A web site?

Patricio Tapia

July 01.2018

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A website?

I don’t know if you’ve read Adventures on the Wine Route by the US importer Kermit Lynch. As its title implies, it's about adventures, journeys, and discoveries at a time when many of today's very famous names from Burgundy, Provence, Beaujolais, Loire, and Rhone were just small and struggling winegrowers focused on their work, which was barely known beyond their local community. But Lynch was there. He convinced them to sell their wines and that the United States, despite all the prejudices, was a market that could understand and appreciate them.

Lynch was a pioneer, especially in the US. He was the first to open the eyes of American consumers to a certain type of producers who were more artisanal, people who produced wines their own way, far from the big circuits—and far from the glamor as well. And that alone makes Lynch worthy of a big round of applause.

However, his work was not only important for breaking new ground and opening new directions, but especially for his curatorship. In those years, back in the 1980s, all this about artisanal producers, natural wines, and small productions, was no more than an anecdote in the middle of a market that boasted of being democratic. As a result of technology, vinification defects were increasingly rare, the quality of the wines was becoming more standardized, and mass production was becoming the norm.

But if Lynch had not been a man with a certain taste and ability to find the good from amidst the mediocre, his work would not have been valuable. But Lynch's curatorship was spot on. He not only showed a world of small producers, but more importantly, he showed us a world of people who made wines with personality, producers who didn’t necessarily follow the path of super concentration or oak. Rather, he showed human beings with an entirely original take on wine.

At the time his book was published in 1988, Lynch was already arguing against the tyranny of scores, against the growing idea that wine should be some kind of hard, fierce punch in the face. He railed against the excesses of oak, against the idea (which later became dogma) that a big-bodied wine was necessarily a superior wine. In 1988, I, on the other hand, was likely taking substances of dubious legality.

Curatorship. It’s a key word these days, especially in South America, where there’s a fervor to show off what’s new, what has been discovered, where there’s a new-found freedom in winemaking, to leave dogma behind and look beyond the established way of doing things.

I’ve said it before. Being a wine journalist on this side of the world today is, above all else, more fun than ever—there’s news everywhere. And, for that very reason, it’s also more important than ever to pay close attention and separate what is really worthwhile from the unimportant. Curatorship. We at Descorchados have a sign with that word at all our tastings. A sign in fluorescent colors.

With this idea, we inaugurate the new Descorchados website. Yes, a website. What an old-fashioned idea, isn’t it?

Patricio Tapia