But if, perhaps, Uncle Sam did try his hand at winemaking, it's quite likely that it would be pretty shitty wine, and that I would have no fear of saying so here on Vinography.
Unfortunately, it seems that the freedom to criticize lousy wine, especially when it's made by your government, isn't exactly a considered universal right. At least according to the government of Hungary.
Hungary, of course, is home to some of the world's greatest dessert wines, thanks to the centuries-old tradition of producing Tokaji, a runner up for "the nectar of the gods" if there ever was one. Combined with some fantastic dry white wines, and a smattering of excellent reds, and clearly you have a country that (while a little under appreciated by the mainstream wine consumer) knows good wine from bad.
But according to Courthouse News Service, when journalist Péter Uj recently penned a column in a daily newspaper, referring to a wine produced by a state-owned winery as an oxidized, poor quality wine and that he was amazed "hundreds of thousands of Hungarians drink [this] shit with pride" the government convicted him of libel, and
threw him in jail. and made an example of him.
Thank heavens for the European Court of Human Rights, which probably performed its first and hopefully last good deed in the service of wine criticism, by overturning the Hungarian court's ruling, and delivering a legal slap on the hand: "Although [journalism] must not overstep certain bounds, in particular in respect of the reputation and rights of others, its duty is nevertheless to impart - in a manner consistent with its obligations and responsibilities - information and ideas on all matters of public interest... Journalist freedom also covers possible recourse to a degree of exaggeration, or even provocation."
The court ordered the Hungarian government to pay Mr. Uj's legal fees.
Too bad they didn't order them to make their wine better. Perhaps this little incident will also encourage some of Uj's countrymen to consider upgrading their house wines a bit. It's a shame to drink "oxidized shit" when you can have a nice dry Furmint.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
Vinography Unboxed: Week of April 20th, 2014 An American Perspective on (the Wine Scene in) Japan Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe, Chateauneuf-du-Pape: Current Releases Vinography Images: Rising Light Book Review: The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert The Beauty of 2011 Burgundy: Highlights from La Paulee de San Francisco Seven Percent Solution Tasting: May 8, San Francisco Vinography Images: Autumn Cellar Vinography Images: Vines and Sky Are You a Red, Pink or a Purple Wine Stater?
Masuizumi Junmai Daiginjo, Toyama Prefecture Wine.Com Gives Retailers (and Consumers) the Finger 1961 Hospices de Beaune Emile Chandesais, Burgundy Wine Over Time The Better Half of My Palate 1999 KirÃ¡lyudvar "Lapis" Tokaji Furmint, Hungary What's Allowed in Your Wine and Winemaking Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Appreciating Wine in Context The Soul vs. The Market 1989 Fiorano Botte 48 Semillion,Italy