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?
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Pro wine writers are among the most full of sh*t professions (statistically); so saith Cracked.com, 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:
- Weather Forecasters, while predictably ranking high on the list, came in at #2 (Sportswriting took the ‘top’ spot).
- 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…)…
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Those of you Chester County, PA folk who feel compelled to Go Green by supporting business that produce wares locally – and those of you who just happen to like supporting local business, or just happen to dig the food and wine produced by local business – will certainly want to check out Taste Local this weekend at the Desmond Hotel in Malvern, PA.
Those of you who aren’t Chester County folk are just gonna have to forgive me for goin’ local today.
Taste Local is billed as “a celebration of the best regional beer and wine, accompanied by locally produced cheeses & other food products.” As frequent 1WineDude.com readers know, we have some pretty darn good wines being made out here (especially Penns Woods and Chaddsford), but what you might not know is that we’re home to a dizzying array of totally kick-ass beer producers, with stand outs being Troegs, Sly Fox, and the venerable-bordering-on-insanely-good Victory Brewing Co.
All of the above (and more) will be in attendance at Taste Local this weekend. Tickets range from $35 single-day passes to all-inclusive VIP packages that include lodging at the Desmond.
Well worth checking out, especially if you’re looking for a crash-course in all-things food/beer/wine in Chester County.