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Mondovino starts at E Street Cinema next week. Does anyone have any interest in seeing the film than having a wine-intensive dinner?

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Mondovino starts at E Street Cinema next week.  Does anyone have any interest in seeing the film than having a wine-intensive dinner?

Yes!

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From what I have heard the movie was not that good. Has anyone seen it that can provide some info?

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Anything that can create such shock in the French wine community is worth viewing. We get so few movies about wine anyway.

Also, I strongly agree with the director's anti-homoginization stance.

From what I have heard the movie was not that good.  Has anyone seen it that can provide some info?

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From what I have heard the movie was not that good.  Has anyone seen it that can provide some info?

I saw the preview at the Freer Gallery several weeks back. The film, as a film, is a failure - it's boring and disjoint. Not many people care more about terroir and anti-globalization than I do, and so I was wanting to love Mondovino, but quite frankly the only entertaining part was when Pierre Rovani got into an argument with Jonathan Nossiter during the post-film panel discussion. Now that was fun!

There's an open letter written by Nossiter, and a long subsequent discussion, on Robert Parker's website here.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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I saw the preview at the Freer Gallery several weeks back.  The film, as a film, is a failure - it's boring and disjoint.  Not many people care more about terroir and anti-globalization than I do, and so I was wanting to love Mondovino, but quite frankly the only entertaining part was when Pierre Rovani got into an argument with Jonathan Nossiter during the post-film panel discussion.  Now that was fun!

There's an open letter written by Nossiter, and a long subsequent discussion, on Robert Parker's website here.

Cheers,

Rocks.

Thanks for the link, Rocks. I now have a new signature.

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Mondovino starts at E Street Cinema next week.  Does anyone have any interest in seeing the film than having a wine-intensive dinner?

When I read this it says, "Mondovino starts at E Street Cinema next week. Does anyone have any interest in bagging off work for a movie then getting three sheets to the wind over dinner?" Is this what you mean?

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When I read this it says, "Mondovino starts at E Street Cinema next week.  Does anyone have any interest in bagging off work for a movie then getting three sheets to the wind over dinner?"  Is this what you mean?

That's the way I interpeted it.

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Hm...would wine be too acidic to put in a flask? Can see it reacting with the metal, depending on what it was made of.

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You'll need a pillow, too.

Seriously, if you can't predict every line in this flick after about five minutes, then you're not trying hard enough.

And the cut we saw was two-and-a-half hours long. Now I hear there's a shorter cut flying around, but that was far longer than too damn long.

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I saw the preview at the Freer Gallery several weeks back.  The film, as a film, is a failure - it's boring and disjoint.  Not many people care more about terroir and anti-globalization than I do, and so I was wanting to love Mondovino, but quite frankly the only entertaining part was when Pierre Rovani got into an argument with Jonathan Nossiter during the post-film panel discussion.  Now that was fun!

There's an open letter written by Nossiter, and a long subsequent discussion, on Robert Parker's website here.

Cheers,

Rocks.

What a pleasant euphemism, Don. "Long subsequent discussion" really means the usual wine thugs on eBob got to spout off again. OOPs, I could get in trouble for saying that. :lol:

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What a pleasant euphemism, Don. "Long subsequent discussion" really means the usual wine thugs on eBob got to spout off again.  OOPs, I could get in trouble for saying that.  :P

Like Don, I was at the screening at the Freer, and in fact was sitting right in front of Pierre Rovani. As he (Pierre) noted, Wine Spectator refused to have anything to do with the movie or to be involved in the panel discussions. While I did not think that it was a particularly good movie, too long, disjointed, and definitely onesided in its view, it was fun to watch the discussion. I can't agree with all of Pierre's points about the movie in his discussions on ebob, I think he makes some arguments that are not on point about globalization, especially the cheese anology, for the most point it was pretty accurate. However, Nossiter held his own, both in the discussion after the movie and in the subsequent mugging on ebob. He has his point of view and it is his movie. Like DCMark said, anything that can create such shock in the French wine community is worth viewing, if only to see what all the fuss was about. However, I hope he did some editing to make it more watchable.

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Mondovino starts at E Street Cinema next week.  Does anyone have any interest in seeing the film than having a wine-intensive dinner?

I caught this movie this weekend. Netflix rocks :P Anyway, I thought it was, overall, a good documentary. A few issues- The editing could have been better. At times, there were long segments of near-irrelevant material. The film was too long, period. But - it did raise some issues that I was not really aware of before, the globalization/homogenization/Parkerization of wine vs. a terrior-driven product.

The old French codgers are the ones crying out against the homogenization by these consultants, and the younger, profit-driven upstarts now taking over the business (who are noticably scared of Parker and cater their wines to him, despite their claims to the contrary), along with Rolland, are the ones creating this trend.

I thought it was very thought provoking and very indicative of the overall trend of globalization being seen in any number of industries.

On a sidenote - Has anyone had any of the aforementioned old codger's wines? Domaine de Montille, and Domaine Gassac?

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On a sidenote - Has anyone had any of the aforementioned old codger's wines?  Domaine de Montille, and Domaine Gassac?

But of course. :P

de Montille makes very good Burgundy, his red Bourgogne being an affordable introduction to his gentle style of winemaking - fairly recently, I purchased a few bottles of the 2001 and 2002 from Calvert-Woodley, so you might want to call them to see if they have any left (get the 2002!). As for Mas de Daumas Gassac, well, as my friend John Gilman once said in a drunken stupor, strumming the guitar and singing an impromptu tune he called No Mas and having us howling with laughter: "I'd rather take a Cossack, than a Gassac, home tonight."

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Interesting article about the director here:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7270489/

Also, my friend Neal Rosenthal, the wine importer, comes off very well in this film.

He is encouraging people who care about these issues of globalization and homogenization to see it.

This is from a very nice Newsweek piece about him in 2003:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3069237/site/newsweek/

Neal is quite literally in the vanguard of "terroir-ists".

To read his concept of terroir, go here: http://www.madrose.com/htmlIndex.html

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I finally saw Mondovino last night and came away from the film feeling rather depressed about the wine scene in general.

The strength of the film is that it allows interpretations based on various dichotomies of the wine world: globalization vs. regionalism; big business vs. small producers; new American money vs. old European tradition; rationalism vs. romanticism. Nossiter has also been criticized for a bias toward the latter half of all these dichotomies. I don't think there's any doubt where his feelings lie, but generally his approach is simply to let people talk about wine in the way that comes naturally to them. When they do, it's very difficult to have a great deal of hope for the future of wine as a drink that says something unique and profound about the people and the land that produce it.

So we have Michel Rolland being chauffeured in his Mercedes through the French countryside like an itinerant doctor, prescribing micro-oxygenation to "winemakers" who have left the task of making wine essentially up to him. The arrogance of this man, especially his disdain for small producers who cling to the notion of terroir ("hicks," "peasants"), is sad to behold. His “good friend” Robert parker is interviewed in his home in Maryland. What was arrogance in Rolland becomes a peculiarly American brand of zealous anti-elitism in Parker, which in the film almost seems to spring from some deep-seated resentment and sense of inferiority in the former Maryland farm boy. I found it also rather unsettling that the single most influential wine critic in the world lives with a farting bulldog in a home that looks like it came out of a John Waters movie. Nossiter also introduces us to adherents of the Parker/Rolland approach in France, Brazil, and Italy, who wax nostalgic for the likes of Mussolini and Peron. In California we meet the Staglins, whose notion of terroir does not seem to go any deeper than how they’ve landscaped their estate. I found the breathtaking shallowness of these Napa “winemakers” to epitomize everything that’s wrong about big wine, especially in the US. The Mondavis come off looking little better.

The few rays of light in this dreary landscape are shed by small producers in Italy and France who have resisted the homogenization of wine (including collaboration with Mondavi) and cling to wine as the product of a unique history, place, and culture. When they talk about wine, you want to sit down with them and have a few glasses. Their views are forthright, uncomplicated, and sincere; they are not surrounded by press secretaries. They worry about the future of their wine in the hands of their sons and daughters and its vulnerability to the homogenization proselytized by the likes of Parker and Rolland. One of the most revealing aspects of the movie is that these old, aristocratic wine-producing “elites” show more honesty, integrity, and modesty in their approach to wine than their self-consciously anti-elitist counterparts in America and elsewhere.

The message of this film can be summed up in the remarks Michael Broadbent made in a segment that was unfortunately all too short: It’s preferable to drink an average wine with regional character and style, that says something about where it comes from and who made it, than a technically polished wine that could have been made anywhere.

Edited by Banco

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It’s preferable to drink an average wine with regional character and style, that says something about where it comes from and who made it, than a technically polished wine that could have been made anywhere.

Another examination of the same issue from one of my favorite importers: Dressner on Blind Tasting.

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And Off topic to be sure as I have not seen Mondovino. But you posters got me started. Why the hell should we be expected to drink a single style of wine just because Laube or Suking or Parkjer like that style? And now we have Leo Mcloskey (who never was a great winemaker when he actually made stuff and didnt regress spectrgraphic data against reviewers' scores) making a fortune telling Sonoma Cabernet Growers to make their wines taste like Napa. Sorry Patrick Campbell (Laurel Glan) you've been a dumbshit idfdiot all these years making a Sonoma cabernet that actually tastes freaking different! Where did you get the farking nerve????????????

Wine is meant to be fun and a process of discovery. If you want something that tastes the same every day (and probably tastes like swill everyday) drink a farking bottle of Johnny Walker scotch. Of course it has nothing to do with real scotch any more than Yellowtail has to do with real chardonnay! What Yellowtail does have is marketing dollars, coupons and timid wine buyers willing to shill for the big money guys. Do you think the owner of Yellowtail actually drinks that bloody kangaroo piss when he dines out at fine restaurants?

I just put a wine on the list, a Carema from Luigi Ferrando. It is funky, earthy, tannic. The tanniins aren't any of this "fine soft tannin" because that would be BS in Carema, a cool growing area. Hes not trying to make a Barolo. The wine is kick ass and guess what? It tastes different than Barolo. Its really good. I wouldn't drink it every night but it is wonderful with rich and fatty meats. Thanks to Neal Rosenthal for marching to his own drummer!

I don't read the Spectator/Parker/Tanzer. I never let a sales person tell me any scores. I actually throw out sales people who quote scores. I don't look for international styled wines, but wines that have something to say about WHERE THEY WERE MADE!

That doesn't mean I don't have cabernets or merlots from Tuscany on my list (I do). But I also have a malavasia nera & colorino blend made by an 18th century production process. And funky as hell tasting Carema. And 20 Brunello's: not one from Banfi! And every day I have 19 people telling me they love our wines for every one person who has a complaint about the obscurity or weirdness of our program.

Once upon a time, a winery named Bonny Doon made quirky and wonderful wines. There were hard to get. They were amazing. Then they started using wine press to sell their wines. I railed against it. I told them that if they resorted to hype instead of just pouring out the farking wine, we were in for trouble. WHile they still make some fun wies, they are no longer what they were. Now they are more known for fun lables than for amazing wines. Yes, they are still at the higher end of the commercial, but they are a box mover these days. Too bad.

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I've seen the film. I thought it was mildly interesting, rather primitive agit-prop, and that the director should study with Michael Moore before he makes another documentary. I've read all sorts of anti-Nossiter, pro-Nossiter, pro-Parker, Parker-bashing, Neal Rosenthal is the Messiah stuff here and in other places. Both camps have positions that have some merit. The concept of anti-corporate, artisanal holdouts certainly is romantic. The problem is, there are a many who are making good wine and just as many, if not more who are not. In the '80s, Parker was the kid proclaiming that the emperor (ie. many high-end bordeaux producers) had no clothes. They were selling a name and a label, and filling the bottles with swill. Sounds kind of like what Yellowtail is doing now. By focusing on what was in the glass, Parker almost single-handedly caused the French wine industry to clean up its act. The concept of terroir is commendable, but as far as I can tell, the term is often used to sell thin, sour, tannic or off-tasting wine. I don't have a wine cellar in which to lay down old-style bottlings that need six or ten years to turn into something drinkable. Nor do I have a budget that allows me to take a lot of chances and buy things that I may or may not enjoy. Most people are like me, and that explains the rise of the critics and the consultants. I attended a tasting of artisanal Burgundies where there was maybe one wine out of fifteen that I could see myself enjoying. Forget about buying--I couldn't afford any of them. But example after example was thin, insipid, sour stuff. I'm afraid that my taste runs to mouth-filling fruit. If I want a thin, sour beverage with my dinner I'll drink lemon water. I don't like everything Parker recommends--I have a few importers whose name on a back label is what I look for. Neal Rosenthal isn't one of them.

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The Economist recently reviewed a number of wine books. The reveiw includes many of the arguments discussed in Mondovino, with a similar cast of characters: click here

"Parkerisé" is bound to figure prominently in my tasting notes from now on--unfortunately.

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The movie seems at first to have a clear "good guy, bad guy scenario" with small producers being the good guys and large global wine companies, wine critics and consultants being the bad guys. But this is the wine world, which is not very representative of other main line industries. Wine is a very personal product - there are approximately 50,000 different wines produced for the retail marketplace every year. Compare that to other products/services such as the number of beers (closer to the 100's), and the number of retail products available on American grocery shelves like cereals (in the 100's), etc.. my point is that Nossiter tries to make a clear dichotomy, but the reality is it is NOT that clear: Mondavi produces wines from a specific terroir and partners with other famous winemakers to make top wines - take the tour of Opus, and it doesn't feel like an industrial manufacturing giant, just the opposite, it's very snooty, insular, and particular about the way they make wine - kind of like the "good guy" French producers... And Robert Parker is the most influential wine critic because he rates wines with renowned consistency and somewhat of an objective rating system, when originally wines were rated by former English private schoolboys with starched collars who put "pedigree" and "character" before "taste"...

So who is right? This is what makes the movie great - it is edited very poorly and is totally biased, but it brings awareness to the wine world (like "Sideways") and it asks deep questions about moral and ethical issues. Will the general public care? Probably not in the US with overall such poor knowledge of wine by consumers here that frankly 2 Buck Chuck wine could be transplanted into a $50 bottle, and American consumers who could afford it would proclaim it one of the world's great wines! Frankly, 2 Buck Chuck and Yellow Tail are probably the best things that have occured to the US market from the perspective that more Americans are now being introduced to "dry" wines that are affordable and available on the supermarket shelf. Nossiter's "good guy" producers are such perfectionists at producing "wines of terroir" that most American consumers can't afford them, so they make very little impression at all. So the movie is basically a fun exercise for wine people in the industry, but is most likely unimportant and unrecognized by the American wine consumer who is just looking for a good bottle of wine!

And Robert Parker doesn't really make a very good Bad Guy, he really just enjoys Big Robust Style wines!

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