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December 15, 2019

Pomposity? Insularity? Elitism? Take Your Pick! It's A NYT Trifecta Of Assholishness

Wine is a beverage, meant to be drunk and enjoyed. It isn't a virtue-signalling device or a talisman to ward off yahoos who drink beer and shoot guns. And a big reason why wine is better than ever is modern technology, modern farming techniques, and tremendous improvements in wine making. That is driven by the (relatively) free market in wine, which allows producers to satisfy particular demands without onerous regulations.

The proof is in the bottle, not on the label. If the wine tastes good and is priced for the perceived quality, people will buy, and labels be damned.

But that's not good enough for the vaunted NYT, which has never seen a mass-market product it doesn't love to mock.

Is Natural Wine Dead?

By now pretty much everyone on earth, save for those caught in a Yellow Tail time warp, has heard of "natural" wine. Made from organically grown grapes, with nothing added or taken away, these wines are no passing fad. They are a return to authenticity.
Authenticity? That's crap. Winemakers have been using whatever they can to make their wines taste good. And if that means adding some extra sulfites or some sugar if the grapes aren't perfectly ripe or herbicides and insecticides to increase the quality and yield in the vineyards, then that is fine with me.

In reality, the issue isn't businessmen trying to take advantage of a niche market to make some money, it is that the NYT has to separate themselves and their pseudo-elite readers from the unwashed masses, and one great way is to create controversies such as this to give themselves another way to draw a big bright line between them and us.

And yes...it is "us." You know, the people who buy wine because it tastes good, and don't really give a rat's ass whether it is "natural," or "biodynamic," or has a Gaia-loving esthetic among its winemakers.

"Natural Wine" means exactly nothing. A lot of those vineyards would be dead and gone if it weren't for modern viticultural and wine-making techniques. It's a marketing tool designed to attract exactly the kind of people who write and read the NYT, and has very little to do with the quality of wine in the bottle. Sure, some "natural" wines are good, just as some mass-market wines are good. But there are plenty of crappy "natural" or "organic" wines that taste like spoiled grape juice filtered through a hobo's sock, but they command a market and a price premium precisely because pompous asshats at the NYT tout them as something special. They specialize in linking banal, everyday events and products with some heightened sense of the world around us, as if the bottle of wine one drinks or the toilet paper one uses to wipe one's ass is in some way imbued with special powers to bring one closer to...something. Anything. As long as it isn't one of us.

With the world perched on the verge of multiple disasters, the battle to defend natural wine might seem to be an elitist fool's errand. We all eat, but we don't all drink, so not everyone connects with the idea of wine as an enduring, magical symbol of humanity. But that's in part the appeal, to me, of natural wine -- as a pure expression of honesty, nutrition, culture, poetry and connection to land, the recognition that each wine comes from a different place.
Wow...I have to give the writer credit, that is pompous, elitist, insular, with a soupçon of stupidity and ignorance all wrapped up in one short paragraph.


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posted by CBD at 12:15 PM

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