The other day I was reading an excellent article in the current issue of The World of Fine Wine, an article that makes the case for Beaujolais as a "fine wine," the same way we think about Burgundy or Barolo, for example. I cannot link directly to the article, as The World of Fine Wine doesn't publish content online, but you should subscribe anyway. Like The Art of Eating, this is a must-have. Some of the very finest wine thinkers write for WOFW - this Beaujolais piece, for example, is by Peter Liem.
It is a well considered and thoughtful article. Instead of merely talking about how great Beaujolais is, it establishes a simple framework for thinking about "fine wine," and then looks at whether or not Beaujolais meets some or all of the criteria. There are many interesting ideas in the article, but one in particular stuck with me, and for me it's less about Beaujolais than about evaluating wine in general. Here is the quote:
The expression of terroir demonstrates the intellectual side of cru Beaujolais, but another element that is often ignored, particularly in an environment driven by professional blind tastings and numeric scoring, is sheer drinkability: the capacity of a wine to compel us to keep returning to it over and over again. Somewhere along the line, the notion of deliciousness seems to have become, if not pejorative, then at least frivolous—as though we should feel guilty for delighting in a wine’s visceral pleasures.Interesting, right?
There are many directions one could go with this idea. It makes me think of how I tend to undervalue wines if they are inexpensive, even if like Muscadet for example, I love the wines. Or the amazing and substantial $16 bottle of Ott Gruner Veltliner I recently had - why didn't I load up on that wine? I ran out and bought some $40 Hirsch Riesling after tasting those wines, why not the cheaper wine that offered little other than deliciousness? It makes me think about how complexity implies quality, and although I enjoy complexity, why does the degree of complexity correlate with the way we experience quality? It makes me think about a lot of things.
Care to share your thoughts?