Editors' note: To close 2011, Palate Press: The online wine magazine will be featuring some of our top stories from the past year. Our fifth piece comes from columnist W. Blake Gray, exploring the idiosyncrasies of how the wine world defines sustainability.
Franciacorta has the most demanding standards for any sparkling wine region in the world. They're a substitute for tradition, because the Italian region has been in the bubbles business for only 50 years, which is nothing in Europe.
The era of buying wine that is meant to age is gone like the era of intentionally oxidized white wines and undetected TCA in wineries. Undrinkability upon release is seen the same way by the marketplace—as a flaw. And that's not going away.
Two Central Coast vintners walked through a pristine-looking vineyard last fall—it had no cover crop, a usual sign of organic or biodynamic farming—explaining why they use herbicides.
I spend many meals in fine restaurants these days trying to play defense against every passing server topping off a glass I don't want refilled. Let my guard down for a second -- laugh at a friend's joke -- and suddenly I have a full glass I didn't want.