AWW Episode 5
Post By: Richard Smith on 03/31/2009
In his blog today, Steve Heimoff wrote a piece entitled "Oops! When famous wine writers get it wrong". The piece references a few examples of wine experts mistaking the one wine for another, whether in terms of varietal or region of production. He goes on to suggest that "wine writers not only have to review to the best of their ability, they also have to be great historians, students of popular culture, with an aptitude for science and geology and — above all — transcendent writers."
At first I thought this was just the usual back-handed complimenting that goes on all the time - "Oh yes, I can be such a buffoon. I'll neve forget the time I mistook an '86 Duckstuffer Lot34 Pinot for a Lot 26! Ha Ha" - but on further investigation with the aid of Mr. Dictionary, I realized that Steve is on to something here. Miriam Webster suggests four possible definitions for the word 'transcendent'.
The first is 'exceeding usual limits' and generally speaking, I think most wine writers do indeed exceed the usual limits when it comes to wine...consumption that is. I suspect this is why much that is written about wine, and I include my own incoherent ramblings in this assessment, is such utter crap.
The second is 'being beyond comprehension'. Need I say more?
Anyway, that's not why I mentioned Steve's piece. The reason I did so is that our Around the World of Wine Tour moved back to Eastern Europe yesterday and stopped in the Czech Republic to sample a wine that nobody would be able to recognize, not even Steve. It was, so the label claimed, a Pinot Gris but I refuse to believe it. If they had claimed it was a Chardonnay, I might have been able to accept it, but this wine was like no Pinot Gris I have ever tasted. It had a very weak nose with barely a hint of vanilla and the taste was equally bland.
Having said all that, the wine received 3 out 5 'I Like It's" which just goes to prove that wine reviews are purely subjective as Steve suggests and, equally, completely pointless.
My recommendation to you is this; try as many different wines as you possibly can, ignore all wine reviews, and stock up on the wine YOU like, not the ones Robert Parker or James Suckling or Alice Feiring or Steve Heimoff or Jancis Robinson or anybody else says you should like.
Winery: Znovin Znojmo Winery
Country: Czech Republic
Varietal: Pinot Gris
Melinda Saretzky - 04/03/2009
Enobytes - 04/04/2009
Right on Richard! Great advice - its all about what the consumer likes - not the reviewer. Drink what you like and who cares what anyone thinks.