Ideally, I am thinking a wine ought to be authentic with respect to the grape variety, location of the vineyard, and the vintage. That is, the wine should be a reflection of all three rather than being manipulated into something that alters these demographics (do wines have demographics? I’m too lazy to look up the definition).
Using this sort of standard is analogous to the audio enthusiast’s ideal hi-fi set up in which everything between the source material and your ears is simply a “straight wire with gain” (i.e., the source signal is amplified so you can hear it, but is reproduced exactly without any sort of distortion).
So maybe our quest should be for “distortion-free wine.”
Let’s think about that, though. In the case of a poorly-recorded performance that is faithfully captured, should what we hear be equalized to make the sound more like it should have been in the first place? Or should we shoot for authenticity no matter how bad the original?
In the case of fruits and vegetables at the market: some years and growing conditions are less than ideal, resulting in less-than-ideal fruit. But that produce is “natural.” Brought to the store in unadulterated form, I don’t think it would sell very well.
It is romantic to think that we should drink wines from every vintage and respect and appreciate the differences brought about by vintage conditions, etc., and compare one year to another to see what those effects are. But in the “poor” years are these wines going to sell?
It reminds me of that old Starkist commercial featuring Charlie the Tuna. His friend always has to tell him that “Starkist doesn’t want tunas with good taste, Starkist wants tuna that tastes good.”
(click here if you can't see the video below)
Oh, well. I guess those mean Starkist Tuna people made YouTube yank it. Sorry, Charlie! Folks, buy Chicken of the Sea or Bumblebee from now on. Grr..