Brave New World (or “Do We Really Need Wine Experts Anymore?”)

Vinted on June 28, 2010 binned in commentary

Just over one month ago, I was quoted in an (excellent and well-written) article by Spencer Bailey of the Columbia Journalism Review, titled “Everyone’s the Wine Expert: Wine critics and bloggers, professional and amateur, are mixed up in a social media web.”

At the time, the CJR article was (rightfully) the subject of interesting and thought-provoking analysis by some very intelligent stewards of the wine world, most notably Tom Wark and Steve Heimoff.

I found myself quoted slightly out of context in the article, and somehow placed on opposite but connected poles of viewpoints with wine writer and educator Karen MacNeil, as if we were some sort of quantum-entangled pair of electrons in a physics experiment.  I’ll mention right now that I am not equating myself with Karen MacNeil in terms of wine writing – not even close; I’m simply pointing out the juxtaposition of our attributed viewpoints in the CJR article.

The article quotes Karen in raising an important viewpoint about wine writing; a concern discussed in detail at the Professional Wine Writers Symposium earlier this year, and one that I’ve pondered on many occasions myself:

“Maybe what blogging will do is undermine the whole idea that this is a subject that is rich and deep and requires some substantive thought and substantive knowledge,” says Karen MacNeil, author of The Wine Bible and one in a small stable of writers that wine critic Robert Parker has recruited to contribute to his Web site, erobertparker.com. “If everybody’s an expert,” she says, “nobody’s an expert.

This was followed immediately by the opposing viewpoint, which was attributed to me despite the fact that it’s not an entirely literal record of my take on the issue:

Do we really need expert critics anymore? Many bloggers don’t think so, arguing that credentials are merely one part of what makes a great wine writer. How you say something—not simply who says it, they argue—is what’s most important. “Readers today have got to feel like the experts connect with them in some way,” says Joe Roberts, who runs the blog 1WineDude.com. “It’s not just, ‘Oh, this person’s got great credentials because they work for Wine Enthusiast.’”

So, over a month later, why am disturbing the tomb and (sort-of) resurrecting the discussion?  It’s the question “Do we really need expert critics anymore?” – the CRJ article proposes it, but then moves off of that topic rather quickly.  Which is a shame, because that’s where the real meat in this pie lies…

Read the rest of this stuff »

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Weekly Twitter Wine Mini-Reviews Round-up for 2010-06-26

Vinted on June 26, 2010 binned in wine mini-reviews
  • 08 Black Box Malbec (Mendoza): Quite a feat to pack that much blueberry & tobacco spice in that lil' box. A bargain at <$7/bottle. $25 3L B- #
  • 09 Heinz Eifel "Shine" Riesling (Pfalz): What it lacks in balance it makes up for in peaches, limes & (for sure) price. For spicy food $10 B #
  • 09 Heinz Eifel Riesling Kabinett (Mosel): While planting honey blossoms, you ate a ripe apple & finished it all off with a lemon candy $12 B #
  • 09 Heinz Eifel Riesling Spatlese (Mosel): A little too clean on the nose, to the point where you're not quite sure what you're in for $13 B- #
  • 09 Heinz Eifel Riesling Auslese (Mosel): Promising but cloying. You can smell & taste the sugar as if it's trying just a bit too hard $14 B- #
  • 07 Modus Operandi "Antithesis" (Napa Valley): Big, bold & beautifully rendered. These intense black fruits are not for the squeamish. $95 A- #
  • 04 Klein Constantia Vin de Constance (Constantia): S.A.'s legendary Muscat lives up to the legend w/ orange, mango & spices to spare. $50 A- #
  • 09 Dominique Piron Rose (Beaujolais): Don't let the light color fool you, this pairs fat juicy cherries with the depth of a Morgon. $12 B+ #
  • 09 Pierre Marie Chermette "Les Griottes" Rose (Beaujolais): Man, those flowers have *heft*. Probably too much to really be balanced. $15 B- #
  • 08 Domaine de Dorées Beaujolais Blanc: Eminently quaffable & impeccably balanced. Also impeccably priced (shh don't tell them). $12 B+ #
  • 08 Chateau du Chatelard Beaujolais Blanc Vieilles Vignes: Like forward & balanced Chard? U can party w/ this for 1/2 the price of CA. $15 B+ #

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Getting Crushed (at the Wine Crush Blog)

Vinted on June 25, 2010 binned in about 1winedude blog, wine appreciation

1WineDude.com has never (and will never) accept sponsored articles, which means that whatever you read on its virtual pages is purely the product of my somewhat deranged mind.

I do need to feed my family, however, and so I have been taking some paid writing gigs on the side.  One of those gigs has been for the blog of Wines.com, called Wine Crush.  That gig is not promoting individual wines, producers, or brands, and I have free reign on the content for my posts – Wines.com just wanted to add the value of quality wine-elated content for their customers (but for some reason, they still chose me as a contributor…).

Over the last few months I’ve built up some content at Wine Crush of which I’m proud and thought that I’d cal attention to it here, in case it’s of interest to 1WD readers.  Similar voice, of course, but the topics are a bit different than what I cover here and so I think they’re complimentary (the Wine Crush content is meant more for those at the start of their wine journey, while 1WD remains more in what I like to call the “Intermediate” space, though all are certainly welcome, newbies and experts alike).

Anyway, check it out if you’re so inclined:

http://www.winecrushblog.com/search/label/1WineDude

 

Cheers!

(images: winecrushblog.com)

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