This posting is meant to produce a serious discussion. Please, no trashing Arpy, The Speck or others (meaning, no personal attacks upon the person - only the work product
). And, sorry for the semi-rambling method I present below.
The large thread about 'is a wine worth $500' (or, whatever the intent of that thread), has some intriguing discussions within about the current wave of spoofolation that is going on these days with Bordeaux (not to mention almost all other wine regions around the globe).
So, my question is thus:
Why the dichotomy of great tasting notes given to the first growths (little or no spoofolation going on in my limited understanding) while just as good a set of notes given to other wines that many folks believe are being spoofolated??
I'd really like to better understand all aspects of this situation... what spoofolation is going on, why is it going on, what is prompting the desire to spoofolate? Is the spoofing just a consequence of new winemaking techniques that are being 'invented?' Global warming? Are wineries being pushed by the points givers? Or, are the points givers being duped (knowingly or otherwise)? And besides voting with our dollars by not buying, is there anything we consumers can do to either slow the trend, stop it, or better yet, try to reduce the practice?
[I'm not trying to bring into this discussion the shocking Bordeaux pricing going on these days - if the balance of supply and demand is out of whack, it ought to straighten itself out. Of course, I do understand that pricing is directly related to this subject.]
I believe I'm more in tune with the "less spoofolation the better" crowd. But, due mainly to monetary restrictions, I have little experience tasting new vintages of Bordeaux of any breadth to see this supposed change myself (and, little chance to taste new stuff here in Knoxville without paying a ridiculously high tarrif, as nothing seems to come in to town that isn't extremely pricey compared to most markets where Bordeaux hits the shelves). So, I'm asking these questions.
Of course, spoofolation comes in many methods that have been developed over the years. I'm not studied enough to know of all of them (nor list them), or how much any one method adds (or subtracts) in the resultant wine. What methods are used these days in winemaking, and what effects do they impart? Do some methods start in the vineyard? Or, is it mainly after the grapes are picked?
Getting back to the primary question, is it that the first growths just have such material that they don't have to use a lot of the techniques that other Bordeaux are (supposedly) using?
If you've been a points giver for a reasonable number of years, wouldn't the trend towards using these techniques and the number of 'early drinking' or 'sexy' or 'sumptuous' young Bordeaux that are being bottled give you some reason to pause just a minute?
Or, are these spoofolated wines just so suave and sexy that they seduce the points givers into not investigating what is going on behind the scenes? Are we losing the chance to enjoy some of these wines in 30 years that spoofolation might be cutting short? (hopefully, I've got that many years left in me!) If I were to purchase some of these spoofolated wines (if I were to, I'd be tasting first, instead of blind purchases as I used to be able to do in the past) should I just enjoy them in their youth? Or, am I wrong in believing that a number of these spoofed wines won't age as well as previous Bordeaux that I'm currently cellaring (mainly 89s-90s)?
I know, I know... lots and lots of questions. But, I'm a bit scared. If I get back into the Bordeaux market (Bordeaux remains my vinous "holy grail"), what is there that I can purchase safely that I can sock away for 5, 10, 20 or even maybe 30 years? Or, should I simply continue to look backwards and hope that I can afford a bottle of older Bordeaux for the even-more-occasional 'evening with a great Bordeaux on the table,' and hope that I can find the occasional $20 or $25 non-cru bottle to fill the "I don't want to open my best bottle of Bordeaux, but I want Bordeaux tonight" situation?
(while I have spent a pretty fair amount on bottles of older Bordeaux in the past, my likely future spending practices will limit myself to few of the >$50/bottle Bordeaux, which of course immediately leaves out the top vintages of first growths and those wines now garnering the uber-points)
Thanks for going through all this and I look forward to the discussion,