Thursday, June 30, 2011

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Stop and Smell the Wine

April 11, 2011 by [email protected]  
Filed under Wine

With the New Year and winter’s recalcitrance toward resolutions now giving way to spring and new life, I’ve been contemplating a wine-related information makeover.

Perhaps not so much, “Out with the old, in with the new” as simply an editing of the wine-related information I consume, which is to say:  There’s a lot of it and I need less of it.  It’s a diet, perhaps.

Hastened by the online wine world where over the last five years wine content has become free, easy and inexhaustible, a wine enthusiast can get sucked into a vortex of infinite information that is unwittingly counter to their ethos.

Simply, one morning, under the glare of ashen bathroom lighting, the wine boor that we all hate so much might be staring back at us in the mirror.


This past week, I knew I might be in too deep, stuck in the trees and not able to see the forest, when I traded emails with some fellow wine writer’s.  The initial query obtusely referenced Antonio Galloni and his new for-profit venture into conducting events as an adjunct to his wine criticism at the Wine Advocate.

“Huh?” You might say with this tidbit entirely missing your radar.  And, that’s exactly my point. 

Less than two months ago a mention of Antonio Galloni would have registered little more than a furtive calculation against the mental file. “Innocuous” would have been an apropos adjective for Galloni.  Now, weeks later, Galloni, Robert Parker, Jr.’s successor, is the subject of top-of-mind conversation based on an interview with wine writer Mike Steinberger at his Wine Diarist blog, which itself is barely two months old.  The reason?  Galloni has set-up a company called All Grapes Media, LLC that is facilitating winemaker dinners with readers of the Wine Advocate (WA) and select wineries that have been reviewed by Galloni and WA.

This has raised questions anew about ethics …

While not the subject of this post per se, what struck me about my email exchange was that all parties on the email knew about this VERY minor revelation.

Regrettably, this smallest of details, which has zero implication on the enjoyment of wine, any wine, is something that people pay attention to, and even postulate about as a frame of reference.

I’m as guilty as anybody.

Yet, we all control our decisions.  Just as Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin famously said, “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are” the information we consume says just as much about who we are.

In the meantime, as we wax to drama, and let wine wane, we are living in a Golden Age of the drop – wine that is universally lauded and accessibly priced.  On the market today a wine enthusiast can access a nearly unlimited supply of not just information, but wine, glorious wine.  The ’07 Cabernet vintage from Napa is an all-time great.  The ’09 Rieslings from Germany are stellar.  The ’08 Pinots from Oregon are of incredible quality.


These are all available to the wine lover who wants to do a bit of research and seek them out.

So, instead of getting into the proverbial weeds of very small wine-related detail, I’m taking just a small step back to enjoy this moment in time to use my information consumption habits to research and seek out wines, allocating some tax refund money to buying up a parcel of Napa Cabs, Oregon Pinot’s and German Rieslings for my cellar.

10-years hence, I won’t remember a small peccadillo about Antonio Galloni and some wine events, but I surely will remember when I had the foresight to buy up some wines that will pay me great dividends in enjoyment in the future.

You should consider doing the same.

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