Saturday, October 20, 2018

Wine Recommendations

I hate to criticize someone else's work but I just read the worst wine column I can recall in quite some time. This was at one of those ultra-bland news magazine sites that has a dedicated Food & Beverage section that is so transparently driven by advertisers, you feel used and insulted as you read it.

The title of the column admonished readers to stop buying everyday priced wines and spend more for better wine.  That's not a bad idea.  The problem comes when they start directing the reader to what they think is better wine.  What is left unspoken is the obvious mass marketers' desire to corral diverse tastes into one camp in order to provide their own palate panacea.  Reading the article I couldn't help but think of the current insurance industry commercials featuring Dennis Quaid as the wink-and-a-nod cynical spokesperson.

So here are three points I think are just plain wrong:

1. Trust your friends for wine recommendations. 

What's wrong with that?  We are all subject to the mass-media advertising onslaught in our lives.  We have both the blatant in-your-face advertising and the more subliminal product placement or celebrity endorsements.  We fall prey to the stuff.  Personally, I fall prey to advertising.  So don't assume your friends don't.  Venture out to other wine types for adventure.

2.  Try shopping the New World wines first.

Why?  The Old World has been making wine a lot longer.  Old World winemakers may have forgotten more than New World wine makers have learned.  While the New World makes great cocktail wines, if it's dinner wine you want, at every price point a better wine can be had from old Europe.

3.  Stick with a vintner you trust.

You've got to be kidding me.  It's a worldwide wine industry.  Why wouldn't you venture out to experience more and more from everywhere?  How can one vintner be the best at everything he does?  That doesn't make sense.

Now, to be fair, here are three points from the article that do make sense to me:

1.  Forget points.  Forget the rating system.  It's a racket.  Money changes hands.  Moreover, as an industry insider, there are too many ways wine can be altered in transportation and warehousing so it's not the same wine as reviewed by the expert. 

2.  Trust your palate.  When you try a new type of wine, give it a fair shot.  The first sip in never accurate.  Try it again.  Pair it with the food it's intended to accompany.  Now see if it works.

3.  Above all, drink what you like.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with that!