Articles Tagged bad science

The Ten Most-Shared 1WD Articles Of 2012

Vinted on December 27, 2012 binned in best of

As 2012 draws to a close, we continue the overlooked-due-to-hangover tradition of wrapping up the most popular 1WD articles of the year.

This list serves two purposes: a chance to highlight a “best of” from the 1WD content over the past year, and a nod to the engagement of folks like YOU, which makes a site like this worth revisiting. Also, it allows me to take a sort break from creating new content here (ok, three purposes!), which you might not like but I’d argue is required (well-deserved is debatable).

We’re sticking with ten once again this year, which sadly is more victories than my Steelers were able to conjure up this season.

Also, the shift away from comments and towards social sharing continued this year, and so I’ve decided to highlight the 1WD posts that you deemed most worth sharing with others throughout the past year. I’ve a done a (very) rough calculation of that across Twitter, the Book of Face, and the unwanted step child of social networks, Google+. The result below (after the jump) is, I think, pretty much in order of ascending social sharedness, but is not necessarily indicative of the most-commented posts (the focus of previous year-end 1WD wrap-ups) nor the most viewed (those numbers would pale in comparison to my Playboy.com gig anyway, which is much, much, much more a reflection of the insane amount of people visiting the PB site than it is a statement on my writing abilities).

Anyway… on with the show!

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Why Rating Wine Is Bad Science

Vinted on May 16, 2012 binned in best of, commentary

[ Editor’s note: this article is not an easy one to follow, because the topic is not an easy one to get your head around; intrepid readers will want to stick with it, though, because I think the conclusions are fodder for some amazing discussion on their implications on wine criticism. ]

The world of wine critique is fraught with logical contradictions.

Case in point: take this excerpt from a recent interview with critic James Suckling on Liv-Ex.com on the topic of evaluating wines while they are still in the barrel, as is often done during En Primeur in Bordeaux (emphasis mine):

The key thing to remember is that the nose isn’t important at all. I learnt that from Daniel Lawton, one of the great negociants of Bordeaux. The important thing is the texture – the quality of the tannins and how they relate to the acidity and alcohol – and then the finish. Wines with long seamless finishes are really the great wines. It’s not all about power. It takes a long time before you can taste En Primeur properly. There’s a hierarchy in Bordeaux that helps as you can kind of figure out what should taste good. But to really understand how wines evolve you need a good 10 years of tasting.”

The logic issue here is that we know scientifically that the vast majority of our sensory experience in tasting wine comes aromatically and retro-nasally. So one (but not the only!) interpretation of the above quote is that En Primeur ratings are meaningless, or at least limited in value to consumers, because the aromas – and therefore the majority of the wine’s sensory experience – cannot be fully evaluated. The contradiction being that the wine world largely treats those ratings as not having any such limited usage.

Issues like that one crop up all over the place in the wine world, if you’re willing to look hard enough. And so it should be of little surprise to many of you when I tell you that the act of rating wines falls squarely into what is commonly called “bad science” in the scientific world…

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