Wine Blog Daily Friday 4/13/18

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marijuanaA daily sample of thoughtful writing and discussion from (mostly) independent wine blogs:

Tom Wark provides more reasons to think marijuana sales will impact wine sales.

He also charges natural wine proponents with hypocrisy for advocating strict labeling requirements for conventional wines.

Jamie Goode has more on the controversy over Australia’s use of the word “Prosecco” on their labels.

The Wine Curmudgeon does not expect a new law ending the state liquor store monopoly in Texas will have much effect on wine selection.

Levi Dalton interviews Lee Hudson,  owner of Hudson Ranch and Vineyards, in Carneros.

Susannah Gold has 10 tips for visiting Vinitaly, the Italian wine trade show that opens this week.

The Wine-to-Five podcast this week includes an interview with Eric V. Orange, creator of localwineevents.com.

The Wine Daily reports that 50 Cent is launching his own brand of luxury Champagne.

The Drunken Cyclist visits with the Champagne producer Bruno Paillard while reminiscing about high school French class.

Selected Reviews:

Strong Coffee to Red Wine reviews the 2014 Smith-Madrone Cabernet Sauvignon.

Jameson Fink reviews three Pét-Nat wines, two from Italy and one from Vermont.

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Budget Wine Review: Villa Antinori IGT Toscana 2014

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villa antinoriThis wine exemplifies what I love about Italian wine. Not that it’s a great wine but that it’s charms are distinctively Italian—beautiful aromatics with an earthy, austere, bittersweet quality on the palate that exudes a tough, resilient spirit.

It isn’t surprising that Antinori’s wines are representative. Antinori is the 10th oldest family owned business in the world tracing its lineage and winemaking back to 1385. They were at the forefront of the Super Tuscan wine revolution with their Tignorello and Solaia brands, and are one of the largest producers in Italy. A winery steeped in tradition confident in who they are doesn’t have to concede to the contemporary fondness for plush and smooth.

This is one of their entry level red wines.

Effusive aromas of ripe, red berry, dusty earth, hazelnut and licorice darkened by a bit of cedar reveal a strong personality–for the price a spectacular nose. On the palate there is some concentration up front but the wine quickly flattens out and lacks depth, feeling angular, as if dismissing any need for seduction. Strong acidity and some grain on the tannins makes for a mouthwatering, rustic, sour cherry-inflected finish.

Acerbic and gritty but expressive like one of Dylan’s rants.

Score: 87

Price: $18 average but $14 at Costco.

Alc: 13%

Tech Notes: The blend is mostly Sangiovese with a bit of Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah. Aged 12 Months in oak casks.

Wine Blog Daily Thursday 4/12/18

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A daily sample of thoughtful writing and discussion from (mostly) independent wine blogs:

portland_valley_wineriesW. Blake Gray argues that some California growers are beginning to plant varietals best suited to hot weather.

Jamie Goode reports on the controversy over Australians using the name Prosecco.

Hawk Wakawaka assesses the 2017 vintage in Willamette Valley.

Bob On Sonoma reports on tasting fees in Napa and Sonoma and identifies a few wineries that still offer free tastings.

Tamara Belgard explains the use of carbonic maceration in many Willamette Valley wines.

The Wine Daily surveys 10 unique Air BnB experiences for wine lovers.

Austin Beeman has posted part 3 of his interview with Mac McDonald of Vision Cellars in Sonoma.

Sussanah Gold’s indigenous italian varietal for this week is Piemonte’s Nascetta Bianco.

Michelle Williams interviews Markus Niggli of Markus Wine Company in Lodi.

The Wine Dr. reports from the halfway point, tasting through the barrel samples at Bordeaux’s Reprimandeur week.

 

Selected Reviews:

Fredric Koeppel is enthusiastic about pairing pizza with this Rhone-style blend from Barossa Valley, the Hewitson Miss Harry “Harriet’s Blend” 2015.

The Wine Curmudgeon’s wine of the week is the Little James Basket Press white, offering value and terroir for $10.

1 Wine Dude profiles Azienda Agraria Perticaia, producers of Montefalco Sagrantino

Susannah Gold reviews the  Disznókō Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos, a luscious Hungarian dessert wine.

Jameson Fink reviews the very affordable Cave des Vignerons de Saumur Red and Rosé Cabernet Franc.

Vino-Sphere reviews the Dry Creek Vineyard 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Creek Valley, a new generation of Sauvignon Blanc.

Cindy Rynning reviews several wines from Mt. Beautiful Winery in North Canterbury, New Zealand.

The Drunken Cyclist reviews several wines from Fields Family Winery in Lodi.

The Creative Kitchen: Transforming Guacamole

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maque-guac

Maque Guac

In my personal pantheon of food gods, avocado is of the highest rank. I can’t think of another ingredient that melds grassy, floral flavors with a mouthfeel that is rich and creamy yet manages to be weightless and airy.

Guacamole is the supreme manifestation of all these qualities, the avocado’s most noble expression. The jalapeno and cilantro punch up the grassiness,  and the tomato brings out floral and fruit notes of the avocado.

But I eat so damn much of the stuff, to add some variety, I started thinking about modifications to the classic recipe, which for me has always been Diana Kennedy’s.

My first thought was to take the recipe in a more floral direction, de-emphasizing the grassy flavors. So I replaced the cilantro with basil, which of course resonates nicely with the tomato. That was good for a change but lacked intensity. What else complements avocado, basil and jalapeno pepper?

Corn and avocado are a natural combination. I immediately thought of one of the treasures of Louisiana cooking—maque choux. This is a traditional, creole side dish made by sautéing corn, peppers, celery and cayenne. The corn is milked by removing the kernels from the cob and then scraping the cob with the back of a knife producing a milk that gives the dish a silky texture. The version I’ve always adored added cream and basil.

A mash up of Creole and Mexican was intriguing.

I fooled around with using corn milk in the guacamole and adding a bit of raw corn but in the end the best flavor boost came from briefly cooking the kernels and then blending them into a portion of the avocado. The combination of sweet corn, avocado and basil was exactly what I was looking for—a creamy textured guacamole highlighting the fruit and floral aspects of the avocado, with corn adding a subtle, sweet background note. Leaving out the cilantro however subtracted a hint of bitterness from the dish making it a bit one dimensional. That was corrected by adding lime zest. (lime juice added less pleasant sour notes.)

As for pairing, if you must have wine Sauvignon Blanc is probably the best choice, and of course a good lager works fine. But with guacamole, even when altered by corn, there is nothing like a simple, classic margarita made with just blanco, lime and Cointreau.

Here is the recipe:

Maque Guac

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:

2 large Hass Avocados

8 tablespoons diced onion, divided use

15 basil leaves, divided use

2 large jalapenos, diced divided use

Kernals from 1 ear of corn, divided use

zest of 2 limes

1 large or 2 small tomatoes, diced

Salt to taste

Directions:

1. Cut kernels from corn and boil briefly until they lose their raw flavor.

2. Scoop out avocado flesh placing 1/4 of the avocado in a food processor (or bowl of an immersion blender) and reserve the rest.

3. Add 1/2 of the corn to the processor along with 4 tablespoons of onion, 10 basil leaves, 1/2 the jalapeno and process until smooth

4. In a bowl, combine the avocado/corn mixture and the reserved avocado and mash with a fork to the consistency you prefer.

5. Add lime zest to taste and mix to incorporate

6. Tear the remaining basil into small pieces

6. Add the remaining diced onion, diced jalapeno, diced tomatoes, basil and corn kernels according to your preference.

7. Salt to taste and serve with corn chips for dipping.

Wine Blog Daily Wednesday 4/11/18

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A daily sample of thoughtful writing and discussion from (mostly) independent wine blogs:

brunelloCelia Drinks ponders the difficulty of describing aromas and wonders if a dedicated linguist might give us a richer vocabulary.

The Wine Curmudgeon covers the sale of Acrobat to Foley Family, wine for the royal wedding, and irrigation robots.

Mike Veseth, the Wine Economist, explains the success of Cooper’s Hawk Winery, one of the larger wineries in the U.S and located in Illinois.

Tom Hyland uncovers the stars but also some of the problems with the 2013 vintage in Brunello.

 

Selected Reviews:

John Fodera reviews the recently released 2011 Rocche dei Manzoni Barbera d’Alba “La Cresta”

Claudio Angelillo reviews the Bodegas Mocén Añ Espumoso Brut Nature, a sparkling Verdejo from the Rueda region.

Dave Nershi profiles Windsor Run Cellars, a winery in North Carolina’s Swan Creek AVA.

Jamie Goode reviews four German Rieslings of note.

The Study on Emotion and Wine Revisited

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emotional wineLast month I discussed a report of a new study  that showed  correlations between wine and emotions. At the time I didn’t have access to the complete study, and was relying on a helpful synopsis by Becca Yeomans. I have since been able to view the original study, which is not yet available on line. The study is fascinating because it shows that we respond emotionally to wines which potentially opens a whole new arena for wine appreciation. Yet there are some very odd results that are hard to explain as I noted in my earlier post. Now that I’ve had a chance to read the study, I wanted to revisit the conclusions to be drawn from it, although it turns out that the puzzling results remain puzzling.

The study, conducted by the School of Agricultural, Food and Biosystems Engineering at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid in Spain, consisted of a sensory evaluation of several wines by a trained panel in order to identify the organoleptic properties of the wine and a  consumer evaluation of the same wines accompanied by an emotion response analysis. The wines evaluated were a Verdejo, Chardonnay, a rosé made from Garnacha, two Rioja Reserva level wines, one from 2012, the other 2013, and a Ribero del Duero Reserva from 2012.

The consumer panel consisted of 208 students of various ages, and roughly equal cohorts of men and women, whose only qualification was that they consumed wine at least once a month. After a warm-up flight, they were given wines in a random order to be judged according to how much they liked the wine and then were given a list of 26 emotion words from which to choose the emotions elicited by the wine.

Here is a summary of the results

  • 22 of the 26 emotion terms showed a significant correlation with the wines.
  • “good”, “happy”, “joyful”, “mild”, and “pleasant” were associated with fruity and floral aromas
  • aromas/flavors of vanilla, clove, and licorice were associated with “aggressive” and “guilty”.
  • Astringency, the drying sensations caused by tannin, was associated with “aggressive”.
  • Subjects grouped wines differently based on sensory analysis vs. the emotion analysis.
  • Men and older adults scored the emotion words higher than women or younger adults but women were more discriminating regarded the emotions elicited.
  • Young adults scored the two white wines and the rosé higher for the emotions “good”, “happy”, and “pleasant”; the 2013 Rioja Tempranillo scored lowest on these emotions for this cohort.
  • Older adults identified “mild” as the distinguish characteristic between the white wines, rose and the 2013 Tempranillo.
  • Negative terms such as “guilty” or “worried” were more prominent for younger adults.

The gender and age differences are interesting but I have no idea how to explain the results so I will ignore them.

I have no training in reading statistical analyses so I’m not sure I have a sophisticated understanding of the paper. But here is what I find puzzling.

If I’m reading the charts correctly, liking a wine was positively correlated with the positive emotions. But the negative emotion terms such as “aggressive” or “guilty”  were associated with aromas of vanilla, clove, and licorice, and with astringency. These are all descriptors associated with big, red wines such as at least some Tempranillo. The positive emotions were associated with white wines.

But surely we can’t conclude from this that tannic, red wines with vanilla and clove notes are unpopular because they evoke negative emotions. I looked up data for wine sales in Spain and they show a decided preference for red wine especially Tempranillo which is the signature grape of Spain.

The consumers were asked to assess their degree of liking a wine before identifying the emotions so these results can’t be easily explained by the emotion biasing the judgment about the wine’s likeability. The only explanation I can come up with is that consumers outside the laboratory don’t make the connection between likeability and emotion. Only in the laboratory when the test subjects know they’re expected to make the connection is the association salient thus leading the subjects to have an experience unlike that of ordinary consumers.

But there is one more hypothesis that is worth mentioning. The authors of the study state,“If a wine conjures up negative emotions for an individual, that person is probably not going to buy that bottle of wine in the future.” Whatever the relationship is between wine and emotion, I doubt that wines “conjure up” emotions. As I have argued elsewhere the association between wine and emotion is typically metaphorical. We associate astringent wines with aggressive emotions but they don’t make us feel angry or afraid. It’s an association, not a direct causal relationship between the wine and an emotion. “Conjuring up” may be the wrong way to describe this relationship. Similarly, a piece of music may express anger or fear, but we don’t feel angry or afraid when listening, and it’s that expression that we find enjoyable despite the fact the emotion may be classified as “negative”.

If in conducting the test, the experimenters were encouraging  the study participants to think of wines as causing emotions rather than metaphorically expressing them, their experience of the wines might be quite atypical. A wine that causes one to feel aggressive or guilty might indeed be unpleasant; a wine that expresses aggression or guilt might be interesting.

I have no idea how much plausibility to assign either of these explanations.

On the surface, the study seems well done and the results are certainly interesting. But the fact that the results of the study seem to contradict what we know about wine preferences means that much more work will have to be done to tease out the factors that explain this relationship between emotion and wine.

Wine Blog Daily Tuesday 4/10/18

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A daily sample of thoughtful writing and discussion from (mostly) independent wine blogs:

fog in vinyardA federal judge in Texas has struck down Texas laws preventing out of state corporate entities from selling spirits.

Jeremy Parzen updates his Italian-English wine glossary.

Vino-Sphere finds a wine pairing for ratatouille, and it of course is from the South of France.

Tom Wark compares the rhetoric of proponents of Measure C in Napa to the rhetoric of Donald Trump.

Jamie Goode has an informative and thoughtful post on wine judges at competitions and what it takes to be a good one.

The Wine Curmudgeon takes a dim view of the guzzle buddy, a glass that screws into the bottle so you can guzzle the wine.

Selected Reviews:

Quentin Sadler’s affordable wine of the week is the Vinya Carles Crianza Bodegas Reserva de la Tierra Priorat Catalunya Spain.

Sarah Ahmed reviews several wines from Quinta da Costa do Pinhão, “elegant and “ delicate” wines from the Douro.

Wine Review: Berthoud Vineyards and Winery Syrah Sonoma Valley 2007

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berthoudI have great respect for wineries that hold back release dates until the wine is ready and that pour aged wines in their tasting rooms. It’s not economical to do this; it usually shows an over-riding commitment to quality. Last year when I wandered into the tasting room at Mayo Family Winery in Sonoma, they were pouring wines from their winemaker, Mike Berthoud’s, own boutique operation. While I enjoyed Mayo Family’s wines I was knocked out by the Berthoud offerings including this Syrah. They produce only 74 cases of this

The word “ecstasy” often means joyful excitement but there is an older use of the term more directly related to its origins in the Greek word “ekstasis” which means to stand outside oneself in a trancelike state. This wine is quiet ecstasy, tender but uplifting, too spirited to be serene yet perfectly composed as if nothing could disturb it.

Aromas of blueberry, cumin, dusty earth, old books, and especially crushed rock meld together in tight formation. The palate is fresh and vibrant with a red berry component, yet all rough edges have been ground away leaving a ravishing elegance. The lush opening survives as a cashmere-like softness in the tannins that persists as a seam of minerality slowly takes flight, pushed by glowing acidity that never bites becoming pointed and high toned on the finish. That minerality becomes the wines’ leitmotif—as if a rock could caress.

The relatively low alcohol, and vibrant acidity make the case that wines of restraint and balance age best. This is lovely old world winemaking in the new world.

Pairs with music that has a lyrical sensuality, quietly joyful, such as Ravel’s Sonatine rendered here by Kun-Woo Paik.

Score: 93

Price: $45 (Purchase Here)

Alc: 13.8%

Wine Blog Daily Monday 4/9/18

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A daily sample of thoughtful writing and discussion from (mostly) independent wine blogs:

pexels-photo-360013The Wine Gourd looks at the numbers behind the rise and fall and rise of Australian wine.

James Lawrence reports on the continued popularity of sweeter style wines.

The Wine Curmudgeon identifies three quality, cheap wines that consumers can’t buy because of three-tier.

Craig Camp of Troon Vineyards keeps us up to date on their conversion to bio-dynamics.

James the Wine Guy surveys the top 50 under-recognized wine regions in the world.

Cyndi Rynning reviews the recently released film Back to Burgundy.

Dallas Wine Chick documents her return visit to Santa Barbara.

Alfonso Cevola, On the Wine Trail in italy, is looking forward to Vinitaly, Italy’s massive trade show which is just around the corner.

Allison Levine celebrates Earth Month by celebrating the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance.

Threads and Vino begins her winemaking bootcamp with some South African Pinotage grapes.

The Swirling Dervish and Food Wine Click both find food and wine pairing magic with Verdicchio.

Selected Reviews:

Meg Houston Maker reviews Brooks Sparkling Riesling from Willamette Valley.

Jamie Goode reviews the Raventós i Blanc Textures de Pedra Blanc de Negres 2013, a Cava with atypical labeling.

Jamie Goode also gets an advanced look at the soon to be released, La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 890 Selección Especial 2005 , a benchmark Rioja.

Fredric Koeppel reviews the Cenyth Wines Rosé of Cabernet Franc 2017, Sonoma County.

JVB Uncorked reviews a Bourboulenc and a Clairette Blanche from Acquiesce Winery in Lodi.

Matthew Gaughan reviews La Barroche “Liberty” Vin de France 2015 and explains how changes in French appellation laws have given winemakers more flexibility.

Julien Miguel reviews the widely available Casillero del Diablo Chardonnay 2016 from Chile.

Red Wine Please reviews Domaine Bousquet’s lineup of sparking wine from Argentina.

Terroir and the One True Way to Make Wine

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clos de vougeotMaster of Wine John Atkinson has one of the most insightful discussions of terroir I’ve read in a long while. And that is not only because he manages to reference Thomas Kuhn, Friedrich Nietzche, and Gilles Deleuze, all philosophers who have been important to me at various times in my career.

As Atkinson points out, the different regions of the wine world employ quite different production methods most of which have long histories. Making wine in Bordeaux is much different from making wine in Jerez and has been for centuries. That fact, then, launches his probe:

So my opening question is, how does a bunch of grapes suggest this process? Does Palomino – or, for that matter, the Andalusian landscape –  suggest a solera? Is there something specific to Touriga Nacional that suggests foot-treading and arrested fermentation?

In other words, someone had to decide to employ the distinctive techniques exhibited in each region. You can’t separate winemaking from culture, a point which doesn’t sit well with the reigning ideology that wine should express terroir, the geography and geology of the vineyard, not the decisions of winemakers.

Atkinson’s main point of reference is Burgundy, which he calls the “poster-boy” for the notion that “wine makes itself”.  But this celebration of passivity in the face of nature is also something that has a history, one he traces to the medieval world in Burgundy (and much of Europe) where God’s creation ruled every moment of one’s life.

God’s omnipotence was invoked at every opportunity. Curiosity was a sin, measurement discouraged, and interest couldn’t be levied on loans, as it was a charge on time, and time was only God’s to give. France, like the rest of Europe, was becalmed for centuries.

In a world that was so completely given and ordained, opportunities for human expression were limited, or when they did occur, weren’t recognized as such.

We are just spectators of God’s creation. The vignerons had little to do with the final product; it was all God’s work.

Contrary to popular perception, that legacy of passivity was not entirely swept away by the Enlightenment; it became secularized in the form of a recognition of human weakness and limitation-a form of asceticism as Nietzche pointed out. What was left over, as the dominance of Christianity eroded in the modern world, were the systems of power and hierarchies perpetuated by the social and economic system. In the wine trade:

…there’s all the history, the habituation to vocabularies, ways of doing and thinking, tight communities of sensing, rootstocks, clones, barrels and, of course, regulations. Control and power is dispersed over different agencies and through different actors. Terroir, we might argue, is institutionalized, but not theorized…

Terroir becomes what Deleuze calls a code, a system of imperatives kept in place by people who benefit from it.

Viticulture and enology only appear as the enemy if they’re threatening to undermine a hierarchy from which you profit. Irrigation would certainly improve the fortunes of most of Burgundy’s vineyards, just as it would benefit plantings of similarly anisohydric merlot in Bordeaux, but in so doing it would smooth out some of the differences between crus.

Atkinson reports on several tasting contexts in which what appeared to be environmentally-influenced properties of the wines they were tasting turned out to be a product of  culturally-induced, “nomadic”, expertise. The demand that differences be attributable to geography rather than expertise distorts our ability to understand wine regions:

When divergent styles emerge from the same origin – two phenotypes sharing the same genotype, to use our analogy, we feel pressured into a choice. If we want to hold onto the immanence, exchangeability and proximity of the Environment ⇌ Sensation relation absolutely, we have to nominate one wine as the phenotype and the other as an imposter, or, in the Australian example, as ersatz Burgundy.

His example is Aussie Chardonnay, rich and buttery in the 1990’s, leaner and more “Burgundian” today:

Faced with making a decision between the two opposing wine styles, our Master of Wine deferred to his belief (as we did when setting the exam) that the richer, less-reductive style of Australian Chardonnay is more authentic rendition of its environment – because he believes the actions and decisions of the winemakers are compelled by their surroundings. In other words, today’s winemakers should be coerced by the environment just as the Cistercians, in their time, erroneously believed they were coerced by God

Medieval passivity is restored.

At this point, Atkinson seems to come down on the side of terroir as a prophylactic marketing device:

Other people will have their own theories about this, but I suspect that what we’re seeing is a reaction to the war of words between the New World – conspicuously, Australia – and France in the 1990s. With its market share under threat, France claimed terroir was a point of difference setting it apart from, and above, the New world’s offering. Australia retaliated, and claimed terroir was just marketing. The whole debacle brought terroir to the consciousness of consumers and producers, but given the looseness of the definition – its lack of rigour – soon everybody was claiming it.

He goes through several current definitions of terroir pointing out that, if all one has to do to exhibit terroir is plant vines, then everyone has terroir and the concept is too vacuous to be meaningful. The opposing alternative is to suggest only some very special locations can exhibit terroir, a view which he he also rejects:

…not only are we being told what the model of terroir should be, we’re also being told what wine ought to be. The past has done its job with Burgundy, now we just need to correct the errant ways of fallen appellations.

He champions the idea that human beings, soil and environment all play a role in the finished product with the specific contribution differing by region, subregion and ultimately the producer:

I think we underestimate the isolation of wine regions historically, even within the same country. Champagne, Jerez, and Bordeaux just went about things in different ways, they formed distinct networks of production; there’s no sense in which they expediently departed the true path to authenticity and purity taken by the Côte de Nuits’ vignerons.

In other words, even an appeal to tradition will not reveal a single, authentic way of making wine. As for Burgundy:

Burgundy’s inordinately long two thousand-year timeline helped capture some of these differences empirically and structurally. Walls surrounded Chambertin as early as the 7thCentury, and the sustained patronage of dukes, princes and the church provided the region with the stability and resources to flourish. What was bad for peasants was good for wine. There was no opportunity cost attached to centuries spent comparing climats.

Geology and geography matters but even for regions steeped in tradition, the effects of nature are passed through human cultures where they are shaped by contingent, historical factors.Shared and rudimentary vinicultural methods and techniques brought consistency and aesthetic visibility to, what was, God’s creation. For two millennia the effects of geology trickled down through Burgundy’s human strata, recurring tropes and intensities augmenting the vineyards in which they worked.

Referencing the famed Clos Vougeot vineyard he writes:

Clos Vougeot is notoriously divergent…the territory could be sub-divided in alternative ways to yield different but equally interesting variations on a Burgundian theme. Difference precedes identity, if you like.

Accidents of who owned what, the size of the plots and the locations in which walls were built determined the Burgundian system of climates (vineyard plots)—not some magical features of the soil. Only in recent decades when “the rewards for selling in small volumes began to exceed those derived from selling to negociants” , did growers begin to emphasize the distinctiveness of their vineyards. The current fascination with terroir has its origin in the move toward Domaine bottling, a relatively recent phenomenon.

If I read him correctly, Atkinson is not denying the existence of terroir. Everyone knows geography and geology matters. What he denies is that terroir is the whole story. Culture matters.

Coche and Lafon both see themselves as revealing the phenotype of Meursault Genevrières, though the two wines are very different, the expression of house style trumping vineyard designation as a source of similarities and differences. To stretch the genetic analogy, what we have now, with the generation of new possibilities and mutations, looks far more like a form of sexual reproduction that cloning.

The reference in this quote to sexual reproduction is important. Sexual reproduction is imperfect; it creates mutations that send species in new directions. Those differences that subtle variations in winemaking and viticultural techniques introduce are continually redefining regional identities. Whatever terroir is, it’s a moving target as winemakers come up with innovative ways to solve problems and to differentiate their product. It’s the intersection of nature’s creativity and human creativity that creates the differentiations that wine lovers seek, not some essential properties buried in the soil. We should seek difference wherever we can find it.

Atkinson closes, however, on a rather un-Deleuzian note.

Identifying a phenomenon that is ‘Chambertin’ has arguably become harder in recent years as domaine have become more autonomous. Notwithstanding this, those making and those of us tasting Chambertin will continue our vane pursuit of its essence. Phenomena may elude us, but essence will continue to exert a siren force over us.

It seems the search for “the one true way”, another part of our Christian heritage, just won’t be put to rest. That would be a tragedy extending far beyond the world of wine.