While the first duty of a wine is to taste good, PERSON and PLACE are important. If you know where the wine is from (the actual “where” where the grapes were grown) and who made it (or at least who the “motive force” behind it is), you know (or know where to start) the Who-What-Where-When-How-and-Why (the Six Ws of Wine). If a wine, no matter how cheap or how expensive, both tastes good and can answer all those questions with out any “I don’t know” or “Nobody knows” or “They won’t say,” then it is likely a fine wine. But if a wine, no matter how cheap or how expensive, either doesn’t taste good or can’t answer all those questions with out any “I don’t know” or “Nobody knows” or “They won’t say,” then it is not a fine wine.
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The Wine Disconnect
“Disconnect” is one of my new favorite words. It nicely describes the split between two models of wine production: wines of commerce and wines of place. Whether a wine is of commerce or of a place can be determined by answering two simple questions: “Who grew the grapes?” and “Who made the wine?” If the answers are company names, there may be a disconnect from a somewhere (the place of origin) or a someone (who makes the wine) – and the wine is most likely commercial. If the ready answers are actual people’s names, the wine is likely of a place. Of course, there are gray areas between the two. Whether a product of commerce or of a place, wine comes to market through the same distribution channels so who sells it is not an indicator of a disconnect. Further, the label and the propaganda (shelf-talkers, back-labels sell-sheets, web-sites, etc.) don’t always tell you whether a wine is of commerce wine or of a place.
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