Extreme Wine: A Sideways Analysis of the World of Wine

I’ve started writing my next book which I’m calling Extreme Wine and I’m looking for a little help from Wine Economist readers.

Extreme Wine is a sequel to the best-seller Wine Wars. Where Wine Wars probed the center of the world wine market, Extreme Wines focuses on  edges based on the same theory that wine lovers use when they tilt their glasses “sideways” and analyze the liquid’s rim: the forces of change first make themselves visible at the outer limits.

I’d like to invite you to read about the ideas behind Extreme Wine by clicking here and to scroll down to see the working table of contents. Then please use the Comments section below to tell me what extremes you find the most interesting. What are the most unusual wines? Who are the most extreme wine personalities? What are the most extreme wine films and televisions programs? Where should I go on my “Around the World in 80 Wines” analysis of extreme wine tourism?

You get the idea — let me know your Extreme Wine suggestions and I’ll try to incorporate them in my book!

>>> Working Outline <<<

Searching High and Low for the Best, Worst and Most Unusual in the World of Wine

by Mike Veseth

  1. X-Wines: In Vino Veritas?
  2. Extreme Wine: Best and the Worst
  3. The Fame Game: Most Famous, Most Forgotten and Most Infamous
  4. Sold Out: Rarest, Most Unusual and Most Ubiquitous
  5. Money Wine: Cheapest, Most Expensive and Most Overpriced
  6. Extreme Wine Booms and Busts
  7. Extreme Wine People
  8. Fifteen Minutes: Celebrity Wine
  9. Message in a Bottle
  10. Extreme Wine Tourism
  11. BRIC by BRIC: Going to Global Extremes
  12. Tasting Notes  from the Edge
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17 responses

  1. Hi Mike,
    Think this is a great idea, and excited to contribute. I’m a UPS alum now working into wine in Dundee and Portland, OR but currently in Mendoza, Argentina probing the wine world here for opportunities next harvest. The two that I think of here have been the torrontes, both for the extreme of it’s varietal expression (the liar!) and the area where it grows. Also, Patagonian Pinot Noir…just got back from Bariloche where it is grown in large part out of subsidies to settle the arid regions in Rio Negro province. Pretty extreme wine in an extreme region of the world! Looking forward to following these developments. Saludos!

  2. Sounds like fun! You have to include the Jalapeno Wine made in Texas by Circle S. It is the definition of extreme. We waited in line for 2 hours last year in order to get some.

  3. How about looking at wines produced in either the coolest or hottest climates, not that they are necessarily good, but they would certainly be extreme.

      • This would take some exploring, but an interesting exercise to know where growers are pushing the limits. I have heard that there are grapes being grown in Sweden at the highest latitude. I’m not sure what the hottest place is, but it would likely be in Africa along a water way or oasis. The other questions would be the varieties being grown at the limits and whether it produced enough to be a viable enterprise or was simple a vine or two.

  4. Steve Reeder of Simi gets my vote for extreme personality. That’s a complement, of course! Keep up the good work, Mike!

  5. Mike, I’ve had a lot of trouble finding an inorganic wine. Thus far the only inorganic food I know I’ve eaten regularly is salt. Perhaps your new book could help.
    If you need to pad out your book, try “Extremely boring wines.” It would run more than twice as long as you now plan. And it would cure insomnia.
    If you want to get more email than you can read, include “Extremely good values.” Then you’ll get thousands of “No it’s not,” and “Why did you leave out Chateau George Street vintage 3:45 p.m.” messages.
    It’s obvious your choices are the result of a lot of thinking about this. Like your other readers, I’m looking forward to the book.
    Ken

  6. A few ideas:

    Etna &/or any other vineyards on active volcanos

    Very old vines – 100+ year old vines and vineyards (there are even some in America)

    Vineyards on very steep slopes or in other odd configurations

    Aeroponic/hydroponic grapes

    High altitude wines. i.e., Argentina

    Homemade wines and home vintners, particularly anyone making wine at home that can compete with top commercial wineries

    Charles Smith would seem to be an “extreme personality”

    Presumably you plan to include this, but natural wines/wines with no sulfite added

    • These are great ideas — some of them are already in the outline and others will be considered. I hadn’t thought of Charles Smith, but that’s a great idea, too. Many thanks.

  7. Like Greg and Dan, I think that it would be useful to explore grapes grown in “extreme” conditions – whether it’s altitude, latitude or temperature (in terms of extreme cold, extreme heat, or extreme diurnal variation). These types of “extremes” can teach a lot about what influences are relevant for grape growing and the resulting wine.
    And I think that any discussion of extreme wine personalities has got to include Gary V! Other possibilities you may want to consider include Nicolas Joly, Jim Clenenden, and Frank Cornelissen.
    Look forward to reading the book in the not-too-distant future.

    • I love the idea. Some quick thoughts:

      Extreme wines and people behind the wines – Paolo Bea (Umbria), Abe Schoener (US), Frank Cornelissen (Sicily), Randall Grahm’s (US) vineyard planted by seed

      Other extreme wine making styles like vin jaune from the Jura or Amarones or Canadian ice wine or traditional Georgian wines or Tokaji from Hungary

      Extreme climates – Canadian ice wine, wines from hybrid grapes in central US, wines from Morocco

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