Why most American (and a considerable proportion of Spanish) wine is crap

Don’t believe the wine pundits.

Check out HJH–which actually means His Joseon Highness–on Jim Holt on Jonathan Nossiter on, to a large extent, the disaster wrought by Robert Parker and his pretentious and pox-palated epigones:

Here is what [Nossiter] hates: rich, fat, sweet, super-concentrated, overripe, jam-dense, high-alcohol, oaky, inky-colored, vanilla-y wines with no sense of place or identity.

And Californian customs have spread. Just as I happen to know the best midday meal you’ll get in Barcelona costs 10€ and is in a bar no one has ever heard of behind a police station about four miles from the nearest tourist, I think it’s true that if you chart quality against price for the 2-15€/bottle range of Spanish wines (I’m talking supermarket prices) you get something approaching a normal distribution, with quality increasing up to about 8€/bottle and then dropping quite sharply as you reach the segment occupied by new, fancy-labelled, undrinkable Somotano and Priorat and whatever product (this stuff may be sippable-and-spitoutable for all I know, but that’s not what wine is about).

My favourite wine clocks in at 10% (so you can have a decent drink at lunch without getting shrewish or even shirrhoshish) and costs 0.75 a litre from the supplier, who brings it down the Ebro in something resembling a Soviet muckspreader and leaves it in any large receptacle you have to hand.

El Primo c/o the commental asylum tells me that Don Simón is good stuff, but you don’t necessarily want to trust anything he says either.

Similar posts

Published
Last updated 26/10/2009

This post pre-dates my organ-grinding days, and may be imported from elsewhere.

Barcelona (1366):

California (1): California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States.

Catalonia (1131):

Fashion (1):

Kaleboel (4331):

Natural history (512): Natural history is the research and study of organisms including animals, fungi and plants in their environment, leaning more towards observational than experimental methods of study.

Priorat (1): Priorat is a comarca in Catalonia, Spain.

Rioja (1): Rioja or La Rioja may refer to:

Robert Parker (1): Robert Parker may refer to: Sir Robert Parker, 1st Baronet, English politician; Member of Parliament for Hastings, 1679–1685 Robert Parker, Baron Parker of Waddington, British law lord Robert Parker, British dancer, principal dancer at Birmingham Royal Ballet Robert Parker, Wykeham Professor of Ancient History at Oxford University Robert Parker, lawyer, judge and politician in New Brunswick Robert Parker, English Puritan scholar and divine Robert Parker, electronic musician from Stockholm, Sweden Robert Parker, New Zealand organist, choirmaster and conductor Robert Parker, American R&B singer Robert Parker, Australian sound engineer and broadcaster Robert Parker, British water polo player Robert A. Robert B. Robert C. Bob Parker, British accounting scholar R. Robert Ladislav Parker, American geophysicist and mathematician Robert LeRoy Parker, birth name of Butch Cassidy Robert M.

Somontano (1): Somontano is a Spanish Denominación de Origen for wines, created in 1984, and located in the county of the same name, in the province of Huesca,.

Spain (1835):

Value for money (1):

Walking (264):

Walking tours (248):

Wine (16):


Comments

  1. The vanilla-y merlot and the smoked tempranillo (but the merlot especially, oh and shiraz too) – make me sick. Sometimes they just make the skin on my lips peel off (as happened after a couple of glasses of Mallorcan Murder a few weeks back). But don’t you dare go after grenache fuelled Priorats of my heart. Granted, every week there’s a new one and I’ve tried most of them and stick to what I know. Scala Dei (€9-10) and Les Terrasses (€20) are both very drinkable with a meal.

    But you’re right: you can quite easily pay a lot less than that for perfectly acceptable wine.

    By the way, tried a ‘gold medal’ Toro on Saturday night. Now that was a wine made for spitting out.

  2. Thanks, Trevor, for the link . . . even if this means that I’m now casting my lot with the anti-Americans and am thus a fellow-travelor of anti-American wine terroirists!

    By the way, did you happen to see my entry on “José Ortega y Gasset: “Europa es el único continente que tiene un contenido.”

    That could also be construed as anti-American!

    At least I’m doing well in Korea as “His Joseon Highness” . . . but that might just be the third anti-American strike against me.

    I guess I’m out.

    Jeffery Hodges

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