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the caveman

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  1. Tess makes a good point here. As John pointed out, for the wine initiated, there exists quite a few info sources, both traditional and non-traditional (blogs and forums like this). If there is a point where blogs have proven themselves it is in tackling issues that main stream wine mags have chosen to not deal with (for whatever reason). I would cite the topics of organics, bio-dynamics, additives and manipulations specifically. These are important issues and are being dealt with in a much more dynamic fashion on the blogs than in traditional media sources. But most of the blogs are written by 'newbies' for 'newbies.' In this sense, the initiated might find them amateurish, lacking depth, and sometimes misinformed. Fine, but they are not geered to us and most of those people new to wine (as someone said previously in this thread) would find the articles that interest us, plainly uninteresting. There exist very few publications (virtual or print) that help explain wine on a very basic level and blogs like Basic Juice do a fantastic job of making the new wine drinker comfortable. It is not a matter of 'dumbing down,' simply adressing the issues at hand in a way which makes the uninitaited comfortable.
  2. I think we are getting somewhere here. First a blog is defined as a web log or diary. I believe one problem is that many are deviating from this and are offering up what are essentially web pages with all sorts of verbiage--rants, diatribes, musings, ramblings, reader comments, commentary, Q and A etc etc etc. Second--let me start with the mandatory first amendment disclaimer--I do believe that one has the "right" to say anything on the web on one's own web page. Third-- You use the term anarchy. I would ask why you feel we need "anarchy" and how this could possibly be a good thing? You cite Robert Parker and the Wine Spectator--ok these are two relatively popular "main stream" establishments. I am curious why you leave out any of the hundreds of other established folks. Tanzer, Jancis Robinson, Quarterly Wine Review, Burghound, Wine Enthusiast, Kolm, Hugh Johnson, Andrea Immer, the many wine columns--the NY Times, GQ, Food and Wine, Gourmet, Lettie Teague, WSJ, Jay McInerny in HG and on and on and......... So why are Parker and WS are singled out as motivating reasons for bloggers to exists? also--you cite their "influence"--I would point out that the total subscription list for Parker and the circ of the Wine Spectator even combined (and I am sure there is a lot of overlap here) would merely scratch the surface. I believe you greatly overinflate their influence. Anyway--just who are these people influencing? and how are they influencing them? Why do we (or anyone) need bloggers to supply an-- "antidote?" This accepting that the hundreds of other voices in the wine world (I cited a handful above) are present in all sorts of media from TV and radio to newspapers, newsletters, web sites, books, periodicals, journals, diaries,--all writing about wine! I believe Mr Rogov asked--what issues are uncovered by these outlets? Let's look at one of the sites you cite--"Zinfidel" There's a link (thank you) to a page wherein the Zinfidel explores: "Minerality: Mythos and real;ity." I challenge anyone to navigate the gibberish that follows! Even if one could--the conclusion reached is so inane as to leave one breathless with astonishment. I am sure the Zinfidel is a nice guy and he or she may even be reasonably about wine but really! So-even if one accepts the thinking about minerality and the conclusion--I would still ask: is there anything here that is new--that is not covered with more accuracy and clearer writing in say thousand other places? (say the Oxford Encyclopedia for eg). So why do we need the "Zinfidel?" why would one be the better for having spent even a few p[resious minutes perusing the Zinfidel's musings? As I noted earlier in this thread-there are some good blogs out there. Most IMOP are written by industry insiders-people whose opinions carry some weight. Some are not very good writers some are quite engaging. I would note a good example is Joe Dressner's web musings. There are also some good sites that offer links to other sites and information on the web--performing a clearing house of information and thought. The vast majority of sites are just plain awful! Loaded with confusing prose, muddled thinking, and just plain rubbish. They are akin to family vacation photos accompanied by rambling narrative--only a friend or family member would care. They are loaded with opinions offered up by people who are not even minimally educated in the topics about which they ruminate--no--pontificate. I am also fearful of the overall level of discourse that these blogs encourage. The lack of any rigorous thinking. I offer this response from a reader to the Zinfidel's tome on minerality in wine: John Wow. Where to start with this one. We agree that a blog is a weblog and that people should have the right within limits to say what they want to say on their own sites. Okay, now where we disagree. What's up with the anger and resentment. Look, some people do not write as well as you do. I am sure that you find much of what is out there in terms of content as superfluous, banal, perhaps boring. It is obviously not for you. That people comment means that the blog is read... people are taking the time to reply. This is called COMMUNICATION. That is a good thing. Your dismissal of everything that does not meet your obviously high standard of content or grammar is unfortunate. Rogov used the term anarchy. I prefer the word 'democratization.' I cited WS and Parker only as examples. I love Burghound, Jancis..but simply because there are people already writing about wine does not mean that no one else should do it. What is your point here.. when are there too many wine writers in your opinion? I cited WS and Parker specifically for MY OWN PERSONAL reasons for starting my blog. If you want to get into why I would love to go into greater detail on our own thread. In terms of the influence that a number of these critics have, making wine for points is a reality.. I will send you some links of some interesting articles on the subject if you so desire, and no , I am not a 'Mondo-vino' inspired paranoiac. I believe Vini at Zinquisition is in fact a winemaker in California. So John, what is minerality in wine? Does it exist, and if so, what makes german Riesling so distinctly different from other Rieslings? Show me one of your 'well written' articles that looks at minerality from this scientific perspective. These people are not writing to win a James Beard award. It is a simple exchange between a scientist and a winemaker. In fact, I don't agree with much that was said in the article, but that does not give me the right to become some pompous first amendment rights revoker. So where do you read about manipulations and the use of additives in winemaking? What is your source.? Via the blogs, I can show you a couple of great perspectives on the usage of 'mega-purple', written by winemakers, sellers and drinkers. Interesting takes on a relatively important subject (to some), that is again a positive thing even with faulty grammar and sometimes poor sentance structure. Joe D is a nice guy and a fine dinner companion. What's your point? He is one of the better wine people out there and offers up a very valid, and much needed vision of what wine should be. Considering the question of spoof and fake wine, The wines he represents are very important. Unfortunately, much of the mainstream media does little to support the 'vin nature' movement, or to question how consolidation in the industry is making it tougher for guys like Joe... Good thing that there are blogs to pick up the slack.
  3. Thanks for the kind words Craig. M. Rogov, I agree that there are too many blogs to keep track of them all. I have a dozen or so that I read regularily and a bunch of others that I visit on occasion. If I have a complaint about a number of blogs is that they tend to sacrifice quality for quantity, posting every day as opposed to 2 or 3 times a week with well thought out, well-researched articles. This is the essential difference between the blog and the forum. Forums are good for banter, quick exchanges of opinion (as we are doing here). Blogs on the other hand allow for more depth. I think both are worthy. Anarchy will take root and prosper in fertile ground. In North America, WS and Parker have too much influence and I believe that this influence is having a negative effect on the wine industry as a whole. Part of my motivation for blogging was to talk about wines, wine styles and other issues that were either not getting a fair shake or simply being treated in a fashion that I disagreed with. Here are a couple of posts and interseting exchanges that I hope demonstrate the value of the blogs and how they tackle both interesting and important issues http://www.vinography.com/archives/000917.html http://thecaveman.blogspot.com/2006/02/bio...be-not-for.html http://zinquisition.blogspot.com/2006/04/m...nd-reality.html In terms of information, I would agree that there is the danger that there might be eventually too much, but I am of the mind that too much is better than not enough. Cheers, Bill
  4. People blog because they can and because they feel that they have something to say. Simple. If they are talking shit, misinformed or are simply bad writers then they will eventually find themselves with no readers. Simple. You don't like what they have to say, then don't read it. What is the problem here? I agree that many blogs aren't worth the time that is required to type in the URL. But there do exist quite a few great blogs who attempt to challenge, to discuss and to inform. One simply has to spend some time going through the comments section of Vinography, Zinquisition, Fermentations, Craig's site or Basic Juice and one will find that a community is developing which is uniting winemakers, retailers, sommeliers, critics and anyone interested in wine (hell, even Rogov is invited!!). And like the better blogs, this community is growing. Why? Because it is a discussion and is open to all, not simply a privelage for those who have the good fortune to have access to a media outlet. Times have thankfully changed and as a result we are beginning to see the democratization of wine criticism, and important discussions relevant to the wine industry that are not being dealt with in the more mainstream media. Geeky perhaps, but for those interested in that type of thing (like myself), it is a valuable tool and one which has helped shape the way I look at wine. But most importantly via these discussions and the researched efforts of the better bloggers, important contributions are being made to the mass of archived information available to all. This again is a good thing.
  5. Where is Lemeac? and I'll try Holder. I'll ask a friend of MacM if Joe Beef is doing a tartare...wow, imagine gobbling a couple dozen oysters and then a tartare... I find the best whites are southwest french whites (Irouleguy, Jurancon, Languedoc) though I did drink and exceptional Cote du Rhone from tardieu Laurent that was mind blowing with the raw beef... but I am always open to new suggestions.
  6. The white banyuls was from Mas Cornet and around $25 a bottle on private import from Arvin.. and the Helios was extraordinary..though expensive.. I was at the show for 3 days and from what I remember (it's a bit fuzzy) 1. Tissot's Savignan and his new experiment, a recioto style red Vin de Paille 2. Joel Gott's Zinfandel, 3. pretty well the whole line of Niagara based Peninsula Ridge 4. Taupenot-Merme's Morey St-Denis 5. Both Ferriera and Ramos Pinto Duoros were also pretty impressive Too bad all these wines are only available on private imports...bonehead SAQ!
  7. As I live up in Ste-Agathe and have become a bit allergic to the city, I don't get to try as many new restos as I would like. I have been a L'Express reg for 20 or so years, always eat tartare, always white wine (had to throw that one in)... anyone eaten a good tartare of late?
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