I feel compelled to post this translation (mine) of Italian wine and food writer Angelo Peretti’s post, published today on his Internet Gourmet.
“The Essence of Wine is the Person.”
September 10, 2013
Over the last few days, I’ve read the many ideologisms scribbled in the margins of the deplorable story of a winemaker who keeps company with verbal vulgarity and racial epithets.
There have been calls by certain commentators, including some leading experts, for the wine to be evaluated on its own, irrespective of who made it.
Has the world of Italian wine come to this?
Perhaps it’s a romantic ideal but I remain convinced that the essence of wine is terroir and the essence of terroir is the person.
If we insist on judging the wine regardless of the person, the wine becomes a commodity — a mere product of consumption.
At that point, we might as well devote ourselves to carbonated soft drinks. At least we know that they are all technically identical.
This is wine criticism’s “betrayal”: when it casts wine’s humanistic roots into darkness and negates its spirit of place in the name of an Enlightenment-age ideal of the presumed objectivity of “taste.”
Please let us take a step back. Let us return to our roots and to the essence of being.
If wine proves unable to express this essence, we will have succumbed to the levelling embrace of global industry.
Image by my friend Giovanni Arcari, taken Sunday at dawn in his vineyard in Franciacorta. “The harvest is roughly 20-25 later than in recent years,” he writes.