Wednesday, June 01, 2005

So, what's your palate?

[Wine Business Monthly interview with Nossiter]

Q: What is your personal palate?

Nossiter: I am interested in wines that will be different every time I taste them, wines that challenge me. I am interested in being surprised every time I open a bottle. I am interested in subtlety and complexity.

The one thing I do know is I like defects in wines. I don’t want a wine to be perfect. My fear about what’s happening in the wine world is that wines globally, from $5 to $500, are getting richer and sweeter and fatter and more alcoholic and easier to taste more quickly. And that to me is an unequivocal global trend.
[emphasis added /huge]

So why is anyone listening to this guy - I mean, is this what he's truly championing? The need for wines to be imperfect, or chock full of defects? Wild variations from bottle to bottle? Are TCA, or massive Brett infections and/or wild VA notes now to be held aloft as the new paradigm?

There are several different topics wrapped up in his statement: perfection of wines (in the lack of defects)(& I can't see how desiring that would be something terrible...), the change globally in wine style (which seems it could be a valid concern, though overstated in my opinion), that wines are 'easier to taste more quickly' (I'm not even sure what that's supposed to mean...), that one shouldn't really know what's in the bottle before opening it - even if you've had the wine before.

Do these views excuse the winemaker from any responsibility at all for the final wine? What if you had a wine and liked it, then went back for another bottle for a holiday meal and found not only that the wine was different (and perhaps didn't pair with your food like the original did) but downright rude on your palate.
Where is you right to go back to the producer and complain? The winemaker might reply that he was striving for 'complexity' and 'variation', and couldn't care that you didn't like it because the bottle that the critics tasted was fabulous and generated wild acclaim!
(BTW this happened just recently - see this post on Mark Squires' board)

Can't we require winemakers to produce wines that exhibit 'complexity' for all the good reasons? And there's nothing 'subtle' or desireable about Brett in my view...

Weird...and not something I can support...


Blogger Alder said...

I'm with you on this one completely though. What everyone has failed to see about Nossiter is that he either has no concept of what sort of wines taste good to most people and the value of such things or he completely chooses to ignore it.

June 01, 2005 3:02 PM  
Anonymous Patrick said...

Wow! This guy never ceases to amaze. This sort of rambling is strange to say the least

June 01, 2005 9:02 PM  
Blogger Huge said...

Alder - if Nossiter liked generic California chardonnay, that wouldn't make much of a movie or put many butts in the seats, now would it? ;)


June 02, 2005 8:59 AM  

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