The clinical and somewhat erroneous methods of scoring or rating wine does not take into account the human factor, not only dysfunctional to its pleasures, but unfairly disqualifying otherwise perfectly agreeable wines. Yet, how else does the novice wine consumer or enthusiast alike, wade through an overwhelming glut of hype? Curtis Marsh explores this polemic.
The Rapidly-Evolving Expression Nebbiolo
Curtis marsh reports on modern-day Barolo and Barbaresco where a progressive balance of contemporary and traditional techniques have transformed an otherwise unyielding style of red.
Like many of the Old World wine regions, there was an inherited resistance to change in Piedmont, with the old guard Barolo and Barbaresco winemakers obstinately adhering to time-honoured traditions and techniques. Indeed, Barolo was seemingly cemented in time with little variance from the winemaking methods introduced in the early 1800s by French oenologist Louis Oudert.
Curtis Marsh examines the prejudices and misconceptions that distort wine opinion around the world, and how these attitudes are influencing consumers in Asia.
There are many inconsistencies on the world wine stage when it comes to perceived wine quality, popularity (or unpopularity) of particular grape varieties, wine styles, regions or even entire countries. Sometimes, these anomalies have a rational explanation, yet in many instances there are perplexing and illogical evaluations or warped idealisms that render even the unquestionable quality of a highly regarded wine irrelevant and banished to consumer oblivion.
No longer delimited to the Loire Valley, France or Marlborough, New Zealand, almost the entire wine-world is now producing Sauvignon Blanc and the whole world is willingly drinking it. Curtis Marsh comes out of the closet in defence of this greatly maligned variety.
Since early Roman times, the wider popularity of grape varieties has been largely determined by its ability to travel or adapt to new environments and, above all, fashion. Achieving global massconsumer appeal for any grape variety in this day and age has long been a very tight clique, namely Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.
When buying wine in Asia, the first question you should be asking your merchant is: How do you transport and store your wine?
Many consumers are unaware that wine is a perishable product, a ‘living thing’ that undergoes a delicate, continuous transformation of chemistry and integration of organisms. Even those who are acquainted with wine often disregard these facts, believing that it is resilient in its youth and that the glass bottle it lives in provides sufficient robust protection. In actuality, wine is almost as fragile and spoilable as any other fresh produce and it requires specialised handling in every step from production to the point of consumption.
The noble sweet wines from Sauternes and Barsac in Bordeaux, France are not only underappreciated for their extraordinary complexity but are also misunderstood as being less than versatile!
One of nature’s miracles and an aberration in viticulture is a peculiar mould that transforms the otherwise tart and shy white grape, Semillon, to nectar of unparalleled concentration of exotic fruits, honeyed sweetness, sumptuous richness and a creamy viscous texture, yet with a harmonious marmalade-like piquancy, pleasant bitterness and powerful natural acidity that imparts a perceived dryness.