Sunday, December 05, 2004



Some of the finest noses in the French wine world are snorting into their decanters over a new film which claims they are complicit in the American-led homogenisation of world tastes and the steady destruction of France's centuries-old tradition of "terroir."
"Mondovino", a low-budget documentary by American sommelier-turned-filmmaker Jonathan Nossiter, has been a surprise hit at the box-office since it opened last month -- pulling in some 200,000 viewers -- but the reaction among many in the wine-making establishment has been as sour as a corked bottle of chateau plonk.
"The most hacked off are the people with a great deal of power in the wine world: magazines that are hand-in-glove with the big Bordeaux dealers; multinationals with advertising and marketing clout. These people are very unhappy," according to Nossiter, who spent three years touring the world to make his two-and-a-quarter-hour sitrep on the state of the industry.
"There are some very powerful people who have done all that they can to censure the film. We have had a lot of libel threats -- which we are ignoring," he said in an interview.
Setting out to "take the pulse" of the international wine business, Nossiter uses it as a metaphor for larger issues of globalisation and the defence of local particularity against the standardisation wrought by mass commerce.

....The closest the film gets to a true villain is the renowned French consultant Michel Rolland, who is seen being chauffeur-driven around the Bordeaux vineyards offering the same advice over and again to anxious clients: "la micro-oxygenation."
Elsewhere the head of wine at the London auction house Christies notes how the classic Chateau Kirwan found overnight success when it hired Rolland's services to develop the wine. "Its taste became global. It's no more Margaux than (top-selling US wine) Opus One ... but it's selling. So what the hell can you say," Michael Broadbent exclaims.

The interesting thing here is how they are trying to hide the reality and point fingers. If terrior was that important, why did you compromise it and then blame us? talks, as they say...Why blame America when you are actively in it? Just another case of America being the scapegoat?

Mondovino is a very good documentary on the wine industry. Highly recommended !

Rocket French
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