Mondivino starts out rather erratically as it bounces from Brazil to Italy to France, but hang in there, it morphs into a fascinating tale of the various juxtapositions that exist within the wine industry. Though nearly 20 years old now, the questions and views delivered in Mondovino still exist today. Consultant Michael Rolland “stars” as the (mostly) evil wine consultant in the film and is demonized for his micro-oxygenation process. Simply put, Micro-oxygenation is a process used in winemaking to introduce oxygen into wine in a controlled manner. Purists feel this adds “false” qualities to the wine, where as proponents feel that enriches the overall elements of the wine

The underlying message in “Mondovino” implies that distinctive wines are being punished, because they do not taste familiar. Thus, the unique local taste of great wines is being leveled by “micro-oxygenization” Rolland knows however, that this process produces wines that are generally approved by the wine critic Robert Parker, and therefore command higher prices and become the standard for mass producers like Robert Mondavi. As Mondavi and other giants march through Europe buying up ancient vineyards, Rolland and Parker are right behind him to standardize the product. At nearly 3 hours in length (2 hrs 49 min) this movie can be a lot to swallow in one sitting and there are definitely some slow parts. My suggestion, break it up into 3 nights and have plenty of wine on hand. Perhaps even have some friends over and try both traditional and “MO” wines, but fisticuffs please.

All wine drinkers who have tried wines from around the world will have definite opinions about this movie. Not sure where I would fall in this mix, but I have quite enjoyed wines from both of these camps. Have I tried over processed wines and found them too be a little too much? Sure. But I have also tried French wines that were so subtle, that there was no character to decipher. My advice, as it always is. Drink what pleases your palate and pleases your soul. Be damned what the “critics” say…they put on their panties the same as everyone else. Salute and cheers.

RATING: 3.5 glasses out of 5