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11.06.2007

As The Wine World Turns

One of the things I like about the world of wine has to do with the people. On the whole, they're great. Wonderful folks are drawn to making wine, and spending time with them is one of the great pleasures of my "job" here at Vinography. I enjoy folks in the wine world so much, in part, because of how down-to-earth everyone is.

Yet for all the salt-of-the earth folks, the wine world has it's own small cult of celebrity. And occasionally, just occasionally, we get to watch them in all the glory of scandal, sniping, and good old fashioned rumor mongering.

Welcome to your next installment of.... As The Wine World Turns.

When we last left one of our stars, Georg Riedel, he was busy rolling out a new wine glass just for Oregon Pinot Noir, continuing to push the envelope of wine glassware to its final frontiers. These days, however, Riedel is making the news for his lawsuit against rival glassware company Eisch for its new line of "breathable" wine glasses, which, if the company's claims can be believed, better aerate wine than "ordinary" crystal. Riedel, of course, is suing just to save consumers from the awful fate of buying wine glasses that have more effect on the psychology of the drinker than on the wine itself. Maybe he should be going after the nose glass people instead.

Meanwhile, on the other side of town, the self-proclaimed Robin Hood of Traditional Wine Values, Jonathan Nossiter has released a book with all the extra thoughts that he couldn't cram into his 4 hour movie because he left in too much dog footage. Nossiter, of course, is the filmmaker behind the cinematic diatribe entitled Mondovino, and his second (albeit textual) installment of invective apparently attacks nearly everyone in the modern wine world, but he left extra special room for his favorite two targets, Michel Rolland and Robert Parker. And of course, they're not taking it lying down.

Speaking of Robert Parker, did you hear the news? Rumor has it that occasionally he uses cut and paste when publishing his wine newsletters. I know, I can hardly believe it myself. But I heard it from someone who heard it from someone else, who knows someone who's actually read the new unauthorized biography that Parker's former assistant (who allegedly perpetrated fraud while in Parker's employ) wrote about him. Apparently he really IS the evil mastermind behind everything bad in the wine world. Or at least he's a no good charlatan.

Looks like Fred Franzia has some competition for being the troll under the global wine bridge.

That's all for today, folks, but tune in next week when we might learn that Jancis Robinson has a deep dark secret, and Marvin Shanken isn't really who he says he is.

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.