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Ten-hour Mondovino makes UK debut

Mondovino, the wine documentary that divided the wine world eight years ago, is to be shown in its full 10-hour version in London in May.

Mondovino: The Series, by filmmaker and sommelier Jonathan Nossiter, will be making its UK debut at the Real Wine Fair, which will be held in London on 20-22 May.

Nossiter will be at the fair to introduce the series and for a question-and-answer session afterwards.

The basic premise of the film was that the notion of terroir had been lost in producing globally acceptable, fruit-driven wines.

When first released in 2004 in a two-and-a-half hour version, Mondovino – an Official Selection at the Cannes Film Festival – was widely acclaimed by critics, but bitterly criticised by many in the wine industry.

Robert Parker, for one, accused it of being ‘disingenuous’, while a Decanter.com review said the editing was ‘too clever’.

A year after release it was still causing controversy: in 2005 the Revue du Vin de France published comments from – among others – global consultant Michel Rolland, who is pilloried in the film for ‘worshipping money’, as Aimé Guibert of Mas de Daumas Gassac puts it.

Despite his portrayal, Rolland conceded that even though some aspects of wine were badly represented in the film, the ‘essential thing was that it was talked about’.

Others had not forgotten being slighted. ‘We also have a passion for our terroir of which we are the guardians,’ said California winemakers Garen and Shari Staglin, who were portrayed as moneyed, patronising new arrivals in Napa Valley.

Nossiter himself courts controversy. Replying to critics in 2005 he accused Parker contributor Pierre-Antoine Rovani of being ‘monolithic and unscrupulously self-serving’, showing a ‘particularly grotesque…Orwellian inversion of the truth’, and indulging in ‘McCarthyite smears’.

Shot in seven countries and in five languages throughout Europe and the Americas, Mondovino: The Series consists of 10 one-hour episodes.

It features interviews with Michael Broadbent, the Antinori and Frescobaldi families, Robert Parker, the de Montille family in Burgundy, Robert and Michael Mondavi discussing their attempt to buy land in Aniane in the Languedoc, which was bitterly opposed by Guibert, who is also interviewed. An entire episode is devoted to South America.

Nossiter told Decanter.com the film was ‘not intended for the big screen or to be consumed sitting down in one go’.

‘If you do a marathon there is an overarching narrative but [the episodes] are meant to be dipped in and out of and picked at, sort of like a picaresque novel. So it’s a different pleasure.’

Doug Wregg, the organiser of the Real Wine Fair told Decanter.com, ‘It is eight years since Mondovino was released, and the stories that it tells and the issues that it raises are still highly relevant today.’

Written by Christina Pickard, and Adam Lechmere

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