Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What if the "Experts" Can't Get it Right?

Wine confuses enough people without those in positions of perceived authority making egregious errors that further confound. Readers of wine magazines ought to be able to take printed facts as truth. Mistakes can happen to anyone but editors must remain vigilant to avoid as many as possible.
I recently found a small clipping I saved a while ago and later misplaced. It seems a perfect time to share it before embarking on my new educational focus. Bear in mind that Oregon Wine Press focuses on wines from Oregon, not France. Karl Klooster writes multiple articles in each edition and I have never observed even small errors from him. Guess he saved them up for a while. No printed retraction or explanation from the magazine appeared.
The article, "Grand Time at Gerding," discussed a wine tasting presented by Southern Oregon Wineries Association (SOWA) and appeared in the November 2010 edition. Mr. Klooster makes multiple mistakes in the following sentence.
"Petite Sirah, which is known as 'duriff' in the Rhone Valley, is mostly used in southern Rhone wines such as Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Cornas." Never mind that Mr. Klooster incorrectly capitalizes the "S" in southern Oregon in the next sentence. He does not make the same mistake with southern Rhone. Never mind that durif is not spelled with two f's. Those could both be printing errors and are eminently forgivable.
However, moving a wine region a hundred miles south and misrepresenting the grapes grown in two appellations necessitates more attention. First, Cornas is a northern Rhone appellation, not southern. Second, the appellation produces only syrah wines or else they can not be called Cornas. No other grapes are allowed. Third, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, correctly identified as a southern Rhone wine, does not include durif as one of the thirteen approved grape varieties. A fourteenth will likely be added soon, but that is still not durif. The French viewed the grape to be of inferior quality and limited its use to lesser appellations. Very little is to be found in France at all anymore.
As the educational journey begins, I will promise to be as accurate as possible. While I can not promise perfection, I guarantee nothing this sloppy will ever appear.

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