Tag Archives: #MWWC20

Variety – Let’s Save It #MWWC20

26 Oct


wine-stain1-3There’s a self-abusive yet strangely entertaining monthly event in wine writing circles called the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge. This is #MWWC20, I believe. This month the theme is “Variety” as chosen by last month’s winner, Frank of Frankly Wines. I have been absent from the Challenge the past few months. Somehow, regardless of my shiftless lifestyle, I couldn’t make the time to pen an entry. Yes, that’s pathetic and not being a good community member. But, I’ve gotten up off the couch this month and am rejoining the gang.

When I hear the word ‘Variety’, I think of a variety pack of Kellogg’s cereal.

variety pakWhen I was a kid, we would trek to my grandparents’ cottage as a very, very special trip and vacation. One of the big treats for us was a Variety Pak from Kellogg’s. It had cereals in it that we weren’t allowed to eat any other time of the year – Sugar Pops, Fruit Loops, Frosted Flakes, I think there were other sugary treats too. You could eat them right in the box with milk. Very different than the everyday. These days, we might pick up a Pak for kids that visit the cottage but I’m afraid that they’ve buggered them up. Changing Sugar Pops to Corn Pops, putting in non-sugared cereals too – why ruin things? Why take breakfast cereals seriously?

But this is a wine blog and I digress. Variety in wine drinking is a virtue and I heartily support it. We should all drink many different types of wine from different sources. It helps us better understand the grape, the essence of wine, and the beauty of this beverage. There, I think that I’ve finished my submission for the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge – Variety in Wine is Good.. Yup, drink different wines all the time. As Jimmy Flanagan would say, “That’s the ticket.”

Here’s the thing: I’m in a bit of a rut. For the past six months, I’ve been fixated on Spanish wine. It started innocently enough with preparing for a trip this past September to Espana. I mean what better excuse to quaff to excess Riojas, Riberos, Rias Baixas, and Priorats? It’s not as if I haven’t had many of the other wines and appreciated them all before. Why not plunge into a region and a few different varieties of grapes and sort of specialize? I read bloggers who have titles for their blogs which scream ‘specialization’ not variety. Why should I care? Why should I throw off the shackles of Spanish dominance and drink every kind of wine from every region? Well let me tell you.

Think about it – wine may be the only food product that has avoided global brands. Let’s think (asking my readers to think twice in a paragraph is a good way to give them a headache) about that for a minute. No Budweiser, Guinness, Marlborough, or Coca Cola of wine. Oh, you can buy Bordeaux almost everywhere but it comes from Bordeaux. It isn’t made with exacting Bordeaux standards in Battle Creek, Michigan. Sorry, stuck on the Kellogg’s thing. That’s right. You can’t make Bordeaux in Michigan at a factory no matter if you grow grapes right beside the factory – well, particularly if you grow grapes right next to the factory.

chdarmA glass of wine is, by its very nature a product of many factors – specific climates, soils, traditions, vintage variations, and only then we might talk about production techniques. To paraphrase Jack Nicholson, “You can’t handle the truth about Cabernet Sauvignon in Pauillac.” It can’t be somehow magically recreated with Cabernet Sauvignon in Niagara. But, wait for it….here’s the link to the ‘theme’……that’s the way it should be. And, efforts to homogenize wine should be shamed and threatened with some awful fate that I can’t quite think of with my submission deadline minutes away.

scientistFood scientists and winemakers do put their pointy little heads together and come up with a way to make, dare I say, a ‘Woodbridge’ experience in South Australia. Add a little of this and a little of that. It’s good business to do this. And particularly fits the way that companies would pursue markets with other food products. Focus groups, trends, brand recognition stuff. It just makes sense.

It makes sense if you’re a shareholder. But, if you are a wine drinker, it’s just plain wrong. We should celebrate the differences and variety in wines made where they reside in a manner that reflects that place. Wine geeks talk about ‘the sense of place’ and terroir. That talk isn’t just for geeks. It is the thing that makes wine – wine. And what distinguishes it from Coca Cola. Well, that and the alcohol.


Wine Protest of 2015

We need to send a clear message to these folks. Fire a shot across the bow of homogenization. Repeat with me, “We are your customers and we value variety.”

Or vote with your pocketbook and raise a glass of wine that does’t exactly taste like all the other wine you drink. For crying our loud, if you love Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, pick up a bottle of Pauillac and celebrate the differences. Or, get crazy. Pound back a bottle of Chianti Classico with your spaghetti – that’s as it should be. You don’t eat a Big Mac every night, do you? Why drink the same wine?

Variety in wine is what makes it special. Viva la Difference!

Now, where is that bottle of Ribera del Duero, it’s only 10 a.m. but I’m thirsty and ………….in a rut. Physician heal thyself.



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