«Mondovino» and the world of wine

The movie « Mondovino » shows the World. The world of wine for one, but the global world too. Somewhat clear-cut in its form, the movie pits one world against another: on one hand, a world of expression and creation, the terroir, the preserving of traditions that are nonetheless alive, the passing on of values such as respect for people and communities, good work, wine as a creation and work of art. On the other hand, a standardized world of taste, techniques, interventions and consulting (micro-oxygenation for all!), a world in the hands of experts and medias who, through the power they yield, intend to rule over differing opinions and prioritize them. Michel Rolland, Robert Parker or Wine Spectator spin a merciless web to align, classify, recognize and assess products. What winegrower, according to the movie, would not sacrifice everything to be “Parkerised”, “Rollandised” or “Spectatorised”?
In our opinion, the movie is somewhat too gentle. Jonathan Nossiter is a charming character. He goes along with the people he interviews. He passes no judgment. He brings ideas together, offers suggestions, nothing more. Jonathan most certainly thinks that by exposing or unraveling the contradictions of interests or standpoints, one might find a solution to them. Nothing seems more unlikely and History is already banging on Jonathan’s door. It is said that the Bourguignons do not look with a keen eye to his presence on their land, that Wine Spectator intend to … etc. Trouble ? No, just a strong response against one man and his movie suggesting it might be possible to offer some form of resistance to those who intend to normalize our tastes.
A soft-spoken, mildly critical statement never did a lot of good. It only generates problems for its author. Jonathan Nossiter could – should – have radicalized his position, showed the devastating effects for the French and European viticulture if we were to follow Michel Rolland’s principles on globalization. He could have outlined the counterproductive aspects of Michel Rolland’s interventions, show the marketing repercussions of the RPWS – Rolland, Parker and Wine Spectator – interventions. Those are but slightly sketched in his movie and some of us think that, on an audience unfamiliar with the world of wine and its power plays, such a weak criticism could even lead to utterly false conclusions where Rolland, Parker and some others end up as acceptable, even respectable characters.
But there is more to it. Jonathan Nossiter does not say a single word about “natural” wines and those who make them. The only person to speak for the organic wines or specifically, biodynamics, is not presented for what she does but for her love of wine stock. So much for us and for Nossiter who, going further down this road, would have found a stronger base for his criticism of standardized winemakers, those who aim to produce a wine as stable as a soda can be, with a well-mastered range of tastes, air-tight corks and nicely positioned labels.
Dear Jonathan Nossiter, we have to go further, with or without you. Whatever happens next, we still owe you many thanks. Through Mondovino, you have just opened the first breach in the wall and paved the way for the battle that the real, the natural wines will lead against those who try to normalize the tastes on a global scale, and destroy at the same time the ‘terroirs’ and the traditions.

Posted 10 December 05, early afternoon by olivier

Section: english | Category: Domaines | Chateau Lagarette


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