Friday, October 29, 2004

More on Brett

Alan Goldfarb (of the St. Helena Star) interviewed His Holiness...uhmm, sorry - I mean Robert Parker...this last weekend at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in St. Helena.
Part of his interview has been in dispute by Parker himself, who objects to some of the reporters comments attributed to him. Goldfarb has removed the quotes in question pending verification by third parties, and provided that happens, has promised to publish them in a few weeks time.

Here is the article that has been 'sanitized':

We are happy that we still have a few nuggets to enjoy from this - apparently undisputed portion - of his interview...

On the use of chemicals in the vineyard he said, "The vines have become a junkie for this stuff."
It's rather obvious that this comment is nothing more than anthropomorphism...

But -

On Brettanomyces, a spoiled yeast found in a number of French cellars and a component favored by many, Parker admitted to being "a Francophile, and since I was raised on a dairy farm, I can tolerate it." (should read "spoilage" for "spoiled" /Huge)

What's THIS? "...I can tolerate it."!
Even though Parker routinely rates wines with Brett higher than those without, I really don't get the impression that he actively looks for wines with that character in them from the quote.
And for those of us who weren't "raised on a dairy farm" and can't stand Brett, it's somewhat saddening that people "tolerate" it at all!

"It's part of the cellar and part of the wine and I can't imagine a Lynch-Bages without a little Brettanomyces."

I think that's just poor imagination on his part. I can imagine an entire world without it quite clearly...

If this is something that even the most widely revered wine critic can "tolerate", but only after a childhood of desensitization by living "on a dairy farm", why doesn't he hold wineries responsible to eradicate it?
(And "Yes", it can be eradicated, controlled, and/or minimized. More on that topic later.)
So what I'm reading out of all this is that those people who are most able to effect change in viniculture & viticulture (the critics) aren't willing to raise the bar for the producers.

Instead they're just "tolerating" it rather than changing it. At least Parker is.
What a loss for consumers, and the wine industry as well...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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September 30, 2005 4:10 PM  
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