Welcome & Comments/???

Author, winemaker, and innovator in the wine industry
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TomHill
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Welcome & Comments/???

#1 Post by TomHill » February 11th, 2014, 3:28 pm

Clark,
Thanks for coming here (once again) to share your knowledge with us on WB. Truth be told, all the blathering/bloviating
around here on Monktown attourneys gets a little tedious. I hope our discussions here will be on a much higher intellectual plane.
We actually met yrs ago when you spent several hrs w/ me at Vinovation explaining RO and when your MOx work was starting
to take off. That's when many of the wine geeks were ready to tar&feather you for what you were doing to Calif wine w/ RO.
You made a believer out of me. You'd have to have an incredible memory for irrelevant trivia to remember that visit, though.

Your book is one of the best wine books I've read in a number of yrs (along w/ JonBonne's). It's like Amerine&Roessler, every time
I read it, I pick up a few more nuggets of information. I'm in the middle of my 2'nd read now. Wish I could understand it more. Alas, I'm
not a chemist (although I do play one on DancingWithTheStars).

One of the things I particularly like about the book is that it's an honest attempt to bridge the gap betwixt academe/enologists and
us mere wine geeks. There is really not much of this being done. (Many) yrs ago, when I was trying to read a lot of the enology literature,
I did a visit at Davis w/ VernSingleton. He patiently spent almost 2 hrs w/ me answering many of what (to him) were my dumb questions. He was
(or is? I believe Vern is still alive) a true gentleman (as I'm sure you're aware) and a very class act.

A few other points:

1. You do hang out w/ a pretty diverse set of characters. RandallGrahm/RandyDunn/MichaelHavens/GideonBeinstock...some of whom are sorta
considered on the fringes. That's one of the things I thought was important..that maybe academics can actually learn something from some of those folks.
I, of course, am including you as an academic....though you seem to have your foot in both camps.

2. "Postmodern winemaking": That is a term I presume coined?? What has surprised me is that there doesn't seem to be much embracing of that term amongst people
in the wine industry, nor in the wine geek community, for that matter. Only reference I can recall to its usage was in an interview w/ PaulDraper in which he contrasted
his "pre-industrial winemaking", as used at Ridge, with, tossing out the term "postmodern winemaking". But he didn't ellaborate much on that latter term. Truth be told,
the winemaking at Ridge is pretty high tech (they even once tried RO, they use Leo's Enologix services to a limited degree) and the image they project of artisinal winemaking
as practiced yrs ago is a bit of a facade. I've not talked to Paul in over a yr, but I would be very interested in his (and John's & Eric's) take on your book. Better yet,
what I would really like to see is you & Paul sit down together and talk about winemaking philosophy, in front of a bunch of wine geeks. "Talk", not debate, as I'm sure
the discussion would be very cordial and there would be no fireworks involved, the two of you being the consummate gentlemen. DarrelCorti could moderate the
discussion. Jeez...I'd pay big $$$'s to see that discussion. Think about making that happen in some venue. Seriously.

3. "Soulfull wines": OK....this is a term you used throughout your book, but one I'm trying to wrap my arms around. I suppose it's like
minerality (though I'm not quite sure I understand fully your use of that term), or phenolic, or pornography; something that's easy to
recognize but damnably difficult to define. Would you be so kind to provide a list of a few wines that you regard as particularly "soulfull"??
Would you also give them scores on the 100-pt "soulfull" scale as well. [stirthepothal.gif] Would you call some/most of TonyCoturri's wines "soulfull"?

4. I believe you were offering us in the WB community some of your wines for sale? I'd love to try them. Can you direct me to that source to buy them??
Have they ever been tried in Monktown?? And???

Again, thanks for coming around here to WB and engaging us, Clark. I've got more questions to ask in additional threads.
Tom

TomHill
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NeverMind on #4

#2 Post by TomHill » February 11th, 2014, 3:38 pm

Found it over on your WebSite, Clark.
Tom

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Clark Smith
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Welcome & Comments/???

#3 Post by Clark Smith » February 12th, 2014, 9:04 am

Tom,
Of course I remember you. Your visit to Vinovation was a pretty big deal at the time, and your subsequent delving into the mysteries of the Diener series Syrahs was a real landmark of intelligent and honest inquiry was a model of skepticism at its best.

It really is a shame that wine geeks and winemakers have drifted so far apart. This is entirely the fault of us producers for soft-soaping what we’re doing for a quarter century.

I’m really not an advocate for the methods I employ – they’re just tools, after all – but I hope by relating one man’s perspective that others will be inspired to do likewise and get the conversation going again. What’s needed from the geek’s end is open, tolerant listening, and you have been a real hero in that regard.

I don’t know why “soulful” is such a stumbling block for some folks. To me, wine is liquid music, and at its best touches us just as much. People will vary in examples that move them, but you don’t become a wine geek without having at least one peak experience where a wine penetrated your being. For me, the ’64 Haut Brion was as moving as a Pavarotti aria, and just about anything Steve Edmunds makes stacks up against just about anything Laura Nero sings. This is our goal as winemakers; understanding how it works is the boobie prize.

Tony Coturri’s wines are very sexy, and the best can really transport me, but Tony likes it rough, and often as not they are a bit more S&M than suits my taste. That line between seduction and alienation is different for everybody. I respect Tony greatly as a pioneer; some who have come along later ring my bell more consistently.

Sorry you missed the BerserkerDay sale. For anyone who wants to try my wines, they’re available at WineSmithWines.com . The promocode IKNOWCLARK will get you 20% off on singles and 36% off on cases, solid or mixed. I know shameless commerce is discouraged on these boards, but how can we have a conversation if you don’t experience what I’m talking about?

Parker has managed somehow to completely ignore my existence for over thirty years. That works fine for me. A high score is very destructive to a winery. Like a storm at sea, it blows you at great velocity away from your loyal market, and after you have screwed all your friends, you’re left the next vintage to paddle back on your own.

Anyhow, thanks much for the gracious welcome. You da man.
ITB
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Wow....

#4 Post by TomHill » February 12th, 2014, 9:27 am

Clark Smith wrote:Tom,
Of course I remember you. Your visit to Vinovation was a pretty big deal at the time, and your subsequent delving into the mysteries of the Diener series Syrahs was a real landmark of intelligent and honest inquiry was a model of skepticism at its best.

I don’t know why “soulful” is such a stumbling block for some folks. To me, wine is liquid music, and at its best touches us just as much. People will vary in examples that move them, but you don’t become a wine geek without having at least one peak experience where a wine penetrated your being. For me, the ’64 Haut Brion was as moving as a Pavarotti aria, and just about anything Steve Edmunds makes stacks up against just about anything Laura Nero sings. This is our goal as winemakers; understanding how it works is the boobie prize.

Tony Coturri’s wines are very sexy, and the best can really transport me, but Tony likes it rough, and often as not they are a bit more S&M than suits my taste. That line between seduction and alienation is different for everybody. I respect Tony greatly as a pioneer; some who have come along later ring my bell more consistently.


Parker has managed somehow to completely ignore my existence for over thirty years. That works fine for me. A high score is very destructive to a winery. Like a storm at sea, it blows you at great velocity away from your loyal market, and after you have screwed all your friends, you’re left the next vintage to paddle back on your own.
Wow...you do have a memory for irrelevant triva, Clark. As a scientist (plain ole little country computational physicist), I try to keep an open mind. Which is what I did on RO.
I remember well my visit there in Sebastapol. We were tasting some of your RO'd Cabernet and when you started talking about "sweet spots" on the alcohol scale, my
BS antennae went into high alert. But when you blended together two "sweet spot" Cabs and the blend seemed pretty dull...made me into a believer.

I'm still working on "soulful". Ole Maynard must be turning over in his grave over a term like that, I suspect. Maybe it just takes a level of asthetics that I don't have. But your invoccation
of SteveEdmunds wines helps w/ my understanding. Maybe I'll figure it out in the sweet by&by.

What you say about big Parker scores is probably right on. But I would replace "is" with "can be". There are some folks (ManfredKrankl/MikeOfficer/Morgan Twain-Peterson, for some)
who are annointed w/ high scores from Monktown but haven't led them to being blown off-course. They treasure their early/loyal customer base and knock themselves out to get their
wine into the hands of people who will actually drink & enjoy the stuff. But others have not, I know.

More questions in a bit. There's a lot of fascinating threads going on here.

Tom

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Wow....

#5 Post by Clark Smith » February 12th, 2014, 6:51 pm

[/quote]
I'm still working on "soulful". Ole Maynard must be turning over in his grave over a term like that, I suspect. Maybe it just takes a level of asthetics that I don't have. But your invoccation
of SteveEdmunds wines helps w/ my understanding. Maybe I'll figure it out in the sweet by&by.

Tom[/quote]

If it helps, Maynard called it "The Come Hither."

If you get time, I'd sure love it if you could post your old tasting notes on the Diener Syrahs, which I cover in Chapter 25.
ITB
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TomHill
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Joined: July 28th, 2009, 9:21 am
Location: LosAlamos, NM

DoneDone..

#6 Post by TomHill » February 13th, 2014, 7:00 am

I'm still working on "soulful". Ole Maynard must be turning over in his grave over a term like that, I suspect. Maybe it just takes a level of asthetics that I don't have. But your invoccation
of SteveEdmunds wines helps w/ my understanding. Maybe I'll figure it out in the sweet by&by.

Tom
If it helps, Maynard called it "The Come Hither."

If you get time, I'd sure love it if you could post your old tasting notes on the Diener Syrahs, which I cover in Chapter 25.[/quote]

DoneDone...over in WineTalk.
Tom

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