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October 17, 2012


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fredric koeppel

This gets my instant nomination for Best Post on a Wine Blog for the awards next year. Very thoughtful; beautifully written.

Meg Houston Maker

Fredric, thank you. That's high praise from a writer whose work I greatly esteem.


Great post! I particularly like that it raises questions rather than pontificates on answers.

Meg Houston Maker

Thanks, Ilona. I like to explore ideas and stimulate discussion. If there were an easy answer to these questions, this wouldn't be much of an article.

Todd - VT Wine Media

What a great read this was, first thing this morning. This is precisely the kind of wine article that I like because it explores the product itself to a certain degree, but goes more deeply to our perceptions of and relationships to wine. This is the kind of writing that gives a mere tasting note far more meaning than when they stand alone.
The only issue I take with this article, is that after having read it at the start of my day, I will have to wait until later to sit with a vino di meditazione, and the thoughts it has provoked.

andrew h.


This a great post. As often happens, folks try to understand a thing by putting it in context with what they already know. The American market tends to be dominated by commercially-styled, domestic wines with little "wineness." As such the New World moniker seems apropos for ripe, fleshy and fruit driven wines.
I once had a wonderful tasting of technically dealcoholized wines that had the same base stock (California Syrah) and tasted like they came from different terroirs/climates; including some with the "herbaceous savoriness" you mention in re: to the Bourgogne Blanc above. You can see a little about the process here: http://www.vinovation.com/alcadjustment.htm

Meg Houston Maker

Todd, thanks so much for your kind comments. I'm happy to provide reading material to bookend your day, any day.

Andrew, I envy your opportunity to taste a range of dealcoholized wines. I'd love to try this experiment, especially with wines made in a riper style. I'm not an enologist, but it seems intuitive that once a wine's alcohol goes above, say, 13.5%, the winemaker must amp other elements in the wine, too, to produce a balanced net result. Maybe stripping out the alcohol in wine is analogous to stripping out the salt in bread: you'd surely taste what the raw materials are made of.

Fabio (Vinos Ambiz)

Excellent and profound post! Unfortunately, many people still labour under assumptions and stereotypes like "New World wines don't have any terroir", and other such nonsense.


Beautifully written, well said.
Thank You.

Meg Houston Maker

Fabio and Sasha, many thanks for reading, and for your kind remarks.

Ryan Reichert


I knew this piece would speak to me at a core level, and you've struck it home. Wonderful and lovely writing, as always, and a topic that I couldn't be more enthusiastic about. Wine's context is crucial to exploring and understanding what it is, and what it means to us individually. Thank you for giving further voice to this.


I like the way you bring out the complexity of the topic.

Personally, I buy into the old world / new world paradigm because it feels right most of the time. There may be asymmetry in that old world locations can also produce new world wines, but new world locations cannot produce old world wines. I believe that, fwiw. Something of the ineffable influence of history makes a difference. You can't make Merseault in Sonoma any more than Kraft can make Parmigiano Reggiano in Wisconsin. But they could make that white cheese powder in Parma if they wanted to.

Alana Gentry (@girlwithaglass)

Bravo! I could not agree more that we writers can do better in describing TODAY's global wine scene. When wine writers rely on generic assumptions and old descriptors, wine lovers who read about wine are not getting the true picture of what the world of winemaking looks like these days,

My main interest is the global wine market, so on my tours I pay close attention to this subject in the vineyards and in the cellar. Even in Germany I have met winemakers who are stepping out of the old style. A two-person outfit, their reasoning is not to pander to the export market but rather they want to express their preferred style. I personally like the breaking down of these traditions and I think the trend will continue. Although it's considered blasphemous in certain circles, I'm thrilled that bottles are being sent to the US from Germany that say "Pinot Noir" instead of Spätburgunder. It will make it a lot easier for wine lovers to discover their excellent Pinot Noir. (By the way, many producers age their Pinot Noir for 15+ years before releasing, which is very German isn't it?)

The term I use for South Africa and Argentina is "re-emerging" markets. I believe their wines today have been influenced by both new and old world techniques. Although it's tradition, it's worth thinking about whether these are helpful descriptors. The end of Apartheid has significantly impacted the wine industry in South Africa, whereas Argentina has a lengthy tradition of winemaking that is just now "re-emerging". I would have to write an article to fully explain my theory but thanks for the opportunity to comment in a nutshell.

As always Meg, your writing is stupendous.

Tai-Ran Niew

Very good post indeed! Really enjoyed it.

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