Posts Filed Under commentary

The $97.18 Wine List

Vinted on February 4, 2010 binned in commentary, wine publications

In its December 2009 issue, the fine wine industry mag Sommelier Journal decided to take an interesting and unique angle on the ‘year end wine recap.’

Instead of compiling a year-end best-of list, Editor David Vogels asked a hand-selected group (consisting primarily of wine directors, sommeliers and other wine pros) to contribute what they thought to be the most memorable wine they’d tasted in 2009.  The only restrictions: the wine had to be available in the U.S., and the contributor shouldn’t be commercially representing the wine in any way.

It’s a novel and very entertaining way to recap another year in vino.  The result is presented in the December issue as a 40 selection wine list (along with tasting notes), divvied into Sparkling, White, Rose, Red, and Dessert categories.

The prices of the chosen wines tells us some interesting things about how wine pros view the wine world.  The average price of a wine on that list?


Holy crap!..

Read the rest of this stuff »




Professional Wine Tasters Are Full of Sh*t

Vinted on February 2, 2010 binned in commentary

Pro wine writers are among the most full of sh*t professions (statistically); so saith, where “Wine Tasters” make their recent list of The 6 Most Statistically Full of Sh*t Professions.

There are two things that surprised me when perusing the list of chosen six:

  1. Weather Forecasters, while predictably ranking high on the list, came in at #2 (Sportswriting took the ‘top’ spot).
  2. Wine Tasters came in only at #5 (c’mon… can’t we do better than that?!??).

Frankly, despite the lack of actual statistics in the article, I’d say that we (speaking collectively for the larger wine writing lot) actually deserve the dubious ranking.

Well, sort of.

As the reaction to my recent interview with Robin Goldstein (author of The Wine Trials, which showcases budget wines that beat out more expensive options in blind tastings) showed, the wine tasting devil is squarely in the details.  And as a group, I think that wine writers / tasters / pros, generally do a crap job when it comes to helping the public understand those details.

Not that this is a new phenomenon.  Thom Shaw once wrote “in wine tasting and wine talk there is an enormous amount of humbug.”  If you substitute “bullshit” for “humbug” you’d probably get an accurate read on the perception of wine tasting, right?

Well, ol’ Thom wrote that back in 1863.  Nearly 150 years later, it still rings as true and cuts as close to the bone of a wine writer as a Dilbert strip does to a cubicle worker – funny, but painfully funny.

So maybe we have helped to make the crow sandwich we’re supposedly having for lunch (hmmm… what pairs with crow… think I’ll pop open some Retsina…)…

Read the rest of this stuff »




Wineries and Social Media: A Totally Unscientific Case Study (Franciscan)

Vinted on January 28, 2010 binned in commentary, wine 2.0, winemaking

A funny thing happened on my way to the 2010 Pro Wine Writers Symposium.

I did some research, and found what I was looking for, just not where I expected to find it.

Since my Symposium fellowship was underwritten by Franciscan, I’m planning on a visit to the winery when I’m in Napa next month.   So I was digging around on the ‘global interwebs’ to get my bearings on all things Franciscan before the visit.  Reasons being that I wanted to get a solid starting point of Franciscan knowledge from which to branch out when I ask them questions and generally get all, you know, in-depth on them (you know how I am); also I’m a total geek and that kind of stuff is fun for me.

Not that I am without some knowledge of Franciscan – I’ve tasted some of their flagship wines, and their website is chock full of background on their Napa legacy (and with a past that featured Agustin Huneeus and one of the first real “Meritage” wines, your bragging rights around having a ‘legacy’ are pretty safe) and their take-it-to-perfectionist-extremes focus on blending.

As for what’s happening now (and I mean, right this second) at Franciscan… not so much.  I didn’t find anything at their website to connect me to the current happenings of the people there.


I did find some of that information, though – just not at, and not without a bit of digging…

Read the rest of this stuff »




The Fine Print

This site is licensed under Creative Commons. Content may be used for non-commercial use only; no modifications allowed; attribution required in the form of a statement "originally published by 1WineDude" with a link back to the original posting.

Play nice! Code of Ethics and Privacy.

Contact: joe (at) 1winedude (dot) com