Sense of Place and Varietal 'Typicity' Vs. Good Wine - What's More Important?

This question stems from a statement about a recent Bordeaux tasting - and this is not meant as a ‘negative’ to the poster who made the statement ’ . . . I’d be more for a wine that could be from anywhere that was better than anything over a ‘solid’ bottling showing typicity…’

Just curious what the general thoughts are on this? If you purchase a Napa Cab or a Bordeaux for premium pricing, do you expect it to show some sense of ‘place’?

What about Pinots? There seems to be so much said about ‘terroir’ with this variety, whether it be domestic of from Burgundy - would you rather have a ‘better’ wine that doesn’t speak of place than a ‘lesser’ wine that does?

Thanks for playing champagne.gif

Better wine always wins in terms of enjoyment.

Good wine.
There is a new vineyard nearby that is planted on what for generations was a dairy farm. The sense of place in the wines is OTT.

Good is average, good is a B. These wines are a dime a dozen. As I said in that thread, Kudos to you and other winemakers that try to make wine in a minimalist fashion so that it reflects what it is, its terroir and the vintage itself. I have no desire or need for ubiquitized, homogenized wines. I will take distinctive and honest over “tastes great” any day of the week.

I like a wine that tastes like what it is (sangiovese shouldn’t taste like cab, etc,). But, after that, if a wine doesn’t taste great - relative to its price - I’m not sure why I’d buy it.

I probably should change the title - and think I will - to better clarify this. It’s not only a sense of place, but also sense of varietal character that is important to me.

Try ‘the Prisoner’ and you truly have no idea what’s in it, but folks dig it. Or some high end Cabs - can you tell that they are cabs?

Discuss amongst yourselves . . .

I will drink and enjoy either, but the wines I truly seek and treasure are both. That’s what makes greatness.

Prisoner is wine, not good wine. Good = not bad Robert. I mean it can have all the sense of place you want but if it is nasty it’s nasty.

It is certainly a question that can be answered on many levels.

I’ll try this answer:
-You are served two glasses of red wine blind.
One glass You think You recognize. It has telltale Pauillc flavors, and Cabernet Sauv. And it’s just acceptable in quality.
The other glass is a much better wine! But you can’t place it, nor guess the grape(s). All because it’s a wine from a country You haven’t explored yet, -and made from grapes You haven’t tasted before. But it’s a superior wine!

In that situation, I would ask for more of the anonymous and better wine, and leave the boring Pauillac.
(And I love Pauillacs!)

The joy of recognition, is important, but You need a wide experience to enjoy it fully.

Kind regards, Søren.

Funny, I used to think that the Prisoner was good wine…back in 2004 when there seemed to be a bit of structure along with the fruit. However, it’s just not a wine of any interest to me at this point. Yet I’ve had some pretty horrible wines that “have a sense of place”. So if the assumption is that the wine will be a high quality wine…I’d prefer the wine to taste like where it’s coming from.

Good = Flavorful & Rich

Great = Above plus Balanced & Resonant

Some wines have the additional characteristic of being Distinctive.

Distinctive does not equal Great or Good … Distinctive = Distinctive.
A wine can be Distinctive but neither Good or Great.
Someone who likes the distinctive quality –or- the idea of Distinction may like the wine regardless.

One can speculate on the cause of the Distinction (eg. Terroir or winemaking techniques) but when you are
drinking a wine what is the difference ?

“Varietal Typicity” is IMHO a muddled concept.
Cabernet is quite different when grown in Calif vs. Bordeaux vs. Australia.

tough question. Burg geeks want good wines that speak of place. I don’t want anonymous wines.

When I buy a wine, I expect varietal typicity. And I want that wine to best express its region, e.g. an Anderson Valley PN should taste like it’s from there (recognizing there are sub regions with different profiles, but you get the point). But I also expect that wine to be good. So I expect both. I may choose to drink a “good” wine with no typicity, but chances are it’s not something I would choose to cellar.

I think distinctive wines are good. Why don’t you? Maybe because we are being anal about the meaning of good in the context of Larry’s question?

I think “being distinctive” is often a positive characteristic for a wine to have.
I don’t think it makes a wine good or great on it’s own.
Take Beaucastel as an example. For many decades it had a distinctive quality.
Those vintages ran-the-gamut of “great”, “good” and “not so good” but it always had it’s distinctive quality.

“Good” point!

A wine that is so-called great but does not reflect its place or varietal can never be considered a great wine to me. It’s a cocktail, a concoction. Think El Nido. Actually, bad example, that is a cocktail. :wink:

I think it depends. If I go to a store thinking that I want a barbaresco, I go in with an idea of what I want the wine to taste like. So in those instances, I think typicity is important.

Fill in that blank with many many wines, including many 'board darlings :wink:

I’ve never considered cocktail wines great. I think we agree. I have experienced wines that reflect their place and variety that are not great though. So I would choose great/good over typicity alone because it will always be better to me.