine tastes, Nossiter said: ''Despite mafia-like efforts to standardise our tastes, I think intelligent people will not accept this, and they will become more and more sceptical about wine and other things.''

Nossiter, who chose to wrote his book in French, made waves at the Cannes filmfest in 2004 with Mondovino, a documentary about the good, the bad and the ugly in world wine.

It portrayed a troubled world, one of big business taking over the vineyards of the world. Nossiter travelled three continents to recount the family sagas of billionaire Napa Valley growers, the rivalry between two aristocratic Florentine dynasties and the efforts of three generations of a Burgundy family to preserve their vines.

''Wine is a kind of guardian of Western civilisation,'' he said at the time.


    ''If there were 40 people in the room tasting we would have 40 different experiences,''

    I'm interested in what his new democratic description method sounds like...

    I often feel similarly about music writing ... so often about elitist references to obscure releases or obtuse song lyric quotes... imagine if wine critics were like "This tastes like a very rare & expensive vintage from a tiny vineyard in the Pyrenees, very 'mon frere', if that gives you a clue...they just don't make them like back in '95 yo"
    still at least it's concrete references and you can learn something if you take the time, I guess.


    A great blind taste test to do on yourself is to drink a glass of white and red wines at room temperature, blindfolded. It's damn hard to work out which one is which.

    Elitist wine writing (and making) is a pain in the arse - I tend to hate it in French (and some Italian) wines that you need to know the terroir in order to try to work out for yourself which varietal is being grown there.

    There have been a few attempts to standardise wine tasting. The UC Davis wine wheel ( tries to standardise the way that you explain the things that you perceive in wine.


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