I can't help but wish I could take dinner with the functionaire behind this one and pour Yellow Tail down his/her pipe. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/food_and_drink/wine/article4029680.ece There are plenty of juicy quotes in the London Times article, but the one that oozes the most belongs to Jerome Agostini. ++Jerome Agostini, director of the National Committee of the Wine Professions, said: "Young generations of consumers need simpler wines that are easy to drink, sweet and aromatised. You cannot condemn practices like wood chips because we have to fight with the same weapons."++ I'm in the middle of trying to convince the world to buy my book, and write some profiles about people with big wine collections with hi-concept wine cellars so I can't hold forth and try to save France from itself. Sheep! Sheep! Why is mediocrity a weapon? I once had a professor, Gerald Burns. Burns was a self-described ‘Fribble,” a brilliant mind, a brilliant poet in a post modern sort of way and More on Burns when I have a moment, but Burns, who taught me how to frail a banjo, also told me very clearly that there is nothing to be learned from bad writers. “But, can’t you learn what not to do?” He rightly argued that you could learn what not to do by learning from greatness. I was young and impressionable. I decided to believe him. A few years ago I found out that he died, after his second failed marriage, of a brain hemorrhage, an unrecognized poet except to a small group of literati This is the kind of thinker Burns was, which seems oddly applicable. Games & Poetry ++Years ago when I used to teach, my freshmen made it clear to me they thought poetry had no rules. It had conventions, but no rules. I had no quarrel with this pre-lapsarian stance. How can you quarrel wlth innocence as such? There may have been a hint of sin tucked away in its corollary, that anything you said about poetry was true, or might be true. Opinions, which they believed statements about poetry to be, were valuable because they were theirs, though other people's opinlons were common as dirt. I did what I could to destroy these notions, but not in the way I would do it now. If I taught those students today, I would describe to them some games 1 used to play. At Harvard we had one called The Game. A pair of undergraduates would sit opposite sides of a counter In Hayes Bickford's, by the window. When a person passed by each of us would say either Yes or No. That was it. It was a total judgment on the passerby, and probably has to be played by undergraduates to work. If we both sald "Yes," or 'No,' it was satisfying. But if we differed it was more satisfying, because one of us was obviously right. The loser conceded at once. What was satisfying was conforming not to a set of unstated rules, but to rules we knew were intrinsically unstatable. That the two players invariably agreed on the rightness or wrongness of a call was a pleasure.++ But, I digress. In a perfect world people who have no connection with wine would be banned from making decisions about it. France should be a Wine World Heritage site but instead they're selling off architectural wonders to developers.