Jamie Goode: "There’s a coming Wine War" (interview)

I'm not going to advertise Jamie Goode too much, I'm sure you're aware he is one of the top winebloggers in the world and also a celebrated author and scientist. So I was excited when he sais yes to a brief interview. It's wine on brief, remember? 
(Romanian version here)

George Mitea: You are a well known wine-writter and blogger. But you are also a celebrated scientist. Your acclaimed work  “Wine science: the application of science in winemaking” is reference to many young winemakers and wine lovers. For the general public, I ask you, how should a good wine be made? Where is the thin line between industrial product and artisanal, crafted work of art?

Jamie Goode: I think you judge the wine on its results. Does it taste authentic? Does it express the site well? Is it an interesting, complex wine? The problem with many natural guys is that they are obsessed by the process. The process only matters if it helps winegrowers make good wine. Intention matters: if your intention is to make interesting, characterful wine with a sense of place, then you will choose tools that help you accomplish this.

GM: Parker said that we never tasted so much good wine as nowadays.  But there is a downside to it, we all know it.  I mean we taste all these jammy 90 pointers from Chile, Australia, even Spain or south of France that are very much alike despite being made from obvious different varieties.  Is there any way back from this “globalization” of taste?

JG: Yes, because there’s a generation of wine people emerging who love terroir and despise big international wines. Go to any wine region and you’ll find some people making interesting wine. Yes, bad wines still exist, and there’s a problem with over ripeness, but the good news is that people are aware of this, talking about it, and complaining about it.

GM: I know sustainable agriculture and natural wines are in our area of interest (a very good read in this respect is your Authentic Wine, co-written by Sam Harrop).  Do you regard the natural wines/terroir oriented movement as a passing thing or it will eventually grow and split the world of wine in two (big-globalized vs small-authentic)?

JG: I think there’s a coming wine war where vested interests, big money, will feel the threat from authentic terroir growers. It’s already evident in some wine publications who turn on natural wines and fawn at the feet of expensive Bordeaux properties and super-Tuscans. I think there is a split in the world of wine, yes.

GM: Do you think the plantations are spreading too fast and in regions that are not traditionally considered favorable? I mean Brazil, India, China…To me is sounds like growing oranges in Greenland. Not like there is a monopoly on vine-growing, but still…

JG: I’m open minded. If they can find interesting terroirs and make the wine sympathetically, then great. I think some bad wines have emerged, but there’s plenty of bad wine made in Bordeaux, Tuscany and Burgundy.

GM: Very few American wines are to be found in my country. Is US wine that good as seen on supplements like top 100 Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, etc., or those publications just back their national industry?

JG: Some great wines are being made in the USA, along with some bad ones. Sometimes the bad ones are really expensive.  There are style issues, for sure. But there are quite a few terroir-inspired growers making really interesting things.

GM: Romanian wine.  Tasted any lately? Liked any? Now, don’t be afraid to hurt our feelings

JG: Not for a year or two. I need to explore more. The ones I have tasted have mostly been solid commercial wines. Romania undoubtedly has some really interesting terroirs and there’s no reason it couldn’t make great wines.

GM: Are indigenous varieties the way out in the big world for a long struggling but stronger by the year wine industry like Romania’s? Or it’s just a cliché in the minds of obsolete, tired wine enthusiasts like myself?

JG: Depends on the price point. For fine wines, yes, indigenous varieties, provided you have good ones, are the way to go. For cheap wines to be sold in supermarkets, perhaps blends of a local variety plus and international one is the way to go.

GM: And finally. Do you think  Facebook  and Twitter are killing the blogs?

JG: I think they have taken quite a bit of attention away from blogs, but I have found them an excellent communication tool alongside my blog.


Nectar de Transilvania 2011 Liliac (Romania)

Producer: Liliac Winery (amb Wine Company SRL)
Origin: Lechinta, Romania (north)
Type: White, sweet, straw-wine,12,5%

Grape: Muscat Ottonel

Tasting Notes: Yellow gold. Intense aromatics of quince gem, mango and acacia honey. The taste delivers exactly what is expected of a straw-wine with 120 grams of sugar: rich, dense, smooth with notes of vanilla, lyche compote, sweet orange peel. The finish is honey like sweet with citrus tones.  

Other: Made from dried grapes. Matured a few months in oak. The enologist is Willi Opitz, well-known austrian winemaker. Price: 15 euro/demi-bottle.



Chardonnay Barrique 2010 Nachbil (Romania)

Producer: Nachbil (Weingut Brutler&Lieb)
Origin: Dealurile Satmarului, Romania (north-west)
Type: White, Dry, 13,5%

Grape: Chardonnay

Tasting Notes: Yellow gold with light green hue. Vanilla bean aromatics, musk, honeycomb, nuts, mellon, with heavy, creamy, yet crisp taste, reminding of sweet apple, compote mandarine, also lime, with an intersting, pepery finish, a happy blend of acidity, alcool level and the spiciness of barrique.

Other: Barrel fermented. One piece wine, powerful and big, with rigid, seemingly unbreakable structure.  Some years could add extra complexity. Price: 12 euro.



Fatum Rose 2011 M1 Crama Atelier (Romania)

Producer: M1 Crama Atelier (Premium Division of Murfatlar SA)
Origin: Murfatlar, Romania
Type: Rose, Dry, 13,8%

Grape:  Pinot Noir

Tasting Notes: Bright salmon rose. It delivers a mix of fruit (redcurrant, sweet and sour cherry, raspberry) and warmer, spicier notes- vanilla and cloves, going all the way to capuccino and  caramel. All packed up in refreshing acidity. The finish seems endless with candied cherries and a hint of chocolate.

Other: Barrel fermented. A truly unique rose, with red wine complexity, made by Razvan Macici, a well known romanian winemaker, also  Nederburg's Cellarmaster (South Africa). Artistic packaging and labeling, created by a fashion designer. 34 euros, magnum only, 800 bottles made.



Prince Matei 2007 Vinarte (Romania)

Producer: Vinarte
Origin: Dealu Mare-Zoresti, Romania
Type: Red, Dry, 13,5%

Grape:  Merlot

Tasting Notes: Bright ruby-red with young purple hue. Chocolate, smoked plum,  sour cherry, cranberries, parfumed dried petals, peppery on the nose, followed by friendly taste of rum chocolate bar and lot of black currants and well integrated notes of vanilla. 

Other: A real "rezerva", it is released at least after 3 years. Balanced, friendly, thou good aging potential. Aerate 30 minutes in a proper carafe. Aging potential-7-10 years at least. Price: 20 euro. 


Solo Quinta 2010 Cramele Recas (Romania)

Producer: Cramele Recas
Origin: Recas, Romania
Type: White, Dry, 13%

Grape: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Feteasca Regala, Muscat Ottonel, Feteasca Neagra (vinified white)

Tasting Notes: Straw yellow. Great aromatics. Floral nose (rose petals) with clues of exotic fruits and peach, apricot, apple, grapefruit and honey. Smooth, elegant acidity, with notes of grapefruit juice, apple, ripe apricot with a unctuous chardonnay barrique touch. The finish is long with a persistent taste of tropical fruit compote and lime.

Other: Drink now. Aging potential- 3 to 5 years, tops. Price: 19 euro. Both elegant and fresh. One of the best romanian whites, for sure. Best dry white at 2011 Vinalies Internationales!



Negru de Dragasani 2009 Prince Stirbey (Romania)

Producer: Agricola Stribey
Origin: Dragasani, Romania
Type: Red, Dry, 14.8%

Grape: Negru de Dragasani

Tasting Notes: purple red colour. Lots of spice, leather, tabacco and red fruit. The first sip reveals young tones of perfumed wood, sweet blackberry,  cherry and an interesting touch of huzelnuts. The finish is long and quite spiced. Not complicated, but has good body, it's high on acid and smooth tannins. The surprinzing fact is how well the high level of alcohol is hidden. Thus, a friendly, well made wine.

Other: Aerate for 30 min. Ready to drink. Aging potential- 5-7 years. Price: 18 euro. 

87/100 But scores big on autheticity.