Tuesday, May 03, 2005

A Recommendation

I have been neglectful in not pointing out www.wineforall.com previously. Tish runs a very good site, and one that I particularly like because, like HJWOW his site is meant to encourage wine exploration and to reject elitism and snobbery. Witness:

"In events and writings alike, we reject the notion that wine is complicated and upper-crusty. Wine is fun—and always best when shared."

Of note, be sure to sign up for his emailed newsletter, the latest was one of the best bits of wine writing I've read in quite some time. Among the gems:

Mondovino Analysis - In my opinion, Tish hits the nail on the head with a very fair look at the documentary. I know several people in the film, and based on the way they were portrayed, I can't help but wonder how Nossiter hoped to ever call his work even-handed and anything but manipulative.

Comments about ratings - Excellent observation that food pairings can change wine's "score" to the consumer dramatically (try Italian wines with and without food!). Also, the Gallo of Sonoma abuse from a Speculator score of '55' highlights what I've mentioned
previously about the problem of "following one's (super) nose".

Red Truck outperforming Domaine Balaquère - Red Truck has become a favorite burger/pizza wine around my house and I love to see examples of what I've been saying for a while - take the label (and price tag) off of a bottle and consumers will follow their palate, not their ego, or someone else ratings. Drink what you like....

Dan Berger refusing to taste a wine based on its sell sheet - “I have already tasted this kind of wine,” he wrote. “Not this exact wine, but many like it… " Odd, is Dan lining himself up for the position of crown prince (with the associated ego trip) now that Jim Laube is becoming irrelevant?

Again, check out the site and when you sign up for the newsletter, ask for the May edition, its a classic.


Blogger Tom said...


Ditto on Tish's "Wine For All". Did you mention he's a damn funny guy too.

With regard to Dan Berger, Tish wrote in his last email:

"In short, Dan rejected the offer of a sample of Quintessa 2001 Napa Valley Meritage because the a press mailing indicated that the wine had pH of 3.82, total acid of .59 grams per liter, alcohol of 14.7%, and aging in 60% new French oak. Dan basically damned the wine without even tasting it. His reasoning? “I have already tasted this kind of wine,” he wrote. “Not this exact wine, but many like it… I am unalterably opposed to wine that is soft, juicy, fat, oaky, and oafish with food, which is exactly what these numbers indicate. This wine was made to be impressive to those who have forgotten (or never knew) what it was like to taste a wine that had balance and the acidity needed for aging…These over-ripe, unbalanced brutes have all the delicacy of a Hummer.”

Tish takes Dan to task for using this wine, that he hadn't tasted, to condemn all such wines. But the fact is, he had tasted this wine...hundreds of them. There really is not good way to mask a 3.82pH. Dan is pretty in tune with his own palate and there are few writers out there who know the implications of lab results like Dan does. I think the point he was making was valid. As for setting himself up as the crown prince, that's not happening. But, I'm very pleased to see a writer our there take so seriously the implications of the "Big Wine" trend that he'll make such a big point.


May 04, 2005 6:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But the fact is, he had tasted this wine...hundreds of them."

Tom, you just cut the wind from your own sails. The question isn't whether he'd tasted wines with similar lab analysis, which both you and he imply, but whether he’d tasted THE wine in question.

Sorry, but you can’t review a wine with any authority if you haven’t tasted it. (I can support the idea of finding a defect with the nose of a wine & refusing to put it into your mouth, then giving it a bad review based on that…but to condemn a wine without even a cursory investigation of it?) The TA was ok, and the pH and alcohol a little high. And my general preference would be for a little less new oak, but I'll reserve my judgement until I've tasted the wine. Perhaps with this wine those numbers would work well, and we still have NO idead what sort of flavors or structure we could find in it because Dan never gets that far. Maybe the PR sheet was wrong too, but he'll never know now, will he?

I enjoy Dan's reviews, but this was a bad move on his part…reminds me of my kid when he'd refuse to even TRY something different to eat based solely on its appearance.
Reading a sheet of paper and dismissing something based just on that isn't right. He should have had the courage to just not review it rather than spew venom.


May 04, 2005 6:26 AM  

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