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A wine manifesto by Jamie Goode.

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Oct 20, 2013 3:16 am

This link should create some interesting discussions on various wine boards.
I think it is a good read, how about you? You might have to scroll down.

http://www.wineanorak.com/a_wine_manifesto.pdf
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Re: A wine manifesto by Jamie Goode.

by Rahsaan » Sun Oct 20, 2013 9:36 am

Bob Parsons Alberta wrote:This link should create some interesting discussions on various wine boards.


Why? Looks like pretty standard stuff that most wine board people would agree with.
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Re: A wine manifesto by Jamie Goode.

by Robin Garr » Sun Oct 20, 2013 9:38 am

Rahsaan wrote:Why? Looks like pretty standard stuff that most wine board people would agree with.

Concur. I like it, and I agree with at least 90 percent of it. (Probably all of it, but I don't have the time for a close read this morning.)

Good stuff for sure, but not controversial to me.
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Re: A wine manifesto by Jamie Goode.

by Brian Gilp » Sun Oct 20, 2013 10:14 am

Most of what he writes is in line with the way I view things these days. And knowing this is a manifesto I expect some of the statements are more black and white than what Jamie really thinks. Still I have a few small quibbles.

10. Over ripeness can exist that does not require acidification. Ripeness and acidity don't always move together and can be influenced by site and vintage. So overripeness that does not need acidification and lots of new oak is fine? begs the question of how one defines overripeness. Likewise acidification can be needed for those wines that are not overripe. Also not sure why he specified red wines only here as I have problems with big Chardonnays that have lots of oak and I believe added acid.

11. The more I read this not sure I understand this point. At first I thought it was about making honest simple wine that is not intended to be a great wine experience, the typical bistro wine. But the part about winemaking trickery and honest wines being better than "better" wines has me confused. What trickery is bad here if it makes a better wine. I think I have an idea of what is intended but if those tricks result in a "better" product why should a producer intentionally avoid them to put out an inferior product. Except of course quality is not quantitative or the same for everyone so determining which is better and which is not is all subjective. Then of course there is actually knowing that any trickery was involved in the making of the wine for which the consumer rarely has the knowledge so the whole point is somewhat worthless except as one person's message to producers as to what he would prefer in the general sense.

And I guess I 6. I hesitate to raise any issues here as I agree with this completely but I fear that this point eventually leads to the spontaneous fermentation is always better than the use of a cultured yeast or ML strain belief. This is not always true. There are times when a cultured strain would be preferred for quality.

Lastly 23. Lots of good beer is being made these days but to think that it is better than wine is just wrong. Beer has it's own issues that mirror wine such as too many beers relying on extremely high hop levels balanced by sweetness. A proliferation of different beers being produced by breweries such that regional styles are quickly disappearing. And while I like both beer and wine, I find the range of flavors in beer lacking in comparison. Earlier this year, I opened a number of vintage beers with a friend, the oldest from 1994. They were stunning examples of what a beer (barely wine actually) can achieve but there are very few examples of beers in this style. As much as I loved them, the tasting did not awaken in me a new desire to find and drink Moore beer or lay down more for later. The flavors and complexity of the best beers are for me no where near those of the best wines. Lastly, I see a lot of younger winemakers in the US at least, pushing aside the ideas of the past and pursuing their ideas of what wines should be and find that the direction many of them are going is of more interest to me than the craft beer makers who all seem to be trying to perfect the same few styles.
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Re: A wine manifesto by Jamie Goode.

by Victorwine » Sun Oct 20, 2013 11:06 am

I think Jamie Goode should have entitled this more specifically as “A table wine manifesto”.

Salute
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Re: A wine manifesto by Jamie Goode.

by Thomas » Sun Oct 20, 2013 12:51 pm

First, I don't like the word manifesto because it indicates "dogmatic" to me. So, I read with trepidation.

Second, I found fault: quelle surprise.

There's a note at the bottom of one page to explain Goode's use of "winegrower" as opposed to "winemaker." The note's preamble is thus: Language is important. It shapes our perception. Careful use of language reminds us of important issues.

I agree with the above sentiment, which is why I am perplexed at Goode's use of language throughout his manifesto. For instance:

"Authentic wine is rooted in a place and a time."

Sounds good, I suppose, but without defining "place" and "time" what does the line really mean? All wine is produced somewhere and in some time frame. I know what he meant to say, but I don't think he said it with that sentence. I also think the word "authentic" is a poor adjective for the purpose.

"The ceiling for wine quality is determined by the soil. Great wines can only be made from privileged terroirs, no matter how skilled the winegrower and how perfect the climate."

Again, I know what he meant, but really, what constitutes a "privileged terroir" and who decides?

"There’s a place for monster, ripe, bad ass wines. It’s just that they aren’t serious. But so often the people who make them want them to be taken seriously, which instantly makes them joke wines."

Really? There's a place for joke wines? These three sentences create a discombobulated thought. Again, who decides?

"Overripeness in red wines is a grave sin that has to be covered up with acidification and oak. The sadness: often it is avoidable."

Not to sound like a broken record, but who decides? Is overripeness determined by sugar levels, sugar/acid/pH balance, seed structure and color, flavor profile--can some locations avoid overripeness and are some locations doomed to experience it year after year, and why isn't overripeness a sin in white wines?

"There’s nothing wrong with commercial wines. The world needs good, cheap wine. But cheap wine doesn't have to try to mimic more serious wine by winemaking trickery. Honest wines are better than ‘better’ wines."

Unless I'm mistaken, all wine for sale is commercial, cheap or otherwise. Again, "honest wines?" Puleeze. We are talking marketing here, not wine.

"The wine trade is chock full of talented tasters, but too many have commercial palates. They are skilled at differentiating among commercial wines, and even very good wines, but can’t differentiate top quality commercial wines from truly serious wines. They often take offence when you suggest there’s a difference."

First commercial wines are cheap; then, there is such a thing as "top quality commercial wines." Discombolulated message again.

"If you stick the name of a place on a wine label, the wine should taste of that place."

I agree with this sentiment, but without a glossary of what certain places taste like I doubt it has meaning to many people whose experience centers are varietal wines.

"If you hate overripeness and obvious new oak (as you should), take care lest you end up praising a wine for the mere absence of these faults. It happens."

AND

"Be humble in the face of wine. It’s an endlessly complex subject that changes each year. It’s beyond any single human’s ability to understand to any serious degree. We see in part. That’s OK."

First, we are told that we "should" hate a particular style of wine and then we are told to be humble in the face of this complex product. Maybe I'm too sensitive, but it seems like when the author issues a declarative "should" he hasn't taken his own advice about humility.

"There’s lots of bad wine, but I’m not going to worry too much about it. I’ll just spend time chasing the good ones. There are plenty to keep me going."

With this I take great issue. In short, Goode uses "good" and "bad" badly.

When I made wine I learned that the word "bad" was better confined to the technical. This is because there are identifiable winemaking flaws and so when they appear, that wine is "bad." As for good, all flawless wine is "good" but that does not mean that everyone thinks each one of them is good to their taste, and when those wines don't meet someone's taste preference, they are not suddenly rendered "bad." Plus, because phrases like "authentic wine" have no identifiable meaning or technicality, when someone believes he or she has found an "authentic wine" it isn't necessarily a good or bad wine.

"Many commercial wines are so deeply dull, dishonest and tricked about with that I’d rather drink beer. Many in the wine trade are so disillusioned because they know that they are peddling crap, that they lose their love for wine. Beware!"

Again, I understand the sentiment, but has Goode ever tasted Budweiser?
Last edited by Thomas on Sun Oct 20, 2013 3:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: A wine manifesto by Jamie Goode.

by Tim York » Sun Oct 20, 2013 3:44 pm

It's pretty uncontroversial for me. However, kudos to Jamie for expressing it all so concisely.
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Re: A wine manifesto by Jamie Goode.

by Steve Slatcher » Sun Oct 20, 2013 6:07 pm

The manifesto is a fair summary of what most people write and think currently, but I actually disagree with quite a lot, and think things will change again with fashion. Most of my objections are along the lines of (though not identical with) Thomas's - there are many definitional issues.

The definition I have most problems with is "commercial". Surely first growth Clarets are about the most commercial wines you can think of! Surely good wine does not have to be the product of a loss-making vanity project. So what does he really mean by "commercial"? Like the terms "industrial" and "supermarket" when applied as adjectives to wines, in the mouths of many "commercial" really means "bad".
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Re: A wine manifesto by Jamie Goode.

by Jenise » Mon Oct 21, 2013 3:22 am

Thomas wrote:First commercial wines are cheap; then, there is such a thing as "top quality commercial wines." Discombolulated message again.


Living where I do I have to admit that, reading through your comments, if I mentally insert "Chateau Ste. Michelle" for every mention of a commercial winery product, then all makes sense.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: A wine manifesto by Jamie Goode.

by Ben Rotter » Mon Oct 21, 2013 4:17 am

I guess the difficulty with a manifesto (and I dislike that term for the same reasons Thomas does) is that many definitions and qualifications are necessary in order to be accurate and clear, and that means a lack of conciseness (which is generally not favoured for a "manifesto").

I'd agree that Goode's is a fair summary of many of the attitudes that many (but not necessarily most) wine geeks hold towards wine. It's difficult to know exactly what Goode intends with some of the statements - as others have noted, clear definitions are required (how does he define overripeness, authenticity, seriousness, commercial, spoofulation, true...?).

Some words are ill chosen too (as Thomas noted). For example, I don't think its the intention of (most, any?) producers "to cover" ripeness with oak and acid - producers are heavy on the oak because it helps to make the style of wine they want to make, and they acidify because they want a lower pH (or higher TA). I do think some points seem rather unfair, too: for example, I'm not really a fan of big, very ripe or very oaky wines, but I would not say that such wines can't be "serious". Again, I guess it just depends how you define 'ripeness' and 'serious'. Without clear definitions, the meaning can easily get lost or confused.
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Re: A wine manifesto by Jamie Goode.

by Rahsaan » Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:56 am

Ben Rotter wrote:I guess the difficulty with a manifesto (and I dislike that term for the same reasons Thomas does) is that many definitions and qualifications are necessary in order to be accurate and clear, and that means a lack of conciseness (which is generally not favoured for a "manifesto")


Except unlike other areas of life where the stakes might be higher, this is just wine so 'accuracy' and 'clarity' are not of the utmost importance.
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Re: A wine manifesto by Jamie Goode.

by Thomas » Mon Oct 21, 2013 10:17 am

Rahsaan wrote:
Ben Rotter wrote:I guess the difficulty with a manifesto (and I dislike that term for the same reasons Thomas does) is that many definitions and qualifications are necessary in order to be accurate and clear, and that means a lack of conciseness (which is generally not favoured for a "manifesto")


Except unlike other areas of life where the stakes might be higher, this is just wine so 'accuracy' and 'clarity' are not of the utmost importance.


If so, Rahsaan, then why bother with a manifesto at all?
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Re: A wine manifesto by Jamie Goode.

by Rahsaan » Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:28 am

Thomas wrote:
Rahsaan wrote:
Ben Rotter wrote:I guess the difficulty with a manifesto (and I dislike that term for the same reasons Thomas does) is that many definitions and qualifications are necessary in order to be accurate and clear, and that means a lack of conciseness (which is generally not favoured for a "manifesto")


Except unlike other areas of life where the stakes might be higher, this is just wine so 'accuracy' and 'clarity' are not of the utmost importance.


If so, Rahsaan, then why bother with a manifesto at all?


Well I've already said that I don't think there was that much to contribute to the wine geek world in the manifesto, but perhaps he has a broader audience.

Still, this is not a legal document where precise wording can have a major impact on people's lives. Obviously you want to be clear enough so that people understand you, but ambiguity or slippages don't quite have the same ramifications as in amendments to the Constitution. We can be wrong about wine and life goes on.
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Re: A wine manifesto by Jamie Goode.

by Thomas » Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:06 pm

Rahsaan wrote:Well I've already said that I don't think there was that much to contribute to the wine geek world in the manifesto, but perhaps he has a broader audience.

Still, this is not a legal document where precise wording can have a major impact on people's lives. Obviously you want to be clear enough so that people understand you, but ambiguity or slippages don't quite have the same ramifications as in amendments to the Constitution. We can be wrong about wine and life goes on.


True enough. I've no clue on the makeup of Jamie's audience. Maybe, he just got carried away while trying to maintain the blog. Blogs are the best proof that good editors are in short supply.
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Re: A wine manifesto by Jamie Goode.

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:27 pm

Plenty of comments on his blog so all is good!!! Think Jamie lurks here from time to time 8) .
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Re: A wine manifesto by Jamie Goode.

by wnissen » Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:15 pm

I love Jamie's scientific work; this manifesto left me with a feeling of visceral disgust. It's smug about issues of personal
preference in a way that really leaves me cold. Commercial wine is popular because people like to drink it on a commercial
scale. Period. Not because they are stupid, are being tricked by acidification, or any other reason that allows us geeks to
feel superior. We will always be a tiny minority, and there's nothing wrong with drinking what you like, whether that is
mega-purpled or picked berry by berry.

I love my artisinal wines. Jamie and I agree on a lot. And I understand the feeling of superiority, even. The local high-end
grocery store had a floor-stacked display of Bud and Bud Light, with a prominent label of "lager". This was funny to me
because, of course, I am not a Bud drinker and am painfully aware that Bud drinkers do not know, as a rule, what a "lager" is.
To them, beers may exist with strong flavors and colors that aren't pale straw, but primarily, funadmentally, there is just
"beer" and "light beer". No amount of consumer education and soul-searching will change this. The story with wine is the same.

Besides, how in hell am I supposed to enjoy what's in my glass at table, with all that responsibility for living up to
Jamie's moral exhortations hanging over my head?
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Re: A wine manifesto by Jamie Goode.

by Sue Courtney » Thu Oct 24, 2013 12:29 am

I can't get to grips with the wording 'commercial wine'. Anything that is sold is commercial, isn't it?
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Re: A wine manifesto by Jamie Goode.

by Robin Garr » Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:55 am

Sue Courtney wrote:I can't get to grips with the wording 'commercial wine'. Anything that is sold is commercial, isn't it?

I'm just going with instinct and intuition here, Sue, but to me, "commercial wine" implies a wine that's made with primary focus on profit, as opposed to wine made with passion, assuming the money will follow. Maybe "industrial wine" might express a similar idea, but it's still fuzzy, as it's certainly possible to produce a commercially focused wine from a smallish winery.

Wine is no different from many another "commercial" product in the age of Milton Friedman and an intemperate focus on the quarterly balance sheet, by the way. :oops:
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Re: A wine manifesto by Jamie Goode.

by Thomas » Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:20 am

Robin Garr wrote:
Sue Courtney wrote:I can't get to grips with the wording 'commercial wine'. Anything that is sold is commercial, isn't it?

I'm just going with instinct and intuition here, Sue, but to me, "commercial wine" implies a wine that's made with primary focus on profit, as opposed to wine made with passion, assuming the money will follow. Maybe "industrial wine" might express a similar idea, but it's still fuzzy, as it's certainly possible to produce a commercially focused wine from a smallish winery.

Wine is no different from many another "commercial" product in the age of Milton Friedman and an intemperate focus on the quarterly balance sheet, by the way. :oops:



Whether made with passion or produced from a formula, wine is now and has always been a commodity product. Unless a producer has financial freedom, he has less freedom than consumers do when it comes to expressing passion, and if he can't convert his passion into a commercial success, he'll wind up with less money than when he began.
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Re: A wine manifesto by Jamie Goode.

by Robin Garr » Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:36 am

Thomas wrote:Whether made with passion or produced from a formula, wine is now and has always been a commodity product. Unless a producer has financial freedom, he has less freedom than consumers do when it comes to expressing passion, and if he can't convert his passion into a commercial success, he'll wind up with less money than when he began.

Your opinion is true, but sterile, cold and devoid of flavor.

Let me illustrate by example: Compare Steve Edmunds and Don Sebastiani. Don is probably raking in more riches, but I admire Steve and would much rather drink his wines.

Do I have to explain this any further?
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Re: A wine manifesto by Jamie Goode.

by Thomas » Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:53 am

Robin Garr wrote:
Thomas wrote:Whether made with passion or produced from a formula, wine is now and has always been a commodity product. Unless a producer has financial freedom, he has less freedom than consumers do when it comes to expressing passion, and if he can't convert his passion into a commercial success, he'll wind up with less money than when he began.

Your opinion is true, but sterile, cold and devoid of flavor.

Let me illustrate by example: Compare Steve Edmunds and Don Sebastiani. Don is probably raking in more riches, but I admire Steve and would much rather drink his wines.

Do I have to explain this any further?


Your response is one dimensional, lacks finesse, and may even be condescending. I lost money following my winemaking passion. I was poor at running the business and I was in at the wrong time as well.

Steve does great work, but I am certain that he will agree that passion and commercialism need to be in synch. I think it is too simplistic to claim that there is an identifiable dichotomy--unless, of course, you are the consumer that has the luxury of separating the two.

Just let me know if you need further explanation. :twisted:

In any case, we are off the subject which, to me, was use of the word "commercialism" in a context that lacked meaning. Its lack of meaning or clarity is why we are having this conversation.
Last edited by Thomas on Thu Oct 24, 2013 11:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A wine manifesto by Jamie Goode.

by Rahsaan » Thu Oct 24, 2013 11:08 am

Thomas wrote:Steve does great work, but I am certain that he will agree that passion and commercialism need to be in synch


Not only that, but there may be lots of passion in wineries that Robin considers 'commercial'. And not only passion for commercialism, but passion for 'quality'. It just so happens that their definition of quality differs from Robin's.

In addition, I'm sure there is more than one winemaker who we all admire who has felt more than one lull in his/her passion.

When it comes down to it, these definitions can be very tricky.
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Re: A wine manifesto by Jamie Goode.

by Thomas » Thu Oct 24, 2013 11:11 am

Rahsaan wrote:
Thomas wrote:Steve does great work, but I am certain that he will agree that passion and commercialism need to be in synch


Not only that, but there may be lots of passion in wineries that Robin considers 'commercial'. And not only passion for commercialism, but passion for 'quality'. It just so happens that their definition of quality differs from Robin's.

In addition, I'm sure there is more than one winemaker who we all admire who has felt more than one lull in his/her passion.

When it comes down to it, these definitions can be very tricky.


Exactly, as my edit above tries to point out in the lack of clarity when using a word like "commercial."

To further your point: the Gallo family always had a passion for quality as well as for commercialism.
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Re: A wine manifesto by Jamie Goode.

by Robin Garr » Thu Oct 24, 2013 12:22 pm

Thomas wrote:To further your point: the Gallo family always had a passion for quality as well as for commercialism.

Umm.
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