Wine Calling

 

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A French documentary which will be welcomed by those already well informed about wine.

 
Wine Calling

  

Anyone whose interest in wines extends to being knowledgeable may well regard my rating for this French documentary as decidedly harsh. It is the work of Bruno Sauvard and his film undoubtedly has a worthwhile subject. Choosing to concentrate on the owners of domaines close to the Pyrenees, Sauvard’s concern is to show us a number of people who, for the large part relatively young and enthusiastic, are devoting themselves to producing natural wine without chemicals or additives. For each for them it’s a process of trial and error and one which also requires the individuals who take it on to establish a name. In consequence, we hear it suggested that it can easily take ten years to become truly successful in this field. No wonder then that those who have taken up this way of life give the impression of loving what they have chosen to do.

 

In all this there should be the makings of a good film capable of appealing to audiences who are to a greater or lesser extent uninformed. Andrew Peat’s 2018 documentary Scotch: The Golden Dram managed that when dealing with Scottish whisky and an earlier film about wine, 2004’s Mondovino, also succeeded on those terms. Here, however, although later contributors include people in the restaurant business (one of them in Paris) and a Japanese wine importer, Sauvard opts to put the emphasis on those running domaines of their own and features more than ten of them. If in the main he had halved the number, we might have been caught up in their hopes and aspirations but, as it is, Sauvard jumps around so much that in effect we get only a generalised portrait and the individuals fail to stand out. Furthermore, the tone that emerges is consistently and repetitively that of a promotion for natural wines. We do hear some more incisive comments towards the end of the film but some time before it concludes one feels that it has been going on for too long.

 

Also near the close it is suggested that natural wines have become popular enough for the big boys to get in on the act but the warning is that their version of natural wine would probably be less than the real thing yet still a threat to the individuals who in their different ways are seeking to produce a wine that is authentic in the full sense of the term. Perhaps this danger could have been investigated further but, brief as the comment is, it confirms that this is a film with something to say. But for those like myself to whom the subject is a closed book the film’s failure to inform in meaningful terms is regrettable. All too typical is this comment: “The tannin level is low, which is good. We chose to do carbonic macerations without pigeage or remontage”. If such observations are meaningful to you, you will get more out of this film than I did.

 

MANSEL STIMPSON

 

Featuring  Loïc Roure, Céline Georget, Michaël Georget, Jean François Nicq, Laurence Manya Krief, Olivier Cros, Sylvain Respaut, Jean Sébastien Gioan, Stéphane Morin, Edouard Laffitte, Jean-Louis Triboulet.

 

Dir Bruno Sauvard, Pro Nicolas Manuel, Ph Gael Astruc, Ed Emilie Orsini, Music Christophe Vialle Moudat.

 

Pintxos-Swipe Films.
95 mins. France. 2018. Rel: 28 June 2019. No Cert.