Saturday, July 09, 2005

Geeking Out on a Friday Nite

I love Jancis Robinson. G'wan, laff your ass off, call her a snooty Brit, whatever. But I think she's fabulous.
The Hub went out with the boys, and I decided to finally watch that 'Jancis Robinson's Wine Course' 2-DVD set I'd been sitting on since Netflix sent it to me two weeks ago. I fully expected it to be super cheesy, and to get bored with it, so I put it on my laptop and watched the first episode.

I ended up stopping the DVD, driving to the store, buying goat cheese, crostini, pate and cornichons, a lamb chop, potatoes and onions, and a bottle of Mitolo 'The Jester' Shiraz. I was gonna tuck in and watch this puppy from start to finish.

I was endeared to Jancis the moment she expressed her trepidation about Sauvignon Blanc. I thought, wow! I'm not alone. It's okay to be generally resistant to a particular varietal. I feel

She moves through the world's most famous varietals by the regions from which they popularly hail, bouncing from New Zealand to the Loire Valley, from Cote Rotie to Australia, from Burgundy to Willamette Valley, recording the myriad of methods, attitudes, and pretenses of making wine. She illustrates the conflict between Old World and New World gospels, interviewing everyone from Aldo Coterno to Ernst Loosen to that nutty Australian guy with the porkchop moustache who loves to toss loads of sulfuric acid in every batch. A few of the winemakers from both sides are made to blind taste their competitor's wine with predictable reactions: the Old World producers say "this wine is technically sound, but it has no soul" and the New World producers say "no one likes this style anymore".

I highly recommend this DVD set. Jancis Robinson is charming in all levels of company, the stories of winemakers all over the globe are fascinating, and I promise: if you're anywhere close to being geeked-out on wine, you will have left the experience making plans to abandon your shite-y day job and move to France/Italy/Chile/Napa.

Which brings me to the wine I drank while watching this, and the epiphany I had about style.

2002 Mitolo 'The Jester' Shiraz, McClaren Vale

Ain't nothing wrong with this wine. Mitolo is hands-down, one of the best producers in South Australia. For around $20, this wine delivers lots of elegant shiraz goodness: big, lush fruit, gentile licorice, and well-integrated oak.

Problem: After about a glass, I was totally bored with it.

There was something missing. And I realized what it was, finally: earth. The aromas of terrior. Dirt and air and rocks and rain. It was as though this wine was created in a void, or a laboratory, or something. It tasted like someone had painstakingly controlled every single aspect of the vinification with the goal of making a Perfect Wine.

I started thinking about wines I'd rather be drinking: that Notarpano, or a Chateneuf, or even a nice cheap Spanish wine. Something that tasted like it came out of the damn ground and got rained on, and got picked by grubby old hands.

God help me, I am an Old World Girl.

And a big freakin' GEEK.



Blogger Japan-O-Matic! said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:34 PM  
Blogger Japan-O-Matic! said...

"gentile licorice" you mean, as opposed to jewish licorice?? ;)

1:35 PM  
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