December 13Wine critics, ratings, and how to pick wine
We thought it was time to make a statement about wine critics and scores. I admit to being a “Vayniac”… part of the “Vayner Nation”… that is, I enjoy watching Gary Vaynerchuck on Wine Library TV. If you haven’t checked him out, you’re missing out. Check the link on the left sidebar, near the bottom of this page. One thing he preaches is that “ratings suck” – that is, you should be your own judge because what one person likes isn’t necessarily what you’ll like. That is both philosophical and a disclaimer, which should be used by all wine critics or wine bloggers. It couldn’t be more true, that you should go out and explore wine, of all varieties, origins, etc. and find what YOU like. Tonight we rated a wine quite high because we LOVED it. Apparently critics like it too, but maybe not as much as we did. By the same token, we’ve not liked wine so much, when critics loved it. You personally might prefer a wine that tastes really oaky, or one that is very fruity in a candy-like way. Those aren’t really for us. We like balance. I want to taste the “terroir” and some crisp fruits, but not like candy, and I want complexity… something that makes my brain kick into high gear to try and figure out. Above all, I want an overall pleasant drinking experience. That means color, aroma, mouth-feel, and aftertaste all exciting me. If that’s what you like too, them maybe our ratings will work for you, and then maybe not. The real way to find out what you like is to experiment. TRY the wines we review for yourself and see how you agree or disagree. Then comment on our review… we’d love to hear what other people think of the same wine. Maybe you can describe that something we can’t put into words – thus solving a puzzle for us! Yeah, that’s it, let’s work together! Anyway, you get the idea. You shouldn’t buy a wine just because it got a high score for us, or Robert Parker, Gary Vaynerchuck, Stephen Tanzer, or anybody. Try a lot of different wines to determine what aspects turn you on. Through personal experimentation you can then go through critics’ tasting notes and have a decent idea of whether or not you would like that wine. The rating isn’t all that important. For us, it serves as a reminder of how much WE liked the wine. Make your own ratings!