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Critics in danger of being "insulting", warns Tim Atkin

Published:  28 April, 2010

Critics who judge wines without visiting the country they come from are
"insane and insulting", according to Tim Atkin MW.

Duero, Spain, Atkin said wine journalists had a responsibility to judge wine
by more than just the liquid in the bottle.

He also called on the fine wine community to end its "obsession" with
Bordeaux and consider wines from all parts of the world, made with varieties
considered unfashionable by some.

"What worries me about wine writers today is the absence of context," Atkin
said. "The idea that a wine remembers where it comes from is all but
overlooked, particularly by American journalists. They think it's enough to
taste the wine in the bottle. I couldn't believe that Robert Parker only
made his first trip to Spain last year."

He added: "Fine wine in Bordeaux in particular has become not something to
drink but a source of investment.

"I think we've lost sight of what wine, especially fine wine, is all about.
It's something you want to pull the cork from and enjoy with friends, not
something you want to make 17.4% profit on over the next year.

"Fine wine is increasingly traded like stocks. It could be pork bellies."

Atkin said that gold and silver medallists in this year's International Wine
Competition came from Greece, Switzerland, Portugal, England, Japan, Romania, Canada, Turkey, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Mexico, and Macedonia.

"Good wine can come from anywhere," he said. "Our interpretation of fine
wine regions and grape varieties has barely evolved in the last 100 years
despite the increase in quality worldwide."

Fine Wine 2010 takes place from Wednesday to Friday this week, with a
programme put together for the Consejo Regulador by Wine Intelligence.