The first night I was in the Loire, I met up with wine importer Joe Dressner and his flock at Domaine du Closel in Savennires. Jeff, who two years ago left New York to plant vines in Canada, was in tow.
He told me that Michael Havens--a Californian winemaker I wrote about in The New York Times in 2001--had responded to a five-year-old thread on the site Winetherapy.com, commenting on my article, For Better or Worse Winemaker's Go High Tech.
"Unfortunately, Alice, your article illustrated the danger of a very little knowledge about a topic. Had you reported a tenth of the facts given you in your inquiry, you might have had an honest article about modern tools in winemaking. As it is, you demonstrated why the supposed "newspaper of record" has become a sham: you only fulfilled your editor's request for "facts" to back up a pre-determined thesis. Back to the fashion pages with you!"
Mr. Havens was wrong. I got the facts straight.
I suspect that after all of these years Havens is still upset that I reported his use of micro-oxygenation, a technique that was skewered in the film Mondovino.
Micro-ox is the technique of bubbling oxygen into the wine while in cask. I find this fashions an unnaturally smooth wine, giving it a creepy, too soft feeling. I liken a sip of that kind of wine to the dead fish of a hand that has never worked. However, in the article I kept my opinions to myself.
I was flattered that the story, five years old, can still hit a nerve. And I was touched that the crew at WT, mostly a bunch of Muscadet loving men, ran to my defense.
If you check out the conversation, the thread is called "Technology."