Monday, November 5, 2012

I want some dirty

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Hope everyone had a good weekend! So Daylight Savings Time ended for us here in Canada, and I was looking forward to it because well, it was going to let me sleep in a bit more on Sunday morning, after a long day (and night) out. But alas ... it was not to be. My neighbour decided that Sunday morning, 10 am, was the perfect time to start blasting 'Pagliacci'. Now, I live in a townhouse, and we have thin walls, made all the worse when his room is adjacent to my bedroom. And I love Pagliacci. But being roused awake after a night of drinking by ...

La gente paga, e rider vuole qua.
E se Arlecchin t'invola Colombina,
ridi, Pagliaccio, e ognun applaudirĂ !

 ... is not my idea of a good way to slowly arise from a deep slumber. Right. So he won't mind if I get my bluegrass on and start wailing to Man of Constant Sorrow.

I haven't been drinking much wine lately. Something about budgeting more carefully. So I guess I'm paying a bit more attention to the things I have been buying. And so the wine I want to drink now is moving away from I just want a pleasant bottle to drink with dinner to this bottle better blow my mind. That's not asking too much now, is it? At the very least, wines to make you think a bit, and teach a little something. And it's become quite obvious that while many, many new world wines are pleasant and drinkable enough, only occasionally do they satisfy on an intellectual level. Everyone speaks marketing cliches about terroir and bottling the vineyard, but so few actually understand what an actual terroir-driven wine is. There's an endless argument about the role of fruit in all this, but it's clear that while fruit expression is a big part of a wine, truly terroir-driven wines encompass a whole lot more.

North Americans like to be too clean. Though cleanliness is a virtue, it can often take a sharp left into sterility and lifelessness. Wine has to be a bit dirty to be interesting. It's the winemaker's perogrative to scream and fuss about brett and VA, but middle-of-the-road fruit and nondescript varietal character is no better than obvious flaws in the wine. And really, it's the flaws that make it all the more interesting. I don't believe in dogma, in wine or anything really, but many of these wines seriously veer into an almost neurotic approach to technical proficiency. I think these wines, as clean as they may be, lack all nuance and charm. What then, is the point, if winemaking is no more than an exercise in chemistry? Life is depressing enough as it is ... I'd like the things we eat and drink to be heart-thumpingly romantic because after all, we're all a bit soft and cuddly inside.

Wine crystals are potassium bitartrate crystals that most commonly forms sedimentation in white wines. Wines which have not gone through extensive fining or cold stabilization retain this important tartaric acid, and white wines that exhibit these sediments are often good examples of non-interventionist winemaking. This particular wine is a Mosel riesling, from Bernkasteler Badstube vineyard. And it's everything I want in a true terroir-driven wine. Racy and pure, with fabulously ripe fruit, but the most amazing underlying complexity and structure. This shouldn't be a debate about new world/old world sensibilities, or to insinuate that old world wines are the only true wines of the world, but to, as they say, truly bottle the vineyard, I think winemakers need to be a bit less finicky about getting a bit dirty.

DF

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