In some ways, it’s one of the silliest things I’ve seen in the world of wine writing, and at the same time (and largely for the same reason), it’s also one of the most brilliant and exciting things I’ve seen.
Vaguely inspired by the NCAA’s March Madness, two really cool Canadian wine guys, Jonathan Wilson and Joel Wilcox, created this grape competition called Marc Madness, a varietal answer to varsity sports that you can follow on Twitter using the #marcmad hashtag.
The idea is to pit varieties against each other and, through Twitter-fueled popular vote, to pick a winner of each match-up, with said winner going to the next round. Red seeds are on one side, white on the other, and the final match will see a great confrontation between the top white and the top red.
It’s silly because I’m not sure there’s any real sense in having people choose between gamay and tempranillo or chenin blanc and viognier as if there was no tomorrow and only the fittest grapes survive. Thank God, we don’t have to do that in real life. Different grapes work differently in different places and for different people, and that’s what makes wine such a wondrous thing.
But what makes this brilliant – as voting and debating on Twitter has shown – is that people involved have really gotten into the game and are defending their choices – for and against – with some really interesting arguments. Joel and Jonathan write daily match-ups presenting the day’s competitors, and then voters step in and explain where they stand – and win. Dozens of people have been participating every day, making this quite the conversation.
At this point, the first round is almost over, with cab franc and zinfandel on the crush pad today, and sémillon getting ready to face albariño tomorrow. Plenty of action to go yet: can’t wait for that syrah vs nebbiolo match-up in the second round. And so much more…
And the whole thing about this Madness is: the more the merrier. Feel free to jump in. Follow Joel (@writersblanc) and Jonathan (@jonathanwil) on Twitter, see what the daily matchup is and vote using the #marcmad hashtag. It’s great fun. And that’s one thing there’s never too much of in the minutia-driven world of wine.
P.S.: I still say mourvèdre wuz robbed…