Robin Goldstein, who shook the wine world’s foundations in 2008 when he won Wine Spectator’s restaurant Award of Excellence after creating a fictitious restaurant whose wine list included some of their lowest-scoring Italian wines in the past two decades (triggering one of the most heated public debates of the year in the wine world), is back.
With a vengeance.
Not that Robin’s disappeared since my last interview with him (which long-time 1WD readers will recall generated some very compelling debate – some of which, you will come to learn, influenced his latest project): he blogs regularly at BlindTaste.com, helped follow up the 2010 edition of The Wine Trials with The Beer Trials (a similar take on blind tasting ratings, applied to commercial beers), and has co-authored the new release The Wine Trials 2011.
Once again, I greedily devoured the results in my review copy of The Wine Trials, and just as in the 2010 versions, I found the them nothing short of compelling.
For starters, the consumers’ choices (for the most part) are very good bargain wines: take Dona Paula, Aveleda, Hugel, Nobilo, and Sebeka for examples.
Additionally, the blind tasting regimen for the trials (which once again pitted inexpensive wines against similar but much pricier brands) was enhanced with a bit more of the science behind them explained, and the results were similar to those in 2010: non-experts prefer less expensive wines, by a significant statistical margin.
Finally, Robin and his co-authors seem to take an even harder line in The 2011 Wine Trials against the use of point scores by leading wine publications, including taking Wine Spectator to task for how they handled the Award of Excellence kerfuffle in 2008. Whether or not you agree with their stance and their findings, the Wine Trials team at Fearless Critic Media are clearly not interested in backing down anytime soon.
Robin (once again) kindly agreed to talk to me about his controversial new release, and (once again) he has a lot to say about Wine Spectator, the 100 point wine scoring system, and how wine consumers can enhance their own perceptions (and use their own preferences to rally against snobbery in the wine world). Oh, yeah, and he talks RUSH!
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During the month of November, we have teamed up with WineFridgesPlus.com to offer you a (literally) cool giveaway!
From now until December 1, 2010, you’ll get 10% off* any single-item built-in wine fridge purchase of $50 or more (*some new-fangled legalese restrictions apply, of course – we’re not that good – see details below) from WineFridgesPlus.com.
At the same time, you can also enter to win a VinoTemp single-bottle wine chiller at http://www.winefridgesplus.com/giveaways (the prize will be awarded after December 1st – check the link for full details)!
Depending on your wine storage needs, this could end up saving you up to $500 so it’s worth checking out.
My take on wine fridges is that you’re better off going high-end with a unit that controls both temperature (obviously the most important, especially for those of you without a cellar) and humidity
(fridge air tends to be dry, which can affect cork closures, though I never once had an issue with this with my relatively low-end wine fridge when I had it running for several years) – a quick look through the WFP offerings shows a few that have humidity reservoirs like this model.
All in all, I’d still opt for an underground cellar over any other wine storage system, but if you try that route in many parts of the U.S. or U.K. you will end up with a swimming pool underneath your house, so I understand the need for these things. Some of them also pack anywhere from 50 to 200 bottles in a relatively small amount of space, which is great if you are limited in available wall/shelf space.
Another thing to ask about is how the wine fridges regulate temperature – some winemakers with whom I’ve discussed this topic have argued that constant small temperature swings are almost as bad for wine storage as quick dips/spikes in temperature; ideally you’re looking for something that performs temperature stability in the gentlest ways possible.
The WFP item that filled me with the most G.A.S. (gear acquisition syndrome, the name we in the music biz give to that feeling that compels you to keep buying gear/gadgets/instruments/what-have-you, despite the pleas to the contrary from your inner conscience and probably also from your significant other) was this wall-mounted thermoelectric wine cooler. That kind of thing just screams “wine badass” the same way that having a pool table screams “man cave.” No idea if it’s any good (or not), I just know that the pic makes me want it (sad, really, I know).
Anyway – full details on the discount available after the jump.
Would love YOUR thoughts on using wine fridges, and if you take advantage of the discount please check back in and let us know how it goes!
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