Yesterday Jordan Mackay posted an article on “The Fruit Bomb Resistance” over at SF Mag. Jordan is a good writer. We love SF Mag at Westwood and like participating in their events. I personally avoid drinking over-the-top cocktail wines, and certainly don’t make them — so yes, you could label me as a “fruit-bomb resister.”
“But now a small yet influential band of vintners, critics, and sommeliers has decided enough is enough—and is setting out to change the way we drink.” Oh really? I am getting so f**king sick of hearing and reading this meme that I’m going all curmudgeonly — and you wouldn’t like it when I get curmudgeonly. First of all, like Tonto said to the Lone Ranger when they were surrounded by marauding Native Americans: “who’s this ‘we’ kimosabe?” Changing the way “we” drink? Oh shut up already. That statement is elitist and condescending.
Second, the premise of this article — that there is some huge feud between high-alcohol and low-alcohol winemaking camps — is a total fabrication. The fallback position of the lazy journalist these days is that every issue is depicted as having just two diametrically-opposed sides. It’s facile, and sophomoric, and emblematic of the way the media are failing in promoting public discourse at any level above the schoolyard playground. In the real world, winemakers are not running around playing capture-the-flag over this issue.
Third, though there might actually be a few neophyte or even some fewer journeyman winemakers who actually believe that one can simply harvest at lower sugar and make good wine, as I have said before — this is just not true. As for the older guys who are espousing some new catechism of “lean, low-alcohol” wines — you sly old foxes, you! And as for the journos who have bought this, um, marketing hype? Well, you got played, suckas. Thanks for helping us sell more wine.
Finally, I’m glad to see I’m not just one curmudgeonly Diogenes wandering in search of an honest man. Yesterday Steve Heimhoff posted “Truth, lies and alcohol in California wine” — a less hyperbolic response than this one to Mr. Mackay’s article, and Charlie Olken put up “There Are Many Roads To Damascus” which may or may not have been a response to the same article. Though I doubt Jordan Mackay will ever read my screed here, I’d like him to know I’m not piling on — in my opinion he wrote a decent article from a flawed perspective and that’s not a sin. But to the rest of the wine journalists out there — fair warning. See first image above. Time to cut it out. This includes you, Mr. Asimov.