So I'm sitting in our rented apartment in Buenos Aires, waiting for Ruth to come back from an afternoon's shopping, so we can go out and consume massive quantities of beef and red wine for the fourth glorious night in a row. Don't feel like reading, so I turn on the TV and what should I find but a show called Vinos de Altura, which as far as I can tell is primarily wine and tangentially about food. How cool is that? OK. So we've got those kind of shows too, but it gets better.
Now they're interviewing the winemaker of Finca Bonita, Luis Asmet, about the details of the harvest. They're also interviewing a frikking lab technician, Anibal Monjes, about the chemical analysis of the wine and then about the olives that the winery also grows for making olive oil.
I'm far from fluent in Spanish, but I speak enough to know that this is not some wine country lifestyle show that has a ready-for-her-close-up cute hostess who just loves wine tasting and the wind in her hair, this is a show about the DETAILS of winemaking. These people are talking about PH levels and finer points of the sorting table and destemming. They're discussing the relationship between the weather during the growing season and the flavors of the wine. This is the real deal.
Why is it that America doesn't have a show like this? How is it that we must settle for stuff that rarely rises above the level of barely digestible fluff? And yes I've seen at least one episode of every spot they've got on the Fine Living Network and the Food Network.
This darn thing is even sponsored by the tourism board of Cafayete, Argentina where the winery is. How clever.
C'mon Napa, Sonoma, Columbia River Valley, Long Island, Santa Barbara, Oregon, why don't you pony up a little cash and get us a show on any network that will take us? As if Riedel wouldn't fall all over itself to be the official tasting glass of the damn thing.
I'll tell you what's wrong with America. There's a chasm between the people who read the glossy wine magazines and the people out there who are sheepishly but passionately ordering a bottle of White Zinfandel with their pizza in Des Moines. People would love to learn more about wine if they could only have a chance to do it without the intimidation and occasional pretension of the major wine rags and without the soft-focus Martha Stewart version of the wine country.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR READERS:
Print this page and mail it to every TV executive you know with the following note:
"I don't know this crackpot, but he might be onto something..."
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. 2015 Roederer Award Winner.Learn more.
I'll Drink to That: Karen MacNeil The Most Untrustworthy Wine in the World Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 11/22 I'll Drink to That: CP Lin of Erewhon Warm Up: New Zealand's South Island I'll Drink to That: Bob Cabral of Three Sticks Wines Warm Up: Rotgipfler and Beyond I'll Drink to That: Bernhard Stadlmann of Weingut Stadlmann Vinography Images: Last Light I'll Drink to That: Suzanne Mustacich
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune