Articles Tagged wine specatator

Fine Wine Reviews Can Never Be Crowd-Sourced! Oh, Wait, They Already Have Been… For Years!

Vinted on October 10, 2012 binned in best of, commentary

About every other week, some friend or 1WD reader emails or tweets me a link to Matt Kramer’s “Drinking Out Loud” blog on WineSpectator.com. And about every other week, I have the same reaction after reading it: Kramer writes well, but his conclusions sometimes leave holes large enough that you could drive a steel tank full of Yellowtail through them.

Usually I simply shrug and ignore those conclusions, but Kramer’s piece (titled “Dubious Wine Achievements of Our Time: How smart wine people became boneheads”) published last week struck enough of a nerve that, Shatner style,  I just… couldn’t… let… GO!

It wasn’t Kramer’s near-total dismissal of both Bordeaux (maybe he should have called it “Bored-oh?”) as a region (points with which I largely agree, by the way) and Russian River Valley Pinot Noir (points with which I largely disagree) that set me into a fit of head-scratching bewilderment, but his assertion that fine wine recommendations cannot successfully be crowd-sourced.

That latter conclusion flies so forcefully smack-dab into the face of reality that I can only categorize it as head-in-the-sand posturing. Sounds harsh, I suppose, but I see no reason to let something slide when it’s so far off the mark from reality.

Let’s break this one down, shall we?

First, by looking at what Kramer actually wrote, and then at the (potentially invalid) assumptions upon which those statements were based. C’mon, it probably beasts actually working over the next few minutes, doesn’t it?…

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Calling the Brett Police on the Loire

Vinted on June 24, 2010 binned in commentary

Earlier this week, I shared a brief twitter exchange with Wine Spectator senior editor James Molesworth, kicked off by a tweet about a Chinon tasting that I noticed on James’ twitter feed:

“That was a tough flight – I’m more tolerant than most, but someone needs to send the brett police to Chinon…”

Essentially, James and I briefly discussed the fact that Chinon (in France’s Loire Valley) would be making some lovely Cabernet Franc-based wines, if only the fruit in those wines wasn’t buried under the smell of barnyard.

Yes, I’m talking about brett.  Again.

I can’t help it, I don’t want my wine to smell like poop, okay?  There, I admit it!

And with the samples coming my way lately from Chinon and nearby Bourgueil, poop is exactly what I’m finding.  Here are a couple of examples that found their way onto the wine “mini-review” feed:

  • 07 Domaine Bernard Baudry Chinon: With that much brett masking the red fruit, a more suitable name might be "Domaine Barnyard Baudry" $18 C- #
  • 06 Domaine Guion Cuvee Prestige (Bourgueil): Brambly red fruit & spice peeking out their heads from under a pound or so of fertilizer $14 C- #

James’ tweet really got me thinking that a) it’s NOT just me, and b) my samples might actually be indicative of the general quality of those regions’ wines.

Sorry to those who really dig Chinon, but I don’t subscribe to the belief that the concept of terroir extends to poop-aroma-inducing yeasts (and possibly dirty winemaking equipment).  When the day comes that winemakers deliberately cultivate the wild yeasts that induce those off-odors, and it can be proven scientifically, then I’ll stop calling it a flaw and instead refer to it as a poor winemaking decision.

But until then, it’s a flaw.

Cheers!

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Wine Satan or Wine Savior? An Interview With Wine Trials Author Robin Goldstein

Vinted on January 25, 2010 binned in best of, book reviews, interviews, wine books, wine publications

Depending on who you ask, Wine Trials author Robin Goldstein is either the wine world’s Satan, or the wine consumer’s Savior.

Whether you feel that Goldstein’s powers are being used for good or evil, you can’t say that he harbors a fear of shaking things up.  Goldstein became a polarizing figure in the wine world in 2008, when he ruffled the feathers of Wine Spectator by creating a fictitious restaurant whose wine list included some of their lowest-scoring Italian wines in the past two decades, and subsequently won their restaurant Award of Excellence.  The aftermath caused one of the most heated debates of the year in the wine world.

Goldstein also coauthored The Wine Trials, the first edition of which is the bestselling wine guide (for inexpensive wines, anyway) in the world.  The premise of the Wine Trials was simple: compare everyday wines to more expensive equivalents in blind tastings, and see which ones the average person preferred.  As it turns out, most wine consumers – to a statistically significant degree – enjoy the less expensive options; more feathers ruffled!

Goldstein has a new website, BlindTaste.com, and the 2010 edition of the Wine Trials has recently been released.  I tore through my review copy of The Wine Trials, and I found the first 50 pages (which describe the approach and science behind the book, and hint at its future implications on the wine industry) to be some of the most profound reading on wine appreciation that I have ever come across.  The Wine Trials doesn’t just poke at wine’s sacred cows – it skewers them, grills them, and serves them up with an inexpensive Spanish red (Lan Rioja Crianza in this case, which took the Wine of the Year honors in the 2010 Wine Trials).  A similar take on beer, The Beer Trials, is set to be released this Spring.

Robin kindly agreed to answer a few questions for our readers.  I’ll warn you that you should be prepared for a quick and opinionated mind – and you might want to pad the walls of your wine world, because that world is about to get turned squarely onto its ear…

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