Today I ride piggyback on two of my colleagues' recent blogs.
James Molesworth's thoughts on the past decade's global shift to riper, fuller-bodied, more flavorful wines sums up my sentiments exactly. There is too much hand-wringing by those who decry what they perceive as wines that are overripe and alcoholic. Well, those wines, call them what you may, are just a part, and perhaps only a small part, of a much bigger, ever-evolving picture.
I know that my wine-drinking buddies who may read this often roll their eyes when I extol the beauty of delicate, fragrant Rieslings, yes those 7 to 8 percent gems, wondering if I've lost it, "it" being my appetite for bold, expressive wines. No, I haven't. Wines are to be enjoyed and appreciated on all levels, and if the criterion is only the alcohol level, well, that's too narrow and singular a focus. Wine is to be assessed in its whole, which gives us a wide birth for determining what constitutes balance, complexity and appeal in each wine.
On the flip side is James Suckling, embracing a few wines from yesteryear and wondering if others too miss that style. He laments as well what he terms the trend toward "high-octane jam juice" made by vintners in his home state of California.
He ends up admitting he's been bitten by the bug of nostalgia (but also that he really does love some of those jam grenades) and that's healthy too. Would we all like to see perhaps more diversity in styles, as in better-made wines in a more restrained manner? I think so.
As I wrote a few days ago, looking back is as important as looking forward. It's enlightening to experience a great old wine that has survived and gained with time. But it's too easy to forget the sea of wines that weren't that good years ago and still aren't.
There's a bridge that connects the two editors' views and it's a link that connects our editors at Wine Spectator for the most part. At the end of the year, when we as a group sort through and discuss what we considered to be many of the top wines, the preferences for ripe, rich, complex and concentrated wines is on full display, whether they come from the Old World or New.