Thursday, March 10, 2011

What Makes a Fine Wine?

Insightful column from Andrew Jeffords this week at Decanter.

Ever wondered what the distinction is between a fine wine and a…well...not-so-fine wine? It's more than just the price. 

Let’s hear from Mr Jeffords:
Fine wines attempt to make the best wine possible, but resist the temptation to hide nature’s imperfections. Letting all those variables come through is what makes a vintage interesting and intriguing.
The attraction of not-so-fine wines is their consistency. The same thing attracts people to McDonalds. No surprises.
Some drinkers, indeed, seek out ‘lesser years’ as a refuge from modish ripeness. The underlying assumption, though, must be that the wine will be a truthful account of the vintage.

Don’t strive to correct nature; select from it instead, so as to deliver the most limpid and resonant account of the year that you can. Otherwise … what’s the point?
Fine wines are usually a snapshot of place, too, as well as being an interpretation of a Varietal (or blended) ideal. They’re also a drinkable weather report: the summary of a season. But to what extent?
In great vintages, of course, you take what nature has given you, and say a private word of thanks when no one’s looking. What, though, do you do when nature has teased and tortured you? Do you allow the excesses and deficiencies of a season to be apparent in the wine, or do you attempt to remedy nature in some way?

Bravo! I couldn’t agree more.

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