by Daniele Cernilli 01-05-2017
Sometimes I find myself criticizing so-called “natural” or “organic” wines that are flaunted as such to justify evident technical defects in the name of superior values like eco-sustainability or “alternative” winemaking practices that are supposedly more “ethical”. Today I will try to do the exact opposite because it is not true that all the wines on the other side of the fence are necessarily better or lovelier. The wines I refer to are those that employ invasive winemaking methods, wines that all taste like ‘pop’ and are produced worldwide using technics employing little ‘boosts’. These range from using aromatic wood chips to certain enzymes and “super-yeasts” all which contribute to creating specific and consistent aromas which are easily recognizable by the noses and palates of inexperienced and naive consumers who are accustom to standardized aromas and flavors. This is especially true in the case of white wines, especially those from the so-called New World even if examples can be found in Italy as well. All the wines in question employ aggressive industrial methods aimed at achieving pre-determined results which have nothing to do with origin, grape variety, typicity and everything else that may “reek” of craftsmanship. They have bright colors, fruity aromas and commonplace and standard yet pleasing flavors, with perhaps a tad of sugar residue added to polish the edges and enhance the persistence, given that sweetness is the sensation that lasts the longest. I refer to these as plastic wines, those that make true a wine lover long for a little reduction, a touch of volatile acidity and more authentic aromas. These are characteristics that derive from the varietal and the terroir and which make wine something more than just a beverage, which make it the nectar of a land and express unique microclimates and soil compositions as well as the skill of the winemaker and the technics used. What I would like to do here is make an appeal to the many enologists I know and esteem to join together to combat certain excesses in winemaking which have nothing to do with their profession and, in the end cast, doubts on the virtuous side of winemaking, the one based on scientific research, respect for the environment and “soft” production techniques, those aimed at enhancing the value of being special and unique, qualities that all the world’s best wines share.