The top 10 wine things we need less of in 2010
It’s been an awful ten years of tumult and disappointment, a decadus horribilis. Time to get rid of what doesn’t work and concentrate on what does. Here is a list of things we don’t need during this second decade of the 21st century. (Except for rosé, I’m not including general varietal criticisms. There is always room for improvement across the board.)
10. Hard, faux-wax plastic seals you need a chisel to chop off. I’m tired of them. One of these days I’ll cut my hand and sue the submitting winery, or else stop reviewing them entirely. The wines are usually plonk; after all that effort, you find an indifferent wine not worth the price, much less the work involved.
9. Imitation plastic corks that are hard to extract and then swell up so they’re impossible to cram back into the bottle. They are abominations. I give credit to them for trying to avoid TCA, but sometimes the cure is worse than the disease. A decent fake cork that pulls out with roughly the same effort as a real cork and then re-enters is okay, but those cheap rubbery ones are a mess, especially when they’re purple. Even a screwtop is better.
8. Styrofoam packaging. Environmentally unclean, huge carbon footprint, and messy. So many hypocrites out there who talk green and then play with this fossil fuel-derived stuff. Get rid of it. I’ve been on this crusade for years and one of these days I’ll win.
7. Ugly labels. Rule #1: the human face should never, ever appear on a label. Rule #2: Repeat Rule #1. Also [personal point of privilege], if the grapes are from a single vineyard then don’t put “vineyards” [i.e. plural] on the label.
6. Bad rosé. Sorry, Rosé Avengers and Producers, but Provence and the Loire don’t have to be afraid. Almost nobody here is making rosés that are dry, crisp and complex, which three attributes surely are essential for world-class rosé. We have the terroir and the right varieties for rosé, but varietal wines get far more money than a blush ever could. This financial imbalance prohibits California from being a great rosé wine producer. Tant pis.
5. Excessive by-the-glass fees in restaurants. If a bottle of wine retails for $30 then I shouldn’t have to pay $12 for a little glass of it. Not even close. Some of these restaurants are gouging their customers, and 2010 would be a good year to bring sanity to restaurant wine practices.
4. Snarkiness in wine blogs. Can we agree that snarkiness is sooo 2008?
3. An end to the hemorrhaging of wine writing in newspapers. Now the Wall Street Journal has lost Dorothy and John. This is a great loss and I hope it’s the last one of its kind we’ll see in any American newspaper, anywhere. The media needs wine (and food) coverage at least as much as it needs sports or comics (and much more than it needs astrology or bridge columns).
2. The idea that anybody can be an instant wine critic just by deciding they are.
And finally, the Number One thing to get rid of in 2010:
1. Stupid, pretentious French names. “Rhapsodie de la Lune a Nuit” and that kind of phony stuff, especially when the wine sucks but even when it doesn’t. We have got to get over this worship of the French language when it comes to wine, and the funny thing is that the best producers almost never fall prey to this nonsense. It’s usually arrivistes who think they can charge extra bucks. Can you imagine any reputable French producer naming a wine after anything in America? Sacre bleu.
Tomorrow: The top 10 things California wine needs more of in 2010.