Do AFWE and IPOB describe the same style of wine?

Maybe this is a dumb question, but can the terms be used interchangeably?

I know that the acronyms originated differently (Anti-flavor wine elite was coined by RMP and is gleefully used by his detractors; In pursuit of balance is a trade group that seeks to promote dialogue around the meaning and relevance of balance in California). I realize that IPOB is more limited in scope than AFWE by its focus on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay whereas AFWE can refer to any grape variety.

But do AFWE and IPOB point to the same wine style?

That;s a great question - and I can’t wait to hear what the WB members have to say. It’d be interesting to pose the same question to other ‘wine geeks’ outside of this board as well and get their impressions.

I do see there to be an incredible cross over between the acronyms, but, as you point out, IPOB really has focused on Pinot and Chardonnay only. My guess is that IPOB will strive to expand the varieties covered, but I’m not ‘in the know’ so I’m not sure about that . . .


I think there are commonalities, however I personally don’t use the terms interchangeably. I perceive AFWE to have a greater emphasis on terroir while IPOB to be more focused on a wine’s structural aspects. I also feel sense of place is more definitive than balance, which varies from palate to palate. I’m curious to read others’ interpretation though.

I vote that they are synonyms, in that both are somewhat nebulous, but describing the same idea.

AFWE is, of course, ironic.

Mike, I realized I never actually answered your question, I personally don’t consider them to describe the same styles of wines. Not intentionally at least.

I find both of these terms problematic, and I think it’s because they’re both reactionary - they identify themselves by what they’re not. They’re not gloopy, overextracted, flabby, raisined, over x percent alcohol, “parkerized,” etc. But both camps seem to emphasize austerity and leanness as if underripeness is the proper corrective for overripeness. Is a Dashe Dry Creek zinfandel an AFWE wine because it’s made in a restrained style, or can no zinfandel ever be AFWE as long as it actually has fruit flavors? As far as I can tell both acronyms point towards a similar style, but I don’t think either one has done a great job defining what that style really is.

Trying to get a Berserker to agree on anything is futile, we cannot even spell WineBerserkers correctly most of the time. [oops.gif]

This post is ridiculous! :wink:

This is what triggered the question. I think IPOB does point towards something (somewhat vague though it may be) and AFWE points away from something (RMP’s hegemony). In so doing, however, I think they manage to point in the very same direction.

It all depends on your perspective. From where my taste buds sit, I would say that very few IPOB wines qualify as AFWE. That’s a serious response.

Please explain.

To me, IPOB is a domestic subset of the AFWE. I think Wells and Pax doing a complete 180 from their Parker roots, pursuing balance, by definition, makes them part of the group Parker coined, no?

Many of the producers who pour at IPOB make very intense and flavorful wines. But they typically avoid crossing the line to more extreme ripeness levels. To Parker, they would largely be categorized as AFWE. To me, they are mainstream. And relative to Burgundy, some, or even many of them would be considered quite ripe and voluptuous. It’s a very wide continuum, and where you place the boundary of AFWE, over-ripeness, and balance can and will vary widely across the spectrum of wine drinkers.

And another thread gets the stamp of “if it’s not like Burgundy, it’s mainstream (used as a pejorative).”

What is IPOB?

Read the OP.

I think it means “in pursuit of balance.”

Ahhh … so you hold AFWE to a “higher standard”!

More questions - are there no “ripe and voluptuous” wines made in Burgundy?

Are there any IPOB wines that meet your AFWE standards?

If this was taken from my post above, you misread. That is not what I was trying to say at all. I drink a lot of Burgundy, and also my share of California. Perhaps using the term “mainstream” was a mistaken choice, it was not meant in a negative way.

Absolutely there are, particularly in certain vintages (2009 being a good recent example). And I don’t have AFWE standards, I consider the term to have little useful meaning. There are balanced wines that meet my “standards” (i.e., what I find enjoyable to drink) across the range. I actually think both terms are misguided - there are plenty of very “lean” wines that don’t have a lot of intensity (e.g., Trimbach Riesling Frederic Emile probably qualifies) but are incredibly balanced and delicious, to the right taster. Other wines (such as Carlisle and Bedrock) clearly don’t fit the AFWE category (I think that’s safe to say) most of the time, yet they can more often than not be just as balanced. I’m trying to say that the line drawn by any individual taster for each of these terms will be very different - not only for the taster, but for the relative positions of the two “lines.”