Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Wine Blogging Comes of Age


Rebel Rose
 Share

Recommended Posts

Maybe wine blogs seem more useful if (like me) you aren't that knowledgeable, just interested. I read both food and wine blogs a lot, just looking for ideas, and often find very helpful ones. From reading blogs in areas where I am more of an expert, I have a good idea of the pitfalls of the medium. I am not so naive as to take anything as gospel-- whether it's on a blog or in a more formal publication.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Plus a forum allows for differing viewpoints and they are, for the most part, more interesting more dynamic.

Absolutely, I agree. Forums are dynamic, and information on a well-organized bulletin board is easy to find; conversations are easy to pick up and continue. Neverthess, blogs and the perspectives they offer can spark curiosity, questions, and conversation.

One thing is clear, the level of discourse is lowered by the proliferation of blogs overall.

Banal conversation is not limited to the internet--the Net is an extension of life. One doesn't go to the coffeeshops with stoner poetry readings if one prefers Mensa meetings. (Personally I think I prefer the stoner coffeshops . . . :hmmm: )

Also the proliferation of blogs has accelerated the development and spread of "conventional wisdom." This can be a bad thing when that wisdom is based upon a faulty premise or when supported by erroneous "facts" or misinformation ... (it can be difficult to tell).

Come on, guys. Print media has a long history of proliferating 'conventional wisdom,' and if anything, must bear more responsibility for its errors because of the relative weight that readers give it.

This week, I read an article on organic wines in a British Columbia publication--an edited publication--which refers to non-native wine yeasts as "syntethic" and "genetically modified." (I will be posting a short 'comment' on my blog today or tomorrow entitled 'The Yeast that Ate My Brain.' This kind of soy people reaction to the use of non-native yeasts annoys me to the bone. How could any responsible editor let those descriptors stand without challenge?)

_____________________

Mary Baker

Solid Communications

Find me on Facebook

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some comments from Tom Wark at Fermentation (who can't get his account to work tech support)

One thing about wine blogging that really must be noted is that it has allowed a number of new “voices” to enter into the wine publishing arena where they were really unable to participate in years past. This is significant.

There were always websites but one did need either money or a real education in HTML in order to get their voice to the wine reader. Years ago, when we had only books and magazines on wine how many really compelling voices of writers and thinkers were unheard because there was no place for them to be published? This has all changed. Wine blogs allows easy access to those looking to learn more about wine. This proliferation of new voices is what’s most significant about wine blogging.

However, that said the audience for wine blogs is growing exponentially thanks to the fact that search engines tend to favor the regularly updated blog format. There are IN FACT thousands upon thousands of people seeking out blogs for their daily dose of wine info. Clearly the print media the wine web sites and the forums is NOT enough.

That said, there are a good number of wine blogs that are horrific and useless. However, like anything else that is horrific and useless, they fall by the wayside.

But then you have other bloggers, who I grant do not have editors...yet, who are far and away better than a number of “professional” writers and critics who are published in the print media and edited by professional editors. Vinography, Dr. Vino, Lenndevours, The Good Grape, Cima Collina Wine Blog...just to name a few.

Finally, let’s remember that blogging (and “Wine Blogging” is in its infancy. The blogging format WILL eventually change the way many many more wine consumers obtain their wine information. And there will be money made in this alteration of the wine publishing format. And, in the end, many more very fine writers with a love of wine and wine lovers with a fine voice will turn to the wine blogging format.

If you are tired of wine blogs now....well, it’s just going to get more crowded out there. But the cool thing is, it’s going to get better too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To follow on Tom's comment (via Craig), some wine blogs are starting to get editors. Wine Sediments, part of the Well Fed network, comes to mind (I'm the editor at a sister site--Growers and Grocers). I don't know how much editing Mark Fisher actually does, but I know that I put some effort into making suggestions when my writers post into the staging area. My edits range from near rewrites, to a few word changes here and there.

Which brings me to the general definition of a blog, since that's come up in a few posts. This is the standard view (a la Wikipedia): "a web-based publication consisting primarily of periodic articles, most often in reverse chronological order." The most common variant includes "written by one person or a small group of people."

Yes, it's a vague definition, but it does encompass the millions of different species of blogs out there.

Derrick Schneider

My blog: http://www.obsessionwithfood.com

You have to eat. You might as well enjoy it!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Come on, guys.  Print media has a long history of proliferating 'conventional wisdom,' and if anything, must bear more responsibility for its errors ...
Certainly, and it's a good point. (Examples come to mind.) But johnL's point is good too, I think: Self-publication is free to hold forth gloriously untroubled by reality checks. In this it surpasses even niche publications (aka "buff books").
This week, I read an article on organic wines in a British Columbia publication--an edited publication . . . How could any responsible editor let those descriptors stand without challenge?
Here's one for you: As recently as last year a mainstream newspaper resurrected the cherished myth of the Austrian "anti-freeze" wine-adulteration scandal of 1985. (It was a true scandal, but mostly a journalistic one, because anti-freeze was never involved. Only some instances of a similar-sounding glycol, considerably less toxic than alcohol. Writers and editors careless of chemistry killed an entire country's wine exports for years, and yet after all this was clarified thoroughly, the error repeats.)

You do need to lift a finger sometimes to do reality checks, but failures by major media don't change the issue of self publications that haven't even heard of reality checks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A while back in this thread, a question was posed:

What new thinking or perspective is being added by these blogs?

Take the glut of books, journals, newsletters, columns, articles and web sites already established.

I also would add a few (very few) handful of blogs that provide some inside the industry perspective or are highly focused on one or two aspects--technical or local info etc.

Now:

Everyone of the many blogs I have looked at offer regurgitated / recycled /rehashed takes on ideas, thoughts, conventional wisdom that is already out there in so called mainstream or established sites--books, web sites, articles etc etc etc.

There is precious little new information or perspective and little commentary that warrants wading through the literally tons of stuff on the web.

I agree, there is plenty wrong with a lot of the wine writing today (the mainstream media reporting can be awful) but as I see it the web blogs are just amplifying it (and in most cases making it even more muddled).

I have looked at tasting notes by self proclaimed enophiles that are atrocious--poorly written and confusing.

I have seen issues large and small discussed with "authority" by people who are clearly mis and worse un informed.

Snobbery and reverse snobbery--rampant!

Whatever problems there are with the established thinking--multiply by a hundred and you have the current ate of web blogs.

again--there are precious few good one's/

there are several more valuable sites offering local or technical information and perspective--let's credit these.

But when one offers that "things are getting better..." and looks forward to more--remember right now there are thousands of blogs on wine I shudder!

Finally--I guess I am asking why would anyone need to go beyond the books, magazines, journals, newsletters, established web sites and forums and wade through the wine blogs?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Finally--I guess I am asking why would anyone need to go beyond the books, magazines, journals, newsletters, established web sites and forums and wade through the wine blogs?

I am trying to think of something to say about this question, but I am left speechless.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

as a sort of ps to my earlier post:

I do want to reiterate that there are some well done blogs--Wark is pretty good.

but a lot of that is due to his being part of the industry and the fact that he has a more "conventional" website that happens to offer a "blog."

He also is not ideological in his approach to major issues and is reasonably thoughtful.

By the way--I belive I "discovered" Wark because of either Mary or Craig here at eGullet.

I am not anti blog--but someone has to provide some critical perspective!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Finally--I guess I am asking why would anyone need to go beyond the books, magazines, journals, newsletters, established web sites and forums and wade through the wine blogs?

I am trying to think of something to say about this question, but I am left speechless.

you'll think of something!

:wink:

Actually, i believe it was Daniel Rogov who asked.

anyway

the point being --

the reality is there are relatively few people who are interested in wine to the degree that they are going to read blogs. (or anything really).

I believe that a small group of people who would identify themselves as enophiles exists and consumes a disproportionate amount of the wine info and writing available.

Thus a lot of writers are sort of talking to themselves and each other and most bloggers are just talking to themselves.

The enophiles are the folks who get all worked up over "globalization" and points and terroir etc.

That's my theory at least.

There is a much larger group of wine lovers who simply enjoy drinking wine and are not "philes"

These folks may read an article or two once in a while and may even read a book or a guide.

That's it--they are also not much concerned about micro-oxygenation etc.

In fact, I believe if these people read a few blogs or visited a forum, they would scratch their heads maybe chuckle and get on with their lives.

These are the people who represent the general public!

The wine industry IMOP has little understanding of these people--but that's another thread for another day!

cheers

by the way--someone told me about an Italian winemaker--Doriko?

also Perka (spelling may be off.

Do you know these guys' efforts?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have looked at tasting notes by self proclaimed enophiles that are atrocious--poorly written and confusing.

Whereas most tasting notes in established magazines are boring in the extreme. Do you think any average consumer reads more than one of these? Do you pore over every tasting note in WS or the Wine Advocate? No traditional magazine will allow a writer to play with the form, to move beyond the current stodgy norm (which is itself a fairly modern invention) and make wine tasting notes more accessible to the public. It is left to those without a "professional" voice to explore new avenues (or certain professionals--Karen MacNeil comes to mind as an advocate of more interesting tasting notes). Most won't be improvements, most will actually be worse than the standard, but there always has to be some avenue for people to push beyond what the mainstream accepts. Leaflets, newsletters, and zines were previous avenues, and blogs are the current manifestation.

I'm not denying that the world of blogs is littered with bad writers and pompous opinions (nor would I contrast that with the published experts), but traditional media are just that--traditional--and rarely move beyond their established forms. I don't have to sell subscriptions (or even ads) on my blog, so I experiment and play to move beyond the standard wine tasting note I have to write for my clients. Because I'm convinced that the modern tasting note is fairly useless to most of the wine buyers out there.

Derrick Schneider

My blog: http://www.obsessionwithfood.com

You have to eat. You might as well enjoy it!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have looked at tasting notes by self proclaimed enophiles that are atrocious--poorly written and confusing.

Whereas most tasting notes in established magazines are boring in the extreme. Do you think any average consumer reads more than one of these? Do you pore over every tasting note in WS or the Wine Advocate? No traditional magazine will allow a writer to play with the form, to move beyond the current stodgy norm (which is itself a fairly modern invention) and make wine tasting notes more accessible to the public. It is left to those without a "professional" voice to explore new avenues (or certain professionals--Karen MacNeil comes to mind as an advocate of more interesting tasting notes). Most won't be improvements, most will actually be worse than the standard, but there always has to be some avenue for people to push beyond what the mainstream accepts. Leaflets, newsletters, and zines were previous avenues, and blogs are the current manifestation.

I'm not denying that the world of blogs is littered with bad writers and pompous opinions (nor would I contrast that with the published experts), but traditional media are just that--traditional--and rarely move beyond their established forms. I don't have to sell subscriptions (or even ads) on my blog, so I experiment and play to move beyond the standard wine tasting note I have to write for my clients. Because I'm convinced that the modern tasting note is fairly useless to most of the wine buyers out there.

I don't mean to focus on tasting notes.

But

Tasting notes are meant to convey information about a wine.

there is a science involved (contrary to what too many believe) it is not all subjective.

Professional Wine tasting is science and art--objective and subjective to be sure.

It requires training, knowledge and experience.

when we discount training, experience and knowledge we end up the poorer for it!

I believe that Daniel Rogov (more eloquently) and I are making the argument that there is a "dumbing down" taking place (exacerbated by the proliferation of blogs etc.

Accessibility is one thing and is much welcome but lowering the bar is quite another.

I gave an example of a dumbed down approach from a blog when I referenced a note (I forget the site) about a peachy Canyon zinfandel.

Anyway--the "experimentation" you reference is fine but sometimes I feel like I am watching someone learn the violin--I prefer to hear that person when they have gone through the formal training and are deemed worthy of Carnegie Hall (I will also pay happily).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

another ps

Just to show I am trying to be fair here.

I finally looked at Craig Camp's site/blog--I don't know what these things are really!

To give credit where----

The tasting notes are very well done IMOP.

a good example of tating notes that are professionally executed and engaging.

(by the way Craig: what no scores?! lol)

so ok--this is a pretty good site.

the writing is very good--nice job

it's just that there are so many sites--you almost have to "stumble" upon the good one's.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are a lot of good points being presented here. Here's my .02:

The blog as a web posting tool is incredibly versatile and convenient to use (from a writer's perspective). You don't need to know anything about HTML or CSS; you can even post via email. On top of that, there are many providers who allow anyone to create a blog for free (Blogger, Wordpress, etc.). Easy and free. This has opened up online publishing to an entire segment of the population who would probably have never begun writing. Since it's easy and it's free, why not? Yes, it's created A LOT of crap (mine included!). But there are, as noted, many good blogs worth reading. Is there a glut of crap? Well, yes. The other side of the coin is that there is an incredible diversity of information out there for the taking. I've been in IT for 15 years and am still awestruck by the power of the internet. So finding those blogs CAN be a pain, but worth it since there's truly something out there for everyone. It's a beautiful thing... :cool:

Cheers,

JEM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

another ps

Just to show I am trying to be fair here.

I finally looked at Craig Camp's site/blog--I don't know what these things are  really!

To give credit where----

The tasting notes are very well done IMOP.

a good example of tating notes that are professionally executed and engaging.

(by the way Craig: what no scores?! lol)

so ok--this is a pretty good site.

the writing is very good--nice job

it's just that there are so many sites--you almost have to "stumble" upon the good one's.

Damn, I forgot to block that IP. :wink:

Actually my site provides two functions, which I frankly chose mostly for my needs. First I love to think about wine and food and the pleasures they provide and writing gives me an outlet for that process. Secondly, I have amassed quite a few words on wine over the decades and I need a place to put them - that gets automatic backups. Cataloging my past writing on various sections of my site gives them a home and, if anybody cares to, an opportunity to be read them. My blog is the lead section of my site and everything else is just a library for things I have written or interesting things I find. I suppose there is a third reason, as making and selling wine is my profession, The Wine Camp Blog gives me the opportunity to still be a passionate consumer in love with wine and food.

However, when you arrive at Wine Camp you first get a wine blog, pure and simple.

Edited by Craig Camp (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe wine blogs seem more useful if (like me) you aren't that knowledgeable, just interested. I read both food and wine blogs a lot, just looking for ideas, and often find very helpful ones. From reading blogs in areas where I am more of an expert, I have a good idea of the pitfalls of the medium. I am not so naive as to take anything as gospel-- whether it's on a blog or in a more formal publication.

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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Having finally gotten past the application process to be able to add to the discussion, I offer the following.

It is very interesting to see those bemoaning the “dumbing down” and “lowering of the bar” by uninformed amateurs that has occurred since the advent of wine blogging who at the same time demonstrate that they themselves are woefully misinformed about blogs in general and bloggers in particular. Pot, kettle. Kettle, pot.

As one example:

but a lot of that is due to his being part of the industry and the fact that he has a more "conventional" website that happens to offer a "blog."

It is not the Wark Communications website (basically an online brochure) that has made Tom Wark one of the most well known names in online wine writing, it is the daily posts on his blog. Through his blog he has gotten paid writing gigs and is now widely quoted in trade magazines (Wine Business Monthly quoted him in two separate articles on various wine related topics in the current issue). Eventually this has to trickle down to his PR business.

This success was not due to simply throwing a conventional site up on the web and waiting. Conventional, static websites are about as compelling as watching the grass grow. It took time, dedication and effort. It took blogging.

He also is not ideological in his approach to major issues and is reasonably thoughtful.

I beg to differ (on the ideology count, he is indeed thoughtful), and so does Joe Dressner who won’t even set foot in a room that Tom Wark is in.

Tom has a definite take on the French wine industry, the three tier system, terroir and spoof. There is an ideology to his posts because he is human and his blog allows this to show through. Sometimes he posts about his personal life. It makes his writing compelling and authentic. I discount people who say they are completely objective. Just give me your unadulterated worldview and let me draw my conclusions from there.

Also, let me give you a bit of perspective from someone in the wine industry. Blogs are more than just a vehicle to share thoughts and opinions; they are also a way to connect with potential customers and to tell a story. Blogs are more personal and focused than a message board, and they still allow for the same level of interaction via comments. Further, blogs have more “Google Juice” than static sites and message boards, which makes being found and read much easier.

One final example and I’ll sign off. Yesterday I posted about a new company called TurnHere that offers filmmaking services to business wanting to market themselves via online video. I was critical of one of their productions, and said it was cheesy and an example of poor storytelling, but that I thought that the overall concept was good. Three hours after my post the Senior VP of Sales contacted me, thanked me for mentioning the company, and said he took my comments as a challenge and that he’d love to help us tell our story.

That, in short, is the power of blogs. Voices are heard, and beneficial conversations are started from both the consumer and the business perspective.

Josh

Edited for spelling

Edited by pinotblogger (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

With part of this discussion turning to the value of tasting notes, I cannot help but agree with John L. that " Tasting notes are meant to convey information about a wine. …there is a science involved (contrary to what too many believe) it is not all subjective.Professional Wine tasting is science and art--objective and subjective to be sure. It requires training, knowledge and experience"

Indeed some amateur wine lovers are very knowledgeable and write superb notes. I think, for example, of Florida Jim whose notes are invariably not only a pleasure to read but written with broad knowledge and understanding. On the other hand I think of those many (!!) who post notes that reflect neither information nor understanding, something akin to describing pi as "that 3.14 number".

Indeed professionals writing for newspapers and magazines are limited in form and in word content. I think of my own column, for example, in which, in addition to a brief introduction I want to review anywhere from 8 – 15 wines. I also think of my readers who want a quick but accurate overview of what to expect when it comes to the wine under review. Certainly at times we can wax the fine poetic but even then the columnist has no choice but to watch his word-count carefully and to be certain to include enough information that those who know his/her taste will be able to make some judgement on whether or not to buy the wine.

I couldn't resist doing a bit of surfing on several blogs, in all cases searching for critis of the same wine, the 1997 Tignanello of Antinori. Following is my own most current tasting note and several others I found.

Antinori, Tignanello, Tuscany, 1997: From my first tasting (25 Aug 2000), I predicted this as a wine destined for greatness. Now my fourth tasting and even though it is just now becoming fully approachable, I have not a reason to regret that prediction. This full bodied wine is blessed with superb balance between smooth tannins, fruitiness (look for currants, wild berries, and stewed black cherries) and vanilla. With flavors and aromas that open in the glass and on the palate, and then linger on and on, seemingly without end…”. Drinking nicely now but best from 2005 – 2020, perhaps longer. Score 97. (Most recently tasted 4 May 2003)

Antinori, Tignanello, 1997: Fabulous.

Antinori, Tignanello, 1997: My wife loved this one. I didn’t.

Antinori, Tignanello, 1997: A nice wine but so help me I can't understand why anyone would spend more than twenty bucks for it (or any other wine)

Antinori, Tinganello (sic), 1997: Sucks!

Antinori, Tignanello, 1997: Just gets better and better. Still far from ready to drink but with several hours in decanter it gets really sweet

Antinori, Tignanello, 1997: Absolutely fantastic - will last for decades

Out of courtesy and respect for copyright, I will not quote the reviews from either Mr. Parker or the Wine Spectator. That of course does not stop a great many bloggers from cutting and pasting those reviews.

Again, with regard to "dumbing down" – perhaps its old-fashioned on my part but I do believe the old saw to the effect that those who "don't have the words really do not know what it is they want to say". As Pi, is a heck of a lot more than that 3.14 number, so is Antinori's 1997 Tignanello a great deal more than "absolutely fantastic".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Again, with regard to "dumbing down" – perhaps its old-fashioned on my part but I do believe the old saw to the effect that those who "don't have the words really do not know what it is they want to say".  As Pi, is a heck of a lot more than that 3.14 number, so is Antinori's 1997 Tignanello a great deal more than "absolutely fantastic".

I'm not sure I'd want to use your cache of blog reviews of the wine as indicative of what is available via blogs when it comes to wine reivews. There are a number of really outstanding reviewers using blogs to ply their opinions. Some are far far better than the vast majority of print based wine reviewers.

I think I've said it before, but I'll note it again here: What's significant about blogs is that it gives some really outstanding and insightful voices a box to stand on. The ease by which blogs can be maintained allows voices that previously would have gone unnoticed or unheard an audience. This is very very good news for the wine industry and wine drinkers in search of good info.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also, let me give you a bit of perspective from someone in the wine industry. Blogs are more than just a vehicle to share thoughts and opinions; they are also a way to connect with potential customers and to tell a story. Blogs are more personal and focused than a message board, and they still allow for the same level of interaction via comments. Further, blogs have more “Google Juice” than static sites and message boards, which makes being found and read much easier.

Edited for spelling

Bingo. Wine lovers that become "connected" or invested in a brand will buy more wine, become ambassaders for the brand, and sell wine. If you are a winery and want to create more such people attached to your brand, blogging is a very good way to do this. Creating an interactive space between you and your customer, carrying on an ongoing discussion between you and your customers is among the single most important things a small, agile, premium producer can do. The blog format allows this in a way that a static website alone cannot.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Antinori, Tignanello, Tuscany, 1997: From my first tasting (25 Aug 2000), I predicted this as a wine destined for greatness. Now my fourth tasting and even though it is just now becoming fully approachable, I have not a reason to regret that prediction. This full bodied wine is blessed with superb balance between smooth tannins, fruitiness (look for currants, wild berries, and stewed black cherries) and vanilla. With flavors and aromas that open in the glass and on the palate, and then linger on and on, seemingly without end…”. Drinking nicely now but best from 2005 – 2020, perhaps longer. Score 97. (Most recently tasted 4 May 2003)

Antinori, Tignanello, 1997: Fabulous.

Antinori, Tignanello, 1997: My wife loved this one. I didn’t.

Antinori, Tignanello, 1997: A nice wine but so help me I can't understand why anyone would spend more than twenty bucks for it (or any other wine)

Antinori, Tinganello (sic), 1997: Sucks!

Antinori, Tignanello, 1997: Just gets better and better. Still far from ready to drink but with several hours in decanter it gets really sweet

Antinori, Tignanello, 1997: Absolutely fantastic - will last for decades

I'm sorry, I don't see anything wrong with any of these notes. Which ones don't meet Mr. Rogov's requirements?

The last I heard, wine and food was a personal pleasure meaning that there should be a myriad of opinions (also know as tasting notes) that could and should potentially be as diverse as those doing the notes. Also, If you read these out of context it is easy to misinterpret the writers intention and message - a message that was probably clear within the context of the full post.

The varied opinions expressed in these notes reflect the power, not the weakness of blogs. Blogs communicate to all levels of experience depending on the experience of the author. That means a reader can find a blogger going through exactly what they are going through and share and expand on that experience with them.

Just because someone tastes thousands of wines on an annual basis, it does not mean that you are wrong when you disagree with them. Is this what Mr. Rogov is arguing, that because they don't agree with his opinion of the very commercial and overpriced Tignanello (the Opus One of Italy) that they are wrong?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm sorry, I don't see anything wrong with any of these notes. Which ones don't meet Mr. Rogov's requirements?

The last I heard, wine and food was a personal pleasure meaning that there should be a myriad of opinions (also know as tasting notes) that could and should potentially be as diverse as those doing the notes. Also, If you read these out of context it is easy to misinterpret the writers intention and message - a message that was probably clear within the context of the full post.

Just because someone tastes thousands of wines on an annual basis, it does not mean that you are wrong when you disagree with them. Is this what Mr. Rogov is arguing, that because they don't agree with his opinion of the very commercial and overpriced Tignanello (the Opus One of Italy) that they are wrong?

Craig, Hi..... Responding to parts of your post and quite glad that I am still wearing my bullet-proof vest

(a) You say that I may be implying that people shouldn't disagree with the critic. Forgive me but I neither said nor implied that... You will note that three of the five posts above agree with me. Agreement is never the criterion!!!! As I have said, even on e-gullet on many occasions, "if the critic is not open to criticism, nobody should be". I'll go a step further - the critic who is loved by and agreed with by all who read him/her is a truly bad critic because he/she has become not a critic but the leader of a cult.

(b) The ones that do not meet "my" criteria are those that say nothing about the wine. What "sucks" to one may be nectar to another. Writing that a wine "sucks" for example says nothing whatsoever about the wine and that is the whole point of the exercise!!! On the opposite quality coin, writing "fabulous" also says nothing. The wine that is fabulous to me may not be to the taste of someone else. What is important is description and evaluation together.

© As much as we all agree that wine is an experience to be enjoyed, the writer of a tasting note has the responsibility of stating precisely why the wine may or may not be enjoyed. Forgive me, but there are indeed standards!

(d) Agreed that there are many who write excellent tasting notes and not all are professionals. I am not at all defending the "turf" of the professional. In fact, I don't care a hoot for turf protection. You will find no-one more opposed to the concept of guilds than I.

(e None of the above tasting notes quoted was taken out of context. Those are the full tasting notes posted!!! That's why I chose them!!!! And what about all of those people who post the tasting notes of Parker, the Wine Spectator, Decanter Tanzer, and yes, even Rogov?

(f) As to whether Tignanello is overpriced - absolutely! As indeed is Opus 1. Not to mention of course Screaming Eagle. Tasting notes, however relate entirely to the wine, its qualities, strengths and weaknesses, etc. Not to its price. After all, if a wine is tasted blind you have no idea whether you're drinking a $11 Chianti or a $70 Super-Tuscan (whatever that term may mean). Following the tasting note is the place to comment on the value for money (qpr) of the wine. Indeed that may make the difference when it comes to knowing whether you may want to buy the wine, but it says nothing about the wine itself.

Finally, what I am defending is (a) intelligence expressed in written form; (b) the standards that should apply to any human endeavor, that in the case under discussion including of course both wine and criticism; © the ability of people to communicate in an intelligible fashion.

Edited by Daniel Rogov (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are many strong and reiterated arguments here that the vast majority of wine blogging consists of inferior writing.

I believe, however, that the drivel produced by many bloggers has NOTHING to do with the SUCCESS and POWER of the wine blogging phenomenon.

Consider the runaway success of self-publishing firms like iUniverse and many others. Most of what they publish--complete with ISBN numbers, Amazon blurbs and editorial reviews--is awful. But they provide an opportunity to succeed for many writers rejected by the mainstream press, and the fact that some SP books have gone on to major publishers and even movie contracts, has propelled the industry into success.

With the advent of USA Today and NY Times wine blogs, I do not see how anyone can claim that blogging is not seen as an effective way to reach many readers--particularly those with little time to peruse print publications. Believe it or not, there is a large segment of the population that turns only to the Internet for news, opinion, and enjoyment. It is easy to search and navigate, generally digested, and one can quickly compare opinions, writing styles, and content over a selection of writers and subjects, without being captive to one publication's editorial slant.

By following links provided by informed and passionate bloggers, I have found a number of blogs that are as interesting and well-written as any professional article. Indeed, many blogs are written by professionals. I went looking for excellence and I found it.

_____________________

Mary Baker

Solid Communications

Find me on Facebook

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Craig, Hi..... Responding to parts of your post and quite glad that I am still wearing my bullet-proof vest

(b) The ones that do not meet "my" criteria are those that say nothing about the wine. 

I tend to agree. For me the best and most useful reviews are the ones that not only describe the wine well, but offer some sort of context for the wine (what style is it made in, is it a common style, what happened in the vineyard or cellar that helped make the wine).

Conversely, the reviews I find most useless are the ones that simply tell me what the wine tastes like with nothing else. This tells me more about the taster than the wine. I want them to tell me more.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Conversely, the reviews I find most useless are the ones that simply tell me what the wine tastes like with nothing else. This tells me more about the taster than the wine. I want them to tell me more.

Are you referring to The Wine Advocate? Perhaps The Wine Spectator? Isn't this what they mostly do?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For me the best and most useful reviews are the ones that not only describe the wine well, but offer some sort of context for the wine (what style is it made in, is it a common style, what happened in the vineyard or cellar that helped make the wine).

That does describe most US mainstream wine critics of recent decades whose reviews I've seen and retained (never mind WS and WA): Olken and Singer, Asher, Blue, Bespaloff who is discussed elsewhere in this forum, the contributors to Vintage, etc etc etc. It might be a basic definition of good food-and-wine criticism: useful evaluation plus context.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...