“So tell me where this wine is from.”
My friend swished, took a sip, moved the wine around in her mouth. “Malbec from Argentina,” she said.
“That’s really good,” I said. “I couldn’t place it, but that’s exactly what it tastes like.”
The catch? That the wine was neither malbec nor from Argentina, but a $10 red blend, mostly syrah, from Château La Tour De Beraud in the southern Rhone in France. That it tasted like it was made with a different grape from the other side of the world speaks to the increasing use of winemaking tools that make wine taste the same no matter where it’s from – the insidious International Style of Winemaking.
In one respect, this has been an extraordinary advance in winemaking, because it has tremendously improved wine quality over the past decade. It’s almost impossible to find a poorly made wine these days, no matter where it comes from. I don’t miss those green, unbalanced wines that tasted like battery acid.
The cost, though, has been high – wine without terroir or personality or individuality, something that was common even for cheap wine in the 20-plus years I’ve been doing this. After the jump, what this means to consumers and how to identify these wines.