I heard about an interesting comment on Robert Parker's site this week. To the question "How do you define a 'boutique' wine producer?", someone replied "One that is failing". Well, I have great regard for Mr. Parker, but he DOES tend to attract more than his share of macho wine drinkers.
My wine road recently led me down a side street called "Just For the Love of It", a small detour off of Memory Lane where all the inhabitants are amateur winemakers. Such inhabitants are invariably an enthusiastic lot, eager to pour their product for anyone who stands still long enough to ask for directions. And such generosity provides fertile breeding ground for fond wine memories.
The fondness may or may not stem from the wine itself - they vary wildly from year to year and producer to producer. But all these wines, from the great to the forgettable, have one thing in common - they were made by people who went to significant expense, inconvenience and discomfort to create a product they love, the very root of the word amateur.