Explores a thesis: that the deep colored, oak-aged taste of Bordeaux wines has become the world standard, following the writing of critic Robert Parker, the magazine "Wine Spectator," the consulting work of Michel Rolland of Pomerol, and the money of Mondavi, a publicly-traded corporation based in Napa with a family history of wine making. Wine makers worldwide, many using Rolland as a consultant, pursue this structure, color, and taste - to the detriment, argue some, of wine that should reflect the character of the land where the grape is grown, including the lighter Burgundy. A few old wine makers, from Aniane, Sardinia, and Argentina offer this argument. Written by
During the shots showing the rail trip to Baltimore to visit wine critic Robert Parker, the word "Delaware" is superimposed, but the "PATH" logo is clearly visible on the passing building, which places the building in New Jersey. PATH is a commuter railroad operated between New Jersey and Manhattan by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and it has no facilities in Delaware. See more »
Mondovino is a dense, rich, and complex documentary on the power struggles and major players of the "wine world" elite. It depicts the endless struggle of the old world versus the new global capitalist order. On one hand we have the older, aging, independent grape-growers and wine makers of Burgundy and Tuscany. They have a philosophy of wine as a symbol of civilization. It's not simply a commodity to them. The production and consumption of wine is a religious experience between man and the earth.
On the other side of the "war" are the major wine-producing conglomerates, such as the Mondavi family of Napa Valley or the producers of Ornelliai wine in Italy. No, these aren't bad people. They simply have a different philosophy on wine production, and they eagerly embrace the new technologies and innovations in wine fermentation, such as the "New Oak" barrels that speed up production. They also hire Michel Rollan, a world-famous "wine consultant," who tells people how they can better the quality of their wine through different production processes. But the smaller, more independent wineries see "wine consultants" as harmful to diversity, because they worry that consultants seek to make all wine the same. Just because one consultant likes or doesn't like a wine, does not mean that every pallet will agree.
Mondovino also shows the dark histories of many of the world's most powerful wine producers. Some of the most successful wine makers in France collaborated with Nazi Germany in World War II, and most of the major wine producers in Italy supported Fascism and Mussolini. There are still racist and elitist undertones in much of the wine world today. Mondovino carefully weaves together the web of land, power, politics, and wine.
This film is a lot a great bottle of wine. It's complex, multifaceted, and can't be rushed. I'm not going to lie -- Mondovino is not a short movie. It's over two hours long. But like a great wine gets better with age, so to does this movie get better as time progresses.
If you've ever wanted to know more about wine and the people who make it, this film is a great resource to learn from. "Wine people" are going to love it. But for the average Joe who just wants a good time at the theater, this probably is not the best selection for him. It's not entertaining as much as it's educational, and if you're not in the mood, you're not going to feel it. Just like how you can't enjoy a savory glass of Pinot Noir if all you want is a beer.
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