WT101: Merlot - Was Miles right?

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Re: WT101: Merlot - Was Miles right?

Postby Dave Erickson » Wed Jun 21, 2006 11:17 am

You asked for a note, here's a note:

Barnard & Griffin Coumbia Valley Merlot 2004: On the nose, spicy vanilla, french toast (or as Parker would say, pain grille :D ), hazelnut, plummy note; on the palate, the fruit comes through, rich and dark, with some sweet oak spice notes. Medium-dry finish. A nice enough bottle, but really, this wine is more about barrel-making than about grape-growing.

I think "the next Stravinsky" is already here, it's syrah/shiraz, which seems to be growable everywhere, and can be made in styles ranging from children's tunes (Yelllowtail) to symphonies (Hermitage) with many stops in between.

Regarding the movie, the main message I took away is the power of popular entertainment to influence popular tastes. Who would have believed that a throwaway line in a mild Hollywood comedy would lead us to such phenomena as pinot noir from Corsica?
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Re: WT101: Merlot - Was Miles right?

Postby Hoke » Wed Jun 21, 2006 5:51 pm

Regarding the movie, the main message I took away is the power of popular entertainment to influence popular tastes. Who would have believed that a throwaway line in a mild Hollywood comedy would lead us to such phenomena as pinot noir from Corsica?


Oh, I agree wholeheartedly with your point about the power of popular entertainment...but I would offer the counterpoint that living in the moment tends to exaggerate effects, and the popular taste can be not only damned fickle, but repetitive and cyclical.

Case in point: years ago, there was Le Sable Pinot Noir from...wait for it, wait for it....Algeria. Rough as a cob, thin and sharp, barely recognizable as Pinot Noir, and got down to $2.99 a bottle pretty much every day. End case stacks in grocery stores were quite common.


Another case in point: back then there was plenty of el cheapo Pinot Noir from the Iron Block satellite countries in Eastern Europe, mostly Bulgarian as I remember. And it was pretty terrible stuff.

Case in point, more immediate: long before the movie came out, Cavit was bringing in 1.5Ls of Pinot Noir (or you can call it Pinot Nero, but you doesn't have to call it good). My company came out with a Languedoc Pinot Noir....but that was planned well before the movie had any impact on the public consciousness.

Which brings us to the point: long before the movie came out, and much longer than it had any chance to create trends, PINOT NOIR WAS ALREADY SHOWING MAJOR UP TRENDS!. Yes, the last year has shown a significant jump in growth, but it's been up big time since the early part of the century.

And let us not forget that one major reason there's a lot of Pinot Noir being sold is for the first time in the US there's enough load-bearing Pinot Noir vines coming on line to supply the growth. But that didn't happen overnight: it was planned and developed over a period of years.

So Sideways may have (and I think DID) create a flashpoint of growth---but it was built on plans developed and implemented years ago that allowed that to happen.
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Re: WT101: Merlot - Was Miles right?

Postby Dave Erickson » Wed Jun 21, 2006 6:41 pm

I take your point--a varietal can't be a best-seller if someone didn't plant a whole bunch of it first--although I'd also argue that a proliferation of cheapies from Algeria and Bulgaria does not strike me as an "up trend" for pinot noir.
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Re: WT101: Merlot - Was Miles right?

Postby Bob Henrick » Wed Jun 21, 2006 6:51 pm

Praise Bacchus Hoke,I am so grateful for someone telling it like it is rather than some damn hollywood movie crap! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
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Re: Oh dear

Postby Bob Henrick » Wed Jun 21, 2006 7:01 pm

Hi Bonnie,
Here is hoping that you did well on the test. We have seen little of you since we moved over here, and now that you are progressing in your quest, I hops we see more of you!
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Re: This is the June WT101 thread

Postby TimMc » Sat Jun 24, 2006 9:25 pm

I have never watched the movie "Sideways" [though I am told I need to] and have often wondered why people would put so much stock in an actor's line in a script.

Merlot is a fine varietal, IMHO.
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Re: This is the June WT101 thread

Postby Bob Henrick » Sat Jun 24, 2006 10:11 pm

Tim, I can't help but wonder right along with you. An.dt to make matters even worse, these people who do put this kind of stock into the line from a movie, are really quite intellegent. Go figure. BTW, welcome to the forum.
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Re: This is the June WT101 thread

Postby TimMc » Sat Jun 24, 2006 10:28 pm

Thanks, Bob. :)

To be honest, the most intelligent people I have had the pleasure to be associated with aren't always the best enophiles....ya know?

As an example, I went to a Christmas party my Department Head threw [the most intelligent woman I have ever known] and since she knew I was a wine lover, she made sure to have some Sangria on hand.

As a good guest, I choked it down, but it only goes to show that intelligence doesn't always equal an appreciation/understanding for wine.


Make sense?
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Re: This is the June WT101 thread

Postby Isaac » Sun Jun 25, 2006 12:47 am

Popular culture follows no logic I can discern. Why are polyester leisure suits all the rage on year, and fashion death the next?

Why can no one who aspires to the least bit of fashion acceptability wear his hair in a mullet, even if that is by far the most flattering style for him?

Why does rosé only "not suck" if it is not sweet? Would Sauternes be better if it were dry?

There's no logic. Miles said he wasn't going to drink any "f@©king merlot," and that resonated with the masses, so merlot is now declassé. Whaddaya gonna do?
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Re: This is the June WT101 thread

Postby TimMc » Wed Jun 28, 2006 8:54 pm

Buy more Merlot :D
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Re: This is the June WT101 thread

Postby Jenise » Wed Jun 28, 2006 8:56 pm

Isaac said:
Why are polyester leisure suits all the rage on year, and fashion death the next?


Because they should have been fashion death in the first place?
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: This is the June WT101 thread

Postby jecastillo » Thu Jun 29, 2006 6:08 pm

Anybody who has ever had a sip of any Behrens & Hitchcock Merlot would be offended at Miles' statement.

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Re: This is the June WT101 thread

Postby Isaac » Thu Jun 29, 2006 9:34 pm

Jenise wrote:Because they should have been fashion death in the first place?
No. Even if that's true, it doesn't explain why they were fashionable for a while. Fashionistas say things like that, though: "Eeeww! How could anyone ever wear something like that?" when they, themselves were wearing it last season, or will the next.

One might infer from your post that sweet (or sweetish) wines were always bad, even when lots of people liked them (maybe especially if lots of people like them. For some, popularity is the surest sign that something is no good. In fact, that might have been Miles' problem with Merlot. If it's popular, it can't be good). I don't see it that way. I see it as a fashion issue, and the pendulum may well swing back. Once the hoi polloi start drinking dry wines, the cognoscenti may decide that sweeter wines are what the true connoisseur drinks. I don't expect it, but it's possible. Of course, then they'll have to construct elaborate explanations as to why Bordeaux are still excellent, even if they don't meet the current criteria.
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Re: This is the June WT101 thread

Postby TimMc » Sat Jul 01, 2006 12:14 am

With all due respect, the "fashionistas" in the wine industry set the price for wine based upon that same criterion: What sells is good, what is popular costs most.


FWIW
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