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"I think it led to a loss of authenticity to the products we're making. We're no longer pleasing ourselves." And that's a mighty inclusive "we" -- Grahm names names, the Bordeaux big guns: "Margaux doesn't taste like Margaux, Pauillac doesn't taste like Pauillac, St. Estephe doesn't taste like St. Estephe. Everything kind of tastes like puréed mush. Everything is overextracted. Chateau Pavie tastes like Port, and Parker gives it a 98 or a 97 or whatever he gave it. I don't think Wine Spectator created this; I think Wine Spectator is more of a symptom of when people started thinking of wine in this highly competitive way."

But then -- O Happy Fault! -- the fall is what occasioned the redemption. "Salvation, I think, is individuals developing the self-confidence to produce wines to please themselves. God knows it's hard. There's a real concentration of distribution channels. Everybody wants to fit in; everyone wants to have a commercial product. But if everyone is producing the same product, how can anyone stand out?" Perhaps with a little amateur enthusiasm. Perhaps with a mad personal quest for terroir. Perhaps Grahm will tackle Don Quixote next.

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