I was pleased to see Andrew Jefford mention in Andrew Jefford's Wine Course that 'sometimes simplicity is perfection.' He's quite right. I go further and say that simplicity is a difficult virtue to achieve.
When a wine maker has managed to achieve perfect ripeness in the vineyard and has successfully brought those grapes into the winery he is faced with a series of multiple answer questions. Most of these answers will produce a great wine - after all he has perfect grapes to work with. Some answers of course fall short of the ideal but supposing our wine maker chooses well, will he opt for a simple and brilliant offering or will he go for broke and look to achieve something a lot more complicated?
He will choose the latter because today's world does not appreciate simplicity. If he doesn't he will be told that he could have done better. In fact he will be lambasted by the wine press and told he should have done a lot better.
Now take the other end of the scale where the grapes are adequate but not perfect. Does our winemaker achieve these grapes' potential by making a simple wine? No. He will do everything in his little notebook to elevate the wine up to the highest level possible by introducing an array of wine making tricks/techniques.
So, who does make simple wine and what is simplicity anyhow?
Without making things complicated when we are trying to talk Simple (!) I reckon that if a wine expresses fruit, place and style then it is both great and simple.
Fruit can be an amalgam but should be clean, obvious, and fresh according to the age of the bottle
Place should give a clear indication of terroir. We may ALL get the place wrong in a blind tasting but at least the wine should show a definite expression of coming from Somewhere and not just be a a drink from Anywhere.
Style is the wine makers fingerprint. So many wines have been butchered or stillborn because they were forced into life and not brought along carefully and with skill.
So, any takers for the simplest wine now or do we agree that simplicity is a hard wine to make?