Cooking, wine making

In such a noble art as cooking, no one would even think of giving “stars” to the owner of a restaurant who had the intelligence to hire a remarkable chef! In cooking, the owner does not count, only the cook. In wine making, it seems to go the other way round. The owner and his estate appear to be more valued (or, are they?) than the skills of the “maître de chai”: fame goes to the estate, the “terroir”, and their owners.

Considering the critical role of the man (or the woman) who guides, plans and negotiates the process of wine making, this does sound unfair. Two widely accepted ideas might explain such a prejudice.
The soil makes the wine. According to this one idea, nature ranks first, the people of the “terroir” second: first come the soil, the underground, the seasons, the wine stocks… then, the work of man. Anyway, a Médoc will always be a Médoc, people, stock, and skill notwithstanding, don’t you think so? I know I am a little excessive. Not much, though… enough so that the notion comes clear, so you see how widespread it is.
Science is quality. There comes the second idea: winemaking is a enologist’s trade; science makes wine! Forget about the old ways, the human touch, the sensitivity to earth, soil, and weather! And to hear, in the mix of commonplace discussions that “with all the scientific minded men and women the winegrower is surrounded with, one really has to try hard to produce a bad wine.” Ease your mind, wine growers: the omniscient eno-chemist can eventually correct your mistakes and bring remedy to the whims of nature. But what about “signature-wines”, what about creation, what about the companionship with growing things and elements? Trifle, nonsense, banter for fools and rookie newspapermen!

From these two simple notions, hackneyed everyday by thousands of people who do not know any better, ‘owner-wines’ sweep the stakes, the awards and the stars, demeaning the ‘estate-wines’. Let us not forget, even less deny, those who create.

We must find, appreciate and, why not, reinvent the “signature wines” and put back in their place the “owner-wines” and the lectures of those who sustain them.

Posted 10 December 05, early afternoon by olivier

Section: english | Category: Domaines | Chateau Lagarette

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