deVine Thoughts

July 3, 2008

Globalization and/of Wine

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Mel @ 4:44 am

Wine GlobeAuthor: Melissa Priestley

Now, I know this is a topic on which one could write a thesis; entire books are devoted to the subject and a simple blog article cannot hope to do it justice. Therefore, it is not justice I seek – the mere raising of consciousness will suffice for now.

In preparation for my upcoming course at the CIA (Culinary Institute of America, not Central Intelligence Agency, though I’m certainly going to pretend to be a spy), I’ve been feverishly studying everything wine-related. While reading about Bordeaux, I was struck by the almost glib observation that the stylistic differences between many appellations are dissolving, due in large part to modern technology and current trends. For example, the wines of St. Estèphe, once immediately discernable for their sturdy, bold profile, are now often confused with other Médoc wines that have adopted this big and bold style – a style that is currently enjoying international popularity.

Of course, the differences between all Bordeaux appellations have not become moot – the left bank remains markedly different from the right, and experienced tasters can usually differentiate between the various Médoc appellations. The test of time also brings out subtle, secondary characteristics that were hidden underneath youthful tannins; one could even argue that attempting to discern the differences between appellations in very young Bordeaux is a lesson in futility (not to mention an act of masochism on one’s tastebuds).

Yet it is still common to confuse these supposedly very different regions, and I find it hard to believe that wine isn’t influenced by global fads as much as any other luxury product, be it perfume or sports cars. The phenomenon of “Parkerization” certainly needs consideration, and likely has more to do with the blurring of Bordeaux than many would care to admit. For those unfamiliar with the term, Parkerization refers to the all-too-common winemaking practice of producing a wine that matches Robert Parker’s favoured style of high-octane, super-concentrated fruit bombs – all in the name of getting a high rating from this hallowed critic (and presumably getting filthy rich because of it).

Perhaps this is all glaringly obvious to even the casual observer; if so I apologize for these redundant ruminations. However, this discussion begs the question of what the globalization of wine’s ultimate consequences will be. Are we headed towards wine hegemony, in which the style of millions of wines will be dictated by the characteristics of a sacred few? Are we already there? Modern winemaking practices ensure that the style du jour is easily attainable, and while many producers will ignore trends and continue to produce their own unique version of fermented grape juice, many more will use technology to jump on the latest bandwagon.

Globalization has given millions of people the opportunity to try wines that were previously unheard of outside their native region. But everything comes with a price, and I feel as though the full impact of a global wine community has yet to be wholly realized.


  1. Mel, this is a great piece of writing. Thanks from all your fans!!

    Here is a TN on that great Rose from Pic Ste-Loup…..>

    TN: `06 Chateau de Lancyre Rose, Pic Ste-Loup.

    40% Syrah, 60% Grenache. Synthetic cork, 13.5% alc, close to $20 Cdn.
    Opened for an hour, left half bottle for evolvement overnight.

    Color. Medium rose, watery rim.

    Nose. Strawberry sauce on waffles, hint of mineral/gravel. Quite appealing I`d say.

    Palate. Initial entry thoughts are not too dry, not too sweet! Good acidity, cherry and strawberry dominate. I like the grenache spice here, mineral influence on finish. Here is some raspberry as it warms and has an almost creamy feel about it. I like this very much, will buy more. Thanks to Bob H for the heads-up!! Now if I can find that white eh?

    ***this note originally posted on a wine/food forum.

    Comment by Bob Parsons — July 7, 2008 @ 9:13 am

  2. Thanks Bob – glad you enjoyed it.
    Haven’t tried that rose yet, but hopefully soon – ’tis the season for the pinks!
    I just had the 2007 Mas Donis Rosat from Capcanes, it was quite good as well. Very dark and concentrated, almost sweet but good acidity. The colour was quite amazing, an inky purplish-pink.

    Comment by Mel — July 7, 2008 @ 3:21 pm

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