by Dave Williams
Some food for thought about wine. I have just finished reading Alice Feiring’s recent book, “The Dirty Guide to Wine”. Her earlier book, “The Battle for Wine and Love -or- How I Saved the World from Parkerization”, indicates her perspective. In that, Alice railed against how many wineries attempted to make wines that pleased the big, bold flavor preference of Robert Parker rather than make wines that truly reflect their identity and traditions. She felt that in doing so, they violated their authenticity. Usually these changes required manipulations that masked or ignored the terroir and traditions that created and established the wine.
Today we see a trend towards sustainable, natural, organic and biodynamic techniques, which is somewhat of a response to the many manipulations of earlier decades. She also frets over the many chemicals and processes used in the vineyard and winery to execute the manipulations. In her recent book she looks at wine through the soil, thus the title, “The Dirty Guide to Wine”. She identifies soil types and themes that run through good-great wine and explains why she, and many others, think soil along with climate and wine making process are keys to understanding what composes great wine. She makes a strong case for following the soil to great wine but also credits the wine makers that respect the soil to produce a natural and authentic expression of terroir without chemical manipulations. Variation from year to year and location to location are essential to great wine. A good read worthy of contemplation.