America’s love affair with Merlot was a brief and passionate one. In the 90s and early 2000s, Merlot was almost synonymous with red wine. It seemingly could do no wrong. Then, the story goes, Sideways came along. Throughout the movie, the main character, Miles, passionately stumps for Pinot Noir while occasionally and profanely taking shots at Merlot’s inferiority. In what was widely dubbed “the Sideways effect,” US Merlot sales tumbled and have yet to recover.Read More
It is a special people who encounter wine made from moldy grapes and, instead of recoiling, embrace it to the point of claiming to have discovered it. The French are such a people. After all, they are no strangers to the flavor-enhancing potential of mold; Roquefort cheese was already being made for hundreds of years.Read More
Most wine is a paint-by-number affair. Flowcharts are created and followed to ensure palatable and predictable results. Small mistakes are avoided or covered, and out the door it goes. There is nothing wrong with this kind wine, and much of it is reasonably-priced, good quality and enjoyable. But there are also those winemakers who are not driven primarily by what wine quickly moves off the shelves.Read More
On TV, wine is often used as a prop to show sophistication. Everyone has seen some form of the scene where, in an effort to impress, a character sniffs a glass and says “Cabernet Sauvignon, from Bordeaux...Pauillac...Chateau Lafite, and it’s from 1974...no ‘75. You can smell the effect of the rains that arrived just before harvest.” Then the bottle is revealed and, what do you know? Nailed it.
This is complete nonsense.Read More