Wine Culture and Information since 2002 - Volume 20
×
Home Page Events Wine Guide Wine of the Day Aquavitae Wine Places Guide Podcast Polls EnoGames EnoForum Serving Wine Alcohol Test
DiWineTaste on Twitter DiWineTaste on Instagram DiWineTaste Mobile for Android DiWineTaste Mobile for iOS Become a Registered User Subscribe to the Mailing List Tell a Friend About DiWineTaste Download DiWineTaste Card
About Us Write Us Back Issues Advertising General Index
Privacy Policy
 
☰ Menu


   Share this article     Summary of Editorial column Wine Tasting 
  Editorial Issue 201, December 2020   
The Fault of Having no FaultsThe Fault of Having no Faults  Contents 
Issue 200, November 2020 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 202, January 2021

The Fault of Having no Faults


 Tasting wine in company is always very interesting. Of course, I am talking about friendly and informal contexts, with the sincere spirit of sharing a bottle with others. It often happens, in occasion of a meal, during which many bottles are uncorked – after all, each course wants its own wine – that the beverage of Bacchus inevitably becomes the subject of debates and comparison. Not only in regards the pairing with the specific course, but also – and above all – in the enjoyment itself, inevitably conditioned by the taste, culture and relationship with the wine each one of us has. This last factor, in particular, directs the discussion towards specific subjects and, above all, on the acceptability of certain characteristics of the wine, both in the case of faults, more or less evident or hidden, and on positive qualities. Depending on the ones with whom you are sharing a bottle – something which is always done with pleasure, regardless – the discussion, inevitably and obviously, mainly focuses on certain topics or aspects of wine.


 

 Of course, the opinion and thought of anyone is equally important and regardless of the role or relationship one has with wine: the vision and expectations a winemaker has, for example, are very different, and often distant, from those of a wine lover. They are of course understandable and legitimate positions: if we consider the respective opinions, for what they are, they prove coherence with the role. There is one thing, however, that makes me think every time we start comparing and exchanging views around a bottle of wine. Tolerance to faults and the ability to detect them always and strongly depends on the role and relationship that each of us has with wine. It could be said that it is a matter of experience, or of professional orientation, indeed it is not just that. After all – and this is an undeniable fact – the more wines you taste, the greater the “relative knowledge” on the practice of sensorial evaluation, which inevitably contributes to the development of a certain “culture” to the concept of an objectively shared quality.

 The thing that often surprises me is the relationship each one of us has with faults, regardless of the role and passion. Personally speaking, I reluctantly tolerate the presence of faults in wine, or – at least – those I consider as such, in particular when they depend on viticultural and wine making negligence. In my specific case, it is about those faults that are defined as such in the totality of wine making treatises, for example oxidation, “vinegary hints”, contamination and certain enzymatic or bacterial spoilage. Not least, also the side effects of the activity of certain yeasts, universally considered “negative” for the fermentation. De gustibus non est disputandum, used to say the sages of the past, who – centuries ago – recognized the indisputability of personal taste. As long as they remain in the personal sphere and are not imposed on others. Even worse, when supported by the arrogance and blind stupidity of those who are convinced of knowing the revealed truth which, coincidentally, is always and only theirs, indeed showing an opinionated ignorance.

 It is however interesting to see how certain faults, at least those I consider such, actually turn out to be extraordinary qualities for others. I am not talking about the inability to perceive and the skill to recognize faults in a wine, or at least those which, according to consolidated wine making criteria, are considered as such, rather the sincere belief that the perceived fault is, indeed, a magnificent quality. Even worse, in my opinion, when a fault is, not only tolerated, but even considered the indisputable proof of genuineness, not least, of honest and authentic wine making practice. Furthermore, the lack of faults, that is, a clean wine from a sensorial point of view, is often a reason for doubt, suspecting, not least, who knows what “abominable” artificial wine making practice and certainly made with the most sinister sophistication. In short, for many the fact a wine has no fault is a fault. A paradox which I encounter quite often and which, unfortunately, seems to be pretty frequent among wine lovers.

 Sometimes I wonder if this is the consequence of the evolution of taste or, better said, what the majority today look for in a wine. In case it is like that, in all honesty, I would say it is rather a regression of taste, as if it were a return to the past of about 30 years ago when, in fact, finding wines with certain faults was quite frequent. And when it happened to find such wines in the glass, the reaction of disapproval, not to say “disgust”, was almost unanimous. Today, however, it seems to me there is a greater tolerance towards certain faults, almost embarrassing ones, which are even considered qualities. Those who are capable of appreciating these faulty qualities always emphasize the genuineness of the wine, even worse, the indisputable sign of identifying qualities of grapes and of terroir. I believe, in my opinion, it mainly is the inability to recognize faults, not least, the increasingly frequent habit to ignore and not to train our senses in a conscious way, relying on superficiality which, undeniably, is less tiring and gives, with a little, the illusion of being erudite.

 In a society in which appearance becomes the foundation for the affirmation of oneself, claiming at all costs the role of being an “expert”, or presumed one, superficiality undoubtedly guarantees the glory of ignorance. I guess for some this can be considered as presumptuous or exaggerated, however, every time I hear someone turn a fault into a value, the famous words of Émile Peynaud, the famous French wine maker, undisputed father of modern oenology, always come to my mind. «It is you who in a certain sense “make quality”. If there are bad wines, it is because there are bad drinkers. The taste conforms to the roughness of the intellect: everyone drinks the wine they deserve». A statement, I'm sure, which may be considered extreme or even discriminatory for some, but which – personally speaking – I have always appreciated and agreed.

 To argue that a wine without faults is “faulty”, supporting the idea it is the result of “sophisticated” wine making practices, alluding to unspecified or indefinable “chemical” adulteration, is something that makes me smile. Especially for the banal consideration that, regardless of how it is made, wine is undeniably the result of chemical processes, for better or for worse. Even the very banal process of transforming wine into vinegar – an absolutely genuine phenomenon – is the result of chemistry. Perhaps, in all this time, I have not been able to adapt myself to the retrograde change in the taste of wine and I continue to reluctantly tolerate faults and consider them for what they are: faults. After all, I continue to be satisfied with little and with the joy of having in the glass – when it happens – wines having the fault of having no faults. And I smile, pleased and happy, thinking of Émile Peynaud.

Antonello Biancalana



   Share this article     Summary of Editorial column Wine Tasting 
  Editorial Issue 201, December 2020   
The Fault of Having no FaultsThe Fault of Having no Faults  Contents 
DiWineTaste Polls
Would you buy or drink alcohol-free or dealcoholized wine?


Result   Other Polls

 Share this poll   
What kind of wine do you like having in October?


Result   Other Polls

 Share this poll   
What is your daily intake of wine?


Result   Other Polls

 Share this poll   


☰ Menu

Privacy Policy

Download your free DiWineTaste Card  :  Test your Blood Alcohol Content  :  Follow DiWineTaste Follow DiWineTaste on Twitter Segui DiWineTaste su Instagram

Download DiWineTaste
Copyright © 2002-2021 Antonello Biancalana, DiWineTaste - All rights reserved
All rights reserved under international copyright conventions. No part of this publication and of this WEB site may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without permission in writing from DiWineTaste.