The wine media world has been tripping over itself to cover the recently-announced ceasing of operations by In Pursuit of Balance (IPOB), an organization of producers that held tastings of wines that fit what the organizers and their tasting panel deemed to be New World wines of particularly elegant expression. In other words, wines that were generally less fruit-bomb, and more high-acid/low-booze.
So much is being said about IPOB’s closure and what that means for the cold culture war of U.S. wine styles that, for me, we’ve lost sight of the most profound implication of that battle: its complete uselessness draws an ugly, unforgiving, damn-that’s-bright-’cause-it’s-last-call-at-the-bar illumination on just how very fucked up the wine business is right now.
For some of us who have been watching and covering IPOB since its inception, their organized tastings were a bit of fresh air; after all, why not expose wine consumers and media-types to a style of wine that is impeccably made, but offers an alternative to the high-octane, fruit-at-all-costs style of U.S. wine that has, by any reasonable account, dominated vinous press coverage for nearly three decades?
Apparently, the wine business is, in fact, so fucked up that, despite the fact that over thirty-five billion bottles of wine are released into the market every year, any style that doesn’t match up to that which has been primarily lauded in mainstream wine press is viewed as “wrong…”