Another good post by Kramer

He’s been on a roll lately.

He’s got some tremendous points here. Curious what others think.

One of Matt’s better columns. And some very valid points, I think.

Thought you meant Ron Kramer…and I was almost like [suicide.gif]


I really don’t see me developing a loyalty for Muscadine, down here in the south, anytime soon.

Matt Kramer: As I looked around the large, elegant room where the big Bordeaux bash was held, I was struck by a palpable lack of excitement and enthusiasm. The Bordelais stood stiffly behind their respective tables, the men almost uniformly clad in suits and ties. It looked like a wedding reception where most of the family, who necessarily had to be there, would much rather have been somewhere else.

A Burgundy tasting in 10 years? 5?

Matt Kramer: Do you think Napa Valley’s success is forever? Think again. An erosion of emotion and consequent loss of loyalty can as easily overtake Napa Valley and its producers. Some say it’s already happening and will increase as the vast Baby Boom audience tiptoes into decrepitude and is not replaced by the equally vast Millennial cohort which, so far, has no apparent emotion or loyalty to the likes of Napa Valley.

Is this not as it is now? I’ve been exploring much more West Coast wine lately (see above re: Burgundy), but I simply don’t bother with Napa. Sonoma, sure. Santa Cruz Mountains, even better. Mendocino, Anderson Valley, El Dorado county, etc.

Why not Napa? Is it the tariff? The prevailing style or perception of such? The theme park music that goes off in my head whenever I think of it? I don’t think I can answer that without some deep reflection, but I’m not moved to bother. Simply. Not. Interested.

He reminds me of Crazy Guggenheim (from the old Jackie Gleason show) on speed!

I hate to be a contrarian, but I don’t think the article is terribly profound. Based on two data points, Kramer is suggesting that the wine world is being shaken by a lack of loyalty and excitement?

I can’t speak to Calgary, but in SF many wine lovers are taken with local producers and do not feel compelled to look to the Old World to find excitement. Indeed, the Old World is generally pitched as “traditional”, so what would be exciting about more of the same?

Shifts in consumer preferences tend to be gradual. In recent years Bordeaux pricing has continues to rise with seemingly no end in sight. Might this be the cause of the lack of loyalty/excitement, especially when coupled with what many have described as a disappointing vintage? Now add to it that in the US there was a backlash against Merlot (the so-called “Sideways effect”) and the ABC brigade and it’s no wonder why attendees weren’t doing backflips at the tasting.

I believe a lot has to do with changing taste. We have people that eat meat and potatoes 2-3 times a day. That’s all they eat. So if one day they start having fish or chicken, do we call them “disloyal” to meat? Some people have tired of simple cabs, especially those oversoften to make them drink now and unabusive. Same goes with some chardonnay. Many of my former big cab drinking friends are now buying far more grenache, syrah, and CdP type blends, than cabs. Much more variety in flavors and a new added zing.I look at it like this: I started out drinking German rieslings, and then developed a taste for an ever changing array of reds. I wasn’t disloyal to rieslings, I still love them, I’m just more well rounded in my consumption today.

Gordon – You touch on something that I was going to say before I got interrupted by phone calls. Much like our taste is changing with food, so too, the wines that accompany food are changing. I eat far less beef than I used to and in turn, drink far less Cabernet.

I hardly think I’m alone in this regard.

I’m having trouble deciphering whether this is a question being posed to consumers or a cautionary note to producers. Maybe its cleverly written and intended to be both or maybe I should just stop reading between the lines in every one of Matt’s articles…

Seriously though, and to Richard’s point, there’s a bit of a ‘whose next’ undertone throughout much of the article.

This was my favorite part:

Another segment also sees emotion: Wines made with practices that are typically called “natural” or, more specifically, biodynamic. This is a small audience, to be sure, but a highly emotional one all the same. Many otherwise undistinguished producers enjoy a loyalty simply because of how their wines are made.

That last sentence is great. I would go so far as to say some such producers are making distinguished wines, but that they stand out for their obvious faults which are treasured and called “authenticity”.

I think most of the loyalty Bordeaux has lost is gone because of changes in pricing and/or style.

There was no internet 30 years ago. No Winesearcher, Cellartracker, real time online inventory waiting to be plucked with a login and CC number, WB, and on and on…

All of this information changes how we think about wine and what we buy. A connection to the winemaker has really become secondary, maybe even old-fashioned.

FWIW I have thought quite the opposite, that he has been phoning it in lately. I used to really enjoy his editorial column, but have found that for a couple of years he has put out a lot of mixed messages, a lot of polemics on nothing at all, in short I’ve thought he should give up the column. Maybe its just me, but it doesn’t seem fresh anymore.

As for the column you linked, I find it better than most recent offerings. He seems to be suggesting that the romance is gone from the wine world. I think that may be true, and it may be just a matter of perception. The combination of information overload in the digital age, the loss of prominence of the celebrity critic, the backlash of Rudy-Acker-Hardy-Gate, and the end of the Parkerized era may have made it all less fun. Those who took up the new hobby might find it less lasting a source of joy than did the old school anorak. But also, doesn’t everything seem less fun than it once did for those who look for that in a thing?

I revert to my original point and suggest that Matt needs a break.

It is interesting to see some of my hidden fans come out of the woodwork. [snort.gif] [tease.gif] neener grouphug [middle-finger.gif]

My apologies. Had a senior moment. I was referring to Jim Kramer.

I would suggest there are a lot of interesting & reasonably priced wines coming out of Napa if you dig a bit. To wit: L-M Mondeuse, Mahoney Albarino,
Massican SauvBlanc, Forlorn-Hope Semillon and StLaurent, Matthiasson White, etc.
But if the label says Screaming something or Colgin…head for the door.

Loyalty is a two way street. When the big players in a wine region play their customers like marks in a con, what do they expect? There are so many great wines being made all over the place that customers who are priced out can just find something else. Don’t blame the customers for that.

I thought he meant Cosmo Cramer, but I guess that would be with a C not a K.

To whom?