Nossiter is a trained sommelier, and knows his stuff. His expertise and love of wine and all things oenological comes across loud and clear in this fascinating dip into the world of wine-making and marketing, and how it relates to wider economic, social and political forces. The fidgety digital camera style can be irritating, and some of the material is overly repetitive (especially for those buffs who will probably already know about many of the characters and issues dealt with in the film), but it's hard to imagine anyone not being fascinated by some of the colourful folk, or by the conflicts and contrasts Nossiter uncovers between them. What emerges is an account not only of progressive globalisation (with the wonderful Aimé Guibert of Mas de Daumas Gassac fame pouring righteous scorn on the likes of Napa's Mondavi dynasty, flying winemaker Michel Rolland, and critic/guru Robert Parker), but of shameless political expediency, with vignerons and merchants alike readily admitting to having got along well enough with oppressive regimes of every hue.
Friday December 10 2004