Wide World of Whine

Controversial documentary 'Mondovino' just might drive you to drink

The next day, as if on cue, Michael Arnold, Jeanne Moillard, and I tasted a new-world Cabernet Franc he handles, from teensy California producer Smith Wooton. It was bursting with the fragrance of violets and roses, real blackberries and raspberries, and a bit of the brambly scent of dried raspberry leaves and vines. It was very acidic and nicely knit, in the manner of a true food wine. Still, tasting the same fruit in the hands of the two cultures seemed to suggest something about the French palate and its love of structure, something a worldwide taste for Coca-Cola wines is threatening to destroy.

Pastoral poster child: Burgundian winemaker Hubert De Montille in 'Mondovino'
Pastoral poster child: Burgundian winemaker Hubert De Montille in 'Mondovino'

I couldn't help but think that the real problem at hand was not Robert Parker and his taste for Pomerol. The real problem is that so many of us fail to have any interest in our own taste. Instead of tasting, pursuing, cultivating, and being interested in ourselves, in the infinite possibility of our own physical experience of the sensual world, we run to other people's idea of status, be it other critics' wine taste, or filmmakers' inclination to demonize that taste. So I say to you: Try some unusual wine this summer. You might fall out of step with the drumbeat of the world, but you also might gain your self.

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