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Your questions anwered, here, now

6 comments

Some readers asked me some questions yesterday. Here they are, with my answers.

“Would also be curious to hear how the editorial team takes into account the thought, ideas and trends coming out of the blogosphere.”

Tom: I can’t speak for the rest of the team, as these are personal decisions. Speaking for myself, I am not terribly influenced by other bloggers, except in the realm of ideas. For example, I learn from your blog and am often inspired to think about things that you discuss. I enjoy cruising other blogs looking for ideas and concepts that make me think, and perhaps to blog about here on my own blog. However, when it comes to wine reviews, very little of what bloggers write has any interest to me.

Tom Barras: “To what extent,if any, do you take into account what your several magazine competitors and wine journalists have been writing about?”

Tom: Again, it matters very little to me what other writers say about wines, in terms of their impesssions, criticisms, etc. Of course, it’s always nice when I stumble across a critic I respect whose opinions agree with mine! But I’ve been around long enough to understand that reasonable people can disagree. I do have certain writers, both online and in print, whom I follow with some regularity, just as I know there are writers who follow me with some regularity. But I hope they don’t base their opinions on what I say!

Cody Rasmussen: “Steve, I’d love to have you dedicate a whole blog post to the differences in taste among your fellow editors. It sounds as though a 93 point California cabernet for you might score no more than 89 points with Roger Voss? I find that very honest and interesting.”

Cody: This would indeed be a fantastic blog post! However in all honesty it’s not likely to happen, for the following reason: We live in different parts of the country—indeed, on different continents—and we do not often have the opportunity to taste together in a way that would allow for such direct comparisons, except in the most casual way: at a dinner, for example. However, we’ve worked as a team long enough for me to have a pretty good idea how our tastes differ. In general the Europeans prefer their table wines drier and more acidic, while I, with my California or “New World” palate, enjoy fruit and opulence. (That’s a tremendous generalization, and I could come up with dozens of exceptions, but still…). For example, last night, as I previously mentioned, we had the 2009 Ovid, which I scored quite highly. Most of the other editors would have scored it in the low 90s, which is a great but not a stupendously great score. They said it had an enormously attractive aroma and was upfront delicious, but disappointed them a little in terms of complexity and/or finish. Understood. But Mr. Voss, who you reference, liked it quite as much as I did and he, like me, felt it to merit a good long time in the cellar. Roger is the ultimate Bordeaux guy. I was surprised, and so were some of my fellow editors, that he thought as highly of the Ovid as he did. Just goes to show…

Rew Craig: “Why do wine writers so rarely allow someone to tweet or fb their writing? It spreads their name without asking my followers to go to the site and sort through everything.”

I replied briefly yesterday to Rew, but here’s a fuller reply. First of all, on my blog, it’s easy to tweet or Facebook it. I can’t speak to other bloggers. Most of the ones I read also make it easy to shoot them right onto Twitter or your Facebook page. So I don’t know if “so rarely” is a true description of the situation. The more interesting aspect of Rew’s comment concerns “spreading their name.” I have a couple things to say about that! I do think that a lot of ambitious bloggers use every trick in the book to spread their name. Buzz is good! In my judgment, one has to combine good taste with sound tactical thinking. It’s a little tacky when somebody is touting their blog all around the place. For example, when the period for Wine Blog Award nominations was open, I never mentioned it here, or on my Facebook or Twitter pages. I could have asked my thousands of readers, friends and followers to nominate me, and I’m sure many of them would have. But I didn’t, and so I didn’t get nominated. Would I have liked to? Sure. But not at the price of “Please vote for me!,” every day, 24/7. Like I said, tacky. Not the way I was raised.

Happy to answer my wonderful readers’ questions anytime as best I can. If I get enough, maybe I’ll make it a regular feature.

  1. Steve, I wouldn’t expect your reviews to be influenced by the blogosphere. However, as you pitch ideas for stories I can imagine you considering what topics seem to be trending well among bloggers and their readers.

    Also, I looked and you were nominated by someone for “Best Overall Wine Blog”.

    tom…

  2. Patrick Frank says:

    OK, here’s a question. Why not tell us reasons for not rating a good wine higher? Here’s an example (Dunning 09 Res Zin): “Fire up the grill with beef, chicken and sausages to eat with this spicy, classic Paso Zinfandel. It’s packed with sweetly ripe blackberry, blueberry and cherry fruit, cocoa and exotic spice flavors, wrapped into soft, dusty tannins.” And that wine got 87 points. Sometimes the text is very favorable but the score is so-so. Not that 87 is bad, but after reading that I wonder why it didn’t score higher, in this and other cases. Thx

  3. Patrick Frank, I don’t know about the 2009, but Bill said this about the 2008: “About as good as Zinfandel gets.”

    http://ugawino.blogspot.com/2012/04/2008-dunning-private-reserve-zinfandel.html

    If that’s any comfort!
    Dennis

  4. Should each variety have its own 100 pt scale?

  5. Should ‘intellectual wines” and “hedonistic wines” share the same range of the 100 pt scale?

  6. You know, the idea of a “100 point wine” for a particular vintage/varietal seems like a good idea.
    Sort of a “This was the best wine that could have possibly made, for that particular varietal in that vintage”.
    Like grading on the curve, for a particular class (vintage)…

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