Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Don't like a review--a wine rating? Let it alone!

  Wine reviewers by egocentric necessity seem to require equally egocentric iconoclastic crusaders; think Lamprey attached to a Rainbow trout.
  Certainly there are better writers, better reviewers, and those less polemically challenged to contend for Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, and all the wine reviewers (weighty or not) than moi, but why this constant effort to deflate not only an industry, hobby, and service, but a right (at least for now)?
  For one thing, speaking for myself, my advice is: Don't like reviews and distain scores and those that ply the trade of quantifying  opinions, from movie reviews to the quality of a hotel, then let it alone, but why the basically singular and constant effort on the part of some to besmirch wine scores?
  As for me and my. . . we choose to honor those initials of ST, JS, RP, JL, and SH, etcetera, though requiring their services less and less the more we develop and experience our own senses and before we hoi polloi plunk-down our hard earned pesos for a wine that just might suck. 
  Good writing doesn't presuppose good ideas.

2007 Opus One
RP-95 points and ST-94 points


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  1. I stopped looking at professional reviews with regularity years ago. Once someone reaches a certain level of tasting experience, you pretty much know what you enjoy and what you can afford. For the most part, you continue buying those labels. In the absence of an unlimited budget, I can't see that changing too much. The key is to find a reviewer (whoever it is) whose palate aligns with yours. That's the best asset to someone who is not in a position to taste a broad range of wines.

    Equally, it's good to have a diametrically opposed palate. For example, if Parker gushes about a wine and goes on and on about it's lush, hedonistic, huge, rich character....chances are, I'm going to hate it. :)

    1. John, you speak truth! Thanks for adding to what should be known by newbie wine tasters.
      My concern is the motives for attacking the whole industry, as it's almost a vengeful attitude that seems disproportionate to its relevance.
      Don't like WS? Don't buy it!

  2. As you are probably aware, I don't like the 100 point scoring system (if there has to be a numeric system, I'd pick the UC Davis 20 point version), but I still read the reviews (just so I can disagree with them, ha!). I much prefer reviews with sensory observations.

    1. VG: Yes, I was thinking of you, but I never sensed that you were on a crusade.
      Usually I do my review, then for-the-fun-of-it I'll sometimes see how I compare with what others say; I usually tend to score higher than CT, but between the 'pros', and often my sensory observations are different than theirs, but a bottle of wine "is a living thing":

  3. Or as Warren Winiarski said (and I'm ad-libbing here)..."wine is a dying thing. Hopefelly, it dies gracefully."

    1. VG: "dying" seems more accurate and less aesthetic!

  4. To be declared the 'best' Chardonnay in the world requires a quantifying of, dare I say: opinions! Opinions declared to be by so many as 'useless'. I'm guessing that parsing the verbiage will be in order, but these facts put Miljenko "Mike" Grgich in a special category: GrgichChardonnay

  5. Some feedback from this post can be summarized thus: Opinions are subjective, opinions are useless, and "Try such & such a wine" (opinion implied), and that's okay and beyond the subjective. Right?
    I hear it all the time: "Wine is subjective!" There is certainly predilections for one wine or style of one or more wines, but within the confines of any single wine-type is a consensus of the quality and nature of a wine! Period. If, for example, ten seasoned wine tasters give a Bordeaux red wine a score of 100 or near points, you can bet your bottom-dollar it's going to be a great note-worthy wine, and if one, especially unseasoned dabbler, curses the thing, you can bet that's subjectivity;
    extremes can highlight this problem: Plonk contrasts well with the best Barolo, and to call this subjectivity is simply silly.