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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 »
As with any documentary that pits the capitalist large corporations against the small producer, the viewer will invariably have to take the side of one or the other based on their own believes. This is as much a documentary of the new standardized way of doing things that globalization is bringing us, against the old traditional ways where character and the art of making things matters almost more than getting the product sold.
If you have to remember one thing from this movie, it is that the masses can no longer decide by themselves, they just follow the taste of one or a couple of critics that tend to equalize and standardize taste in the same way as MacDonalds used to do for the fast bite (something Parker himself admits to in the film against a backdrop of a Burger King sign). "It is all about image" against content as another interviewee says. That is the easy way, the standardized way. Easier than taking the time for a nice wine to mature, easier than to forge your own taste by trying and trying yet over again. Controlled branded taste is easier.
There is a glitter of hope when even some of our cousins across the ocean agree that a few people are "levelling" the taste of wines to maximize the profits and ensure a maximum of it gets sold to the "grey masses". Individuality and difference is sacrificed for the extra buck. It is nice to see that not everything or everyone is giving in to standardization, even across the ocean.
As in many other areas of today's world, dominance of a few and reduced freedom of choice impacts us all... let everyone make up their mind and decide what to go for. Too much standardization kills the mind and taste; difference brings innovation and healthy competition and will allow for choice - and not just vacuum-packed "more of the same". Standardization sells easily and a lot, and brings everyone to the same level - the lower one.
On this, I am going to open up a nice bottle and wish you a hearthy "sante".
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