Filmmaker Jonathan Nossiter launches a new book tonight, exhaustively revisiting many of the issues examined in his 2004 documentary Mondovino.
The 432-page Le Goût et le Pouvoir (Taste and Power), reprises criticisms – first aired in Mondovino – of Robert Parker, Michel Rolland and others.
It also attacks just about anyone involved in the production or sale of wine, according to Manuel Carcassonne, editor-in-chief at Editions Grasset, the book’s publisher.
These are people who hinder ‘the expression of individual taste,’ Carcassonne told decanter.com. ‘That also means sommeliers, shop owners, supermarket wine sale representatives, as well as critics.’
Nossiter writes that ‘we live in a strange era characterized it seems by a voluntary and collective abandonment’ of individual taste.
‘[Winemaking] parameters are dictated by an international taste and by champions of this taste – including Robert Parker, The Wine Spectator and certain Spanish critics like José Peñin. They are then produced by taste bureaucrats like Michel Rolland and hundreds of indigenous enologists like Telmo Rodriguez,’ says Nossiter in the book.
Nossiter praises acidity in wine – suggesting it is ‘like light in a film…the quality which animates the wine.’
He dubs wines that are too fruity, alcoholic and rich ‘Prozac wines’, and attacks ‘intense marketing efforts’ and ‘complicit wine journalists’ behind them.
‘We are in the process of becoming predictable consumers…standardised and lacking any ideological facets,’ he says. ‘The “global citizen” has become the “universal consumer” of all that is simple and sugared.’
The book also traces the author’s career as both a sommelier and filmmaker. As such he expands his targets to include ‘punishing’ and ‘antidemocratic’ mark-ups on wine in restaurants.
It is being released by the author tonight at Alice bookstore in Bordeaux – the same bookstore that saw the launch last week of Hanna Agostini’s controversial book, Robert Parker: Anatomie d’un Mythe.
Written by Panos Kakaviatos