Category Archives: Opinion

Equations & wine appeciation: Vindicateur

 Yesterday, I came across the French site Vindicateur, which basically allows users to search through a database of France’s “best” wines, which they’ve deemed to be “unanimously” loved by amateurs and professionals alike. With their “original scoring formula”, an “equation developed by a doctor in physics aided by an independent enologist”, Vindicateur has clearly gone for the rational approach: “it is understood that a slice of subjectivity necessarily enters into the appreciation of a wine: we have simply made it so that this slice remain as as thin as possible.”

Obviously, this statement places this site at the polar opposite of the Vimpressionniste philosophy: that subjectivity is the very core of wine appreciation, rather than an obstacle which must somehow be overcome. While they leave it to the site visitors to voice their own perspectives for the wine commentaries, I still feel a bit uncomfortable browsing through a list of wines featuring numbers. No matter how intricate an equation, can one really sum up a La Tâche as an 18,7*?

The Internet has the power to bridge the gap between wine lovers and should encourage discussion. Instead, our obsession with technicalities and buying guides seeks to end all conversations under the banner of clarity, and this saddens me to no end.

Cotton Candy – Müller-Catoir Rieslings

Context
As one of the more prestigious producers of Germany’s Pfalz region, the Müller-Catoir name alone had set expectations quite high for me. After a quick stop at their stand during the VDP tasting in Mainz last month, I was left slightly disappointed and decided to give the estate another chance, since a full day of tasting Rieslings doesn’t necessarily do the wines justice. So I dropped by the beautiful manor in the village of Haardt, just outside of Neustadt to taste through a dozen Rieslings, most from the very promising, but very young 2009 vintage.

Impression

 

What stood out for me overall was a sort of cotton candy, powdery texture on my palate, especially on the classic range -Haardt, Gimmeldigen & Mussbach- but also the terroir range’s single vineyard Herrenletten. The Mandelberg or the 2008 “Breumel in den Mauern” Grosses Gewächs felt much clearer and more elegant to me at this point however, and were the definite highlights of the tasting.

I’m wondering if this impression was due to an awkward sweetness which the wines hadn’t yet integrated, or if it was more of a texture which I associate with cotton candy. It would be interesting to re-try the ’09s  in several months, after they’ve had plenty of time to settle in the bottle and gain some definition…