[ WARNING: following is one of my lengthy diatribes. If you’re the
lazy and impatient busy type, skip to the summary! ]
Do you believe that fine wines are multi-faceted?
What I mean is, do fine wines change over time, present different shades and complexities of aromas and flavors?
If you agree that fine wines are complex beasts, then I’m about to show you why it should logically follow that wine experts may not provide the best reviews of those wines.
Because if you also happen to believe in the truth-enlightening powers of scientific and statistically relevant data, then you cannot continue to hold onto the stubborn belief that traditional wine expert opinion always offers a superior summation of a wine to that provided by aggregate reviews in outlets such as CellarTracker.com. At least, you can’t do it without being Spock-raising-a-quizzical-eyebrow-at-you illogical. By the way, if you don’t believe in those truth-enlightening powers, then I’ve got some creationist “textbooks” to sell you, but let’s not get off track, okay?
Anyway… evidence actually supports the view that individual wine expert opinion is inferior to the wisdom of crowds when it comes to reviewing wines. It’s not that single-shot expert opinion in this field is somehow irrelevant or useless, but that it is less valuable than the opinion offered by an educated, engaged, passionate, and diverse group of people (which may or may not contain experts in their ranks).
Don’t believe me? Well, then, put down that copy of Wine Spectator for a second and hear me out. Because while the view that crowd-sourced wine reviews have merit has been called “propaganda” by wine writers as celebrated as Matt Kramer, looking less passionately and more logically at the act of reviewing suggests that it is the Kramers of the wine world who are spouting the propaganda when it comes to dismissing the wisdom of the crowd…