A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away there is a New Hope and that hope is Faith. On that tiny speck of dust that is called Earth, there is faith. Not a faith in a New World Order, but in the common conviction of trust, loyalty, confidence, reliance and belief; the meanings of faith. What does faith have to do with wine? That is what Allison of Okiewinegirl has proposed that we write about as the new theme for our Monthly Wine Writers Challenge.
In the beginning, out of chaos “The Classification of 1855 for the Medoc” was created and that was the genesis of all modern wine writings. An ambitious and for the most part a classification of the Great Growths of the Medoc, which to this day is still holding up, with a few tweaks and a few questions. Trust was achieved by this list and it allowed the world to know that these country farmers had created wines that could be accepted as the best of the area. There may have been some complacency and then 1976 arrived. Trust was questioned and the and the world changed, and since then, new venues and new trusts have evolved.
Loyalty in the beginning was easy, there was France, Germany and Italy and a few other special wines that had years to develop a following. The Royal Loyalist Party could point to the Medoc, to Burgundy, to the Rhine and life was good. Then the Rebels appeared talking about Napa Valley and a lazy agriculture community blossomed and started creating wines which begat cults. Then in another far corner of the world an island by the name of Australia had been seriously making wines and they were discovered, and slowly other areas around the globe, stopped being laughed at, as they quietly made their wines in all earnestness. There was a new faith that change could be for the better. New loyalties were developing, some from a nationalistic pride and some because the wines were just true works of art.
As these new outposts of rebellion arose and honed their crafts, a new confidence appeared on the horizon. There were experiments with different grapes and some of those grapes that were originally only grown in one region for blending purposes, became singular and brought acclaim not only to the grape, but to the region. It takes courage and confidence to try something new as in the group known as the Rhone Rangers in California. That fussy little grape from Burgundy, the Pinot Noir started to thrive in other parts of the world, when I first discovered Burgundy, little did I know that years later I would revel and tell others about some great Pinot wines from the Santa Lucia Highlands or from Oregon. The confidence was spreading and vineyards would be pulled out and replanted with these interlopers and there were great new wines. Fifty years ago, so few of even the students of wine knew what a Cabernet Franc grape was and now it is a singular and lauded grape and the Loire Valley no longer has the secret to themselves. Faith in all that is good with the confidence to look forward has propelled wine in many different directions.
There is a new reliance to the wine drinkers around the world that they can still find charming wines without breaking the budget, or at times going for broke to enjoy the best that the word can offer. One can rely on South America to bring some full bodied and majestic red wines that can compete with the wonderful red meats that are grown there. I have come to realize that I can even rely on some great wines of assorted styles here in Michigan and in the old days, it wasn’t even thought of, except for some quirky sweet wines of questionable taste. The craftsmanship is abounding everywhere and there is a feeling of reliance on the new and on the old. There is a new faith that everyone is improving and working more diligently to offer more and better products.
Dare I say that there is a belief that one can go and buy something new and find another wine that will please. I say yes, as more wineries turn up, there is a willingness to produce a new winner, a wine that will get noticed and discussed. This may be one of the most exciting times in wine for ages. There will always be jug wines, but I have a firm belief that there will be more wines to entice and to rave about, as no winery can rest on their laurels. I have that much faith. I also have faith that a bottle of 1928 Calvet Chablis from Beaune that I have as a curio in the cellar is way past its prime.