Not simply embarrassing, this gem of a story is a wake-up call to us all.
It’s interesting that it’s popped up now, because it addresses a point that I sometimes wonder is often forgotten in a particularly media-fronted, sometimes overly prescriptive wine trade.
Of course, it is very easy to rely on what other people say about a wine, or wines in general.
The trouble comes when you begin to put someone else’s ‘expert’ opinion above your own, and miraculously, your taste in wine is put into second place.
This mindset seems only to determine what you want to like about a wine. That it’s ‘recommended’. ‘Better’. ‘Good fruits’ or however they put it.
The paradox of the situation is summed up, somewhat ironically, in the words of my favourite wine writer, Hugh Johnson, who devotes a substantial part of his autobiography to bashing the Parker 100 point system, the results of which affect the sale of millions of bottles every year.
‘He [Parker] could score away as he liked, and I could enjoy my wine untroubled. But the wine-makers can see the way the wind is blowing, too. It is only too easy to see what the scorer’s rules are and what wines he prefers.’
‘Would every producer fall in step, and my precious favourites fall by the way side?’
Granted, this is a global outlook on a localised problem. If there’s too much guidance from too few, a laziness of thought and consideration prevails in an attempt to join the more intelligent in some mass ego-swelling.
Too much oak, over-extraction, biting acidity. One man’s poison is another’s dream bottle.
How many wines pass us by because we’ve overlooked them in favour of a more highly decorated bottle? Judging by Dr Hodgson’s findings, that decorated bottle might have been rubbished on a different, or perhaps even the same, tasting day.
Nobody knows your palate like you do.
Perhaps a new approach is needed. Question the advocates. Try the wine first, then read about it.
We’re quite lucky in that Majestic’s proposition is one of discovery.
Each store has a tasting counter that is brimmed with thought-provoking wines, many of which have won coveted awards, but many more that haven’t. There’s always a tasting glass there for anyone who’s interested.
Here lies the opportunity to sample what our buying team think are the best wines going. Confident in their choices, now you are the critic.
Not many ‘experts’ will offer you that.
My Wine of the Week
Clos de Los Siete 2007 – £11.99 or Buy 2 save £4 down to £9.99
Rich, sweet, dark fruits dominate a wine that offers soothing tannins and a soft, velvety texture.
This is young, ripe and luxurious wine at its best, highlighting exactly why Argentina is no longer up-and-coming, having matured into a serious contender for the New World crown. But don’t just take my word for it…