I have several problems/issues with this last set of statements. Let me explain or simply pose some questions.
One of the things that makes wine interesting is its diversity, and the way that this diversity has the ability to reflect a sense of place.
The subtle message behind this statement seems to imply that wine is permitted to have one and only one sense of place, i.e. the place where the grapes were harvested. Does this mean the winemaker in Walla Walla is somehow being dishonest by trying to make a wine reflecting the style of Bordeaux? Of course not.
Once you've been won over by the diversity and interest of wine, then it's a little upsetting to see wines that taste tricked-up and manipulated ...
To some extent, I agree with this statement. It really annoys me a lot to see winemakers produce Chardonnay that smells and tastes like acorn ale. However, it has only been recently that people have really been complaining about this practice. Of course, some wine drinkers really like their Chardonnay this way. What will they do when this practice falls totally out of favor? I can just see them knocking on the doors of dark speakeasy wineries, then skulking away with a bottle of their horrid beverage tucked inside a trench coat. Of course, this is not the intended point of the above statement, but it is an example of how even seemingly innocent propositions can get warped to outrageous extremes. Does anyone remember Prohibition, for example?
It seems dishonest at a fundamental level, and the association between place and wine is lost where wines are souped up to try to make them taste like more expensive wines from better sites.
Hmmm, so where is it OK to draw the line? If a vintage is going to be really dreadful, because of weather conditions, how do we judge the creative winemaker, who is able to manipulate the resulting wine into something really good? I'll bet everyone would speak highly of him or her, but this statement implies this person is fundamentally dishonest. Sorry, but you really can't have it both ways.
But then there's another level to the whole debate: technology can be harnessed to make wines taste more like 'they should'; to make them truer to their terroir.
But wait, according to this statement, we can have it both ways, as long as the end product is terrroir true. So, it seems this winding philosophical path leads us to the conclusion that only wines that are true to their terroir ("whatever that is ...
") are good, and by implication, the rest is not. Rubbish, I say. If I cannot afford to pay $50K for a piece of original art, I may get a great deal of satisfaction out of paying $500 for a good reproduction; technology and talent makes that doable. What is wrong with a winemaker trying to do the same thing? Nothing, as long as fraudulent labeling is not involved.
I say let's just live with the reality that winemakers have a significant number of technological tools with which to craft their product. There is no need to toss in philosophical value judgements about fundamental dishonesty. If you don't like the products, don't buy them ... period.