Vine Talk: Falling in love with reds from the Loire

Tue Sep 28, 2010 6:07am EDT
 
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(Felix Salmon is a U.S.-based financial journalist and a Reuters blogger here. The opinions expressed are his own)

By Felix Salmon

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - The revolution in winemaking technology, which started in Australia and rapidly spread throughout the world, has been unambiguously good for wine drinkers.

It brought reliably good wine at very low prices, and ushered in a refreshing wave of democratization. There is nothing wrong with producing consistently good wine for the mass market.

But something is lost when wine is made by science rather than nature. Next year's wine will taste exactly the same as this year's wine, even if the grapes are sourced from vineyards hundreds or thousands of miles away from the areas used last time around.

And regardless of where it comes from all the wine will taste very similar: it will be fruity, quite alcoholic, easily drinkable without food, a little bit sweet with low acidity and, probably, a good amount of oak.

If it's red, it'll have soft tannins, too: enough to provide some structure, but nothing to pucker your mouth.

Wine can and should be a living, breathing thing -- an agricultural product which changes from vintage to vintage, which expresses individuality and true character.

There is no shortage of great wines which fit that bill. To discover how variable wine can be, there's only one place to go: the Loire.   Continued...

 
<p>A waiter serves a glass of red wine during a tasting session at Vinexpo Asia-Pacific, the International Wine and Spirits Exhibition for the Asia-Pacific region, in Hong Kong in this May 28, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Victor Fraile</p>