Wednesday 14 March 2018

How natural wine killed the tasting note

I was on the Internet the other day, on a forum.

(Bear with me.)

Specifically, a thread on a Facebook group that turned into an argument about whether tasting notes have a place in natural wine. It got fairly heated.
Now, I know people are wrong on the Internet all the time; that one shouldn’t take them too seriously. And I know, don’t read the comments, but I just couldn’t figure out who’d come up with this stuff. Luckily an army of keyboard warriors were on duty, itching to set anyone with a different opinion straight. “Hell” they said, “I won’t do (or taste) what you tell me.”
Think about it. The tasting note. The audacity of it. So obviously a relic of the past – back from when the power rested not with influencers, but with the few. Of course it’s dead.
But times are different now everyone has their own blog. The world smaller, Instagram’s reach bigger. There’s no place for experts where we’re headed. I admit, they were knowledgeable those few. Proper professionals some of them. But that’s the whole problem: they wrote like it too. Shrouding the truth with jargon and obscure descriptions conjured up to make us feel stupid. I mean, what else are you to make of notes like, ‘tastes like a Patagonia night sky?’
No, what we need is fighters. Warriors willing to dedicate their days to the Internet CAPS YELLING for all that is natural, wild and free. The sort of people who just ‘get it’ – no critical questions asked. The do-ers who just do what everyone else online is doing. Those who won’t just go gently into the good fight but goddamn rage, rage against the machine (by which I mean Christmas music, Parker, the elite and, most annoying of all, people who genuinely get excited about what they’re drinking and start spewing incredibly niche, totally unhelpful tasting note “poetry”).
Natural wine is the next frontier and we need radical thinkers and concept-shakers. People who aren’t afraid to look the universe in the eye and ask the big blue sky questions: ‘Vintage chart vs. Insta-grid? Why string along adjectives when you can line up bottles? Why write a poem when you can snap a picture? Who has time for talk when there are trophy unicorns not yet captured on my feed???!’
The frontier is the future and the future is wine that is accessible to all! Wine by the people for the people, unless it’s from the Jura and then only for those with allocations. Wine with labels that look like they’re made by anarchists that no real anarchist could afford unless their parents take them out – again – for dinner.
Yes, I look forward to the future. One without people who know more than us. A future that’s open, more understanding and inclusive to all. And we’re getting closer. Even now we hold no secrets. We share everything (good) we drink on Instagram.

(Written for and originally published on The Morning Claret)

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