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Memorable Quotes from 2011



I believe quotes have relevance in a historical context. They tell us about the topics and controversies that are prevalent at a certain point in time. They also represent a gift that says plenty with few words. I hope you enjoy the quotes that I collected over the past year from the wine literature, many of which were made in the context of a discussion of Pinot Noir. Ted Lemon, the proprietor and winemaker of Littorai, proved to be the most quotable in 2011.



“Burgundy is like the girl from Bennigton who made me miserable my sophomore year at Williams College: She keeps breaking my heart, but I’m obsessed, crazed with lust, spending ridiculous amounts of money on the object of my desire. Because when she’s good, she’s very, very good.”
Jay McInerney, The Wall Street Journal

“Burgundy has all the answers if you know to ask the right questions.”
Kevin Harvey, owner of Rhys Vineyards

“Burgundy has the pinnacle all to itself for Pinot Noir.”
Benjamin Lewin MW, In Search of Pinot Noir

“Using burgundian techniques doesn’t make the results Burgundy!”
Remington Norman, Grand Cru

“There’s no way the average customer understands the legal blending limits. People see ‘Pinot Noir’ on the label and very few would know that could mean a wine that’s only seventy-five percent Pinot,”
Rick Moshin, Moshin Vineyards

“What’s quietly losing favor, then, are those inky, oak-loaded Pinots made for flash and impact, for success with a handful of critics who are slowly fading into the background. These wines have contributed to the de-Pinoting of Pinot as much as the bottom-shelf stuff.”
Jon Bonné, sfgate.com

“I wish people would accept over-oaking as a flaw like they regard Brett as a flaw.”
Jason Lett, winemaker at The Eyrie Vineyards, in In Search of Pinot Noir

“Pinot Noir is not about color and tannins.”
Veronique Drouhin, winemaker at Domaine Drouhin Oregon

"Pinot Noir is more than just another varietal; it is seductive and ephemeral and attracts a fiercely independent, opinionated breed.”
Lance Cutler, Wine Business Monthly

“Its ‘food-friendly’ nature has been well-documented; Pinot makers might as well have coined the phrase.”
Lettie Teague, The Wall Street Journal

“Each of us has his or her own Platonic notion of Pinot Noir.”
Doug Frost, The Kansas City Star

“The reason there are so many high-alcohol Chardonnays and Pinots is that wineries and their winemakers have a commercial fear of being outside the paradigm of what critics consider fine American Pinot. It’s a style that ignores terroir.”
Ted Lemon, winemaker at Littorai, The World of Fine Wine

“I like to see wines that peak at around ten years. I don’t want my wines to develop into facsimiles of Burgundy. I just want them to get more interesting.”
Ted Lemon, winemaker at Littorai, The World of Fine Wine

“Williams Selyem is largely a Dijon clones-free zone.”
Bob Cabral, winemaker at Williams Selyem, in In Search of Pinot Noir

“In the mouth it carassed my palate like a candied ectoplasm that clung preternaturally until the last bit disappeared.”
Miles in Vertical, by Rex Pickett

“The day a winemaker dumbs down and makes what everyone wants is the day he should retire.”
David Hohnen, founder of Marlborough’s Cloudy Bay Winery

“Liquid geography is what we do. All wine is about time and place.”
Mike Weersing, winemaker at Pyramid Valley in North Canterbury, New Zealand

“No matter what anyone says, any truly great wine should always have a hint of corruption.”
Danny Schuster, New Zealand winemaker and viticuturist

“Wine with flaws that are managed tend to make wines that have a bit more personality.”
Erich Bradley, winemaker at Sojourn Cellars

“If you make a wine everyone loves, you’ve done something wrong.”
Jay Somers, J Christopher Winery

“Organic and biodynamic producers considerably overstate the benefits of their approach to wine quality, consumers’ health and the environment.”
Richard Smart, viticulturist

“It’s not a perfect system (biodynamics) but we’re moving in the right direction. The ‘voodoo’ perception is lazy journalism. It’s easy to knock something weird.”
Monty Waldin, biodynamic winemaker and writer

“At the end of the day, it’s all about farming for quality. If you farm for quality - whether you’re organic, biodynamic, sustainable or conventional - you’re going to make great wine.”
Todd Hamina, Biggio Hamina Cellars, Voodoo Vintners

“When I buy a bottle of fine wine, I want something more than delicious jam warmed by alcohol. I want something that connects me to a place, that could not be made without that connection, made with such a strong connection that its character can live and develop in the bottle for years.”
Joshua Green, Wine & Spirits

“I firmly believe that vineyard work is the route to balanced wine.”
Jeff Brinkman, winemaker Rhys Vineyards

“I see a site, and somehow it just smells right.”
Ted Lemon, winemaker at Littorai

“I think waiting for full physiologic ripeness is too late. Wine doesn’t finish on the vine; it is still evolving in the winery, so I try to pick while the flavors and structure are still blossoming.”
Jason Drew, Drew Wines

“If the wine is balanced....if you pick the fruit before it’s really ripe....I know Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir can age.”
Burt Williams, winemaker

“Wine quality is defined like pornography. We don’t know what it is, but we know it when we see it.”
Francis Percival, The World of Fine Wine

“Thankfully, many consumers and winemakers are beginning to favor a more elegant and refined style of wine. It is not that we seek less flavor, texture or depth; it’s simply that we understand abundance and generosity in wine is achievable without excessive extract and alcohol.”
Gary Farrell, winemaker Alysian Wines

“I like wine that sounds good and I like rock ‘n’ roll.”
Michael Browne, Kosta-Browne

“In the absence of any obvious faults, the more you pay for your wine, the better it will taste. Why? In part, because most of us expect more expensive wine to taste better.”
Professor Charles Spence, The World of Fine Wine

“The impact of great wine is as much emotional as sensorial and, in any case, at the topmost level one rapidly runs out of distinctive superlatives.”
Remington Norman, Grand Cru

“Our wines are made to live full and complete lives. We like to see them blossom, become complex, and then slowly decline into senility.”
Ted Lemon, winemaker at Littorai

“It is probably reasonable to define overripeness as the point when the dark-berry flavors, like blackberries and blueberries, are transformed to flavors of dark chocolate - a flaw that tends to reduce the distinction between wines, regardless of variety or terroir.”
Michel Bettane, The World of Fine Wine

“What makes a wine worth drinking is that it is honest and authentic.”
Terry Theise, The World of Fine Wine

“There’s a lot of good wines around. But the problem is that people don’t know how to get them to market.”
Stewart Resnick, Fiji water and Landmark Vineyards owner

“It doesn’t make economic sense to buy expensive wine and sit on it. It makes sense to buy wine you want and drink it right away.”
W Blake Gray, The World of Fine Wine

“Manipulation isn’t inherently evil, but I have serious reservations about stealthy and dishonest forms of it....The final ‘wine’ is little more than a device - a thing by which a consumer is seduced; a peak at cleavage, but the breasts aren’t real....The next thing you know, you’re drinking the stuff and calling it wine.”
Terry Theise, The World of Fine Wine

“Pink wine makes me slutty.”
Zooey Deschanel, singer and actress

"My wife says I am busy with Pinot Noir every waking moment. Not true, I also dream about it.”
Rusty Gaffney, Prince of Pinot

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