Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Ever wonder how The Wine Advocate reviews wine?

I guess there is something to the complaint in recent weeks that at The Wine Advocate it is common for some of the staff to avoid the written rules; see here

The procedure, contained in The Wine Advocate Rating System, states in part When possible all of my tastings are done in peer-group, single-blind conditions, (meaning that the same types of wines are tasted against each other and the producers' names are not known). The ratings reflect an independent, critical look at the wines. Neither price nor the reputation of the producer/grower affect the rating in any manner.....

The reality is this!

The conditions are clearly not peer-group nor single blind. And the comment that hosts ply him with enormous meals that leave him groggy and overfed is sure to raise the possibility of conflict of interest.

I guess Parker could argue that the text in the TWA Rating System refers to how he reviews and does not apply to his independent contractors like Dr. Jay Miller. But why then do the good Doctor's reviews appear in The Wine Advocate?

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Wine decanting: Is it all hot air?

In today’s LA Times W. Blake Gray has written about decanting. There are some very flowery comments, especially from Piero Selvaggio, owner of Valentino Restaurant Group. And some clearly single minded comments such as "Almost every wine in the world does benefit from aeration. The only exceptions are wines we rarely drink -- older, expensive Burgundies that could collapse with too much air," from Karen MacNeil, faculty chair of the wine department at the Culinary Institute of America's Greystone campus.

But then the piece ends with this. Susan Rodriguez, a research fellow at Cal State Fresno, recently did a blind tasting experiment and discovered that her panel could not tell the difference between a wine that had been decanted for two hours and the same wine right out of the bottle.

"The people who set it up were flabbergasted," Rodriguez says. "They were sure they could taste a difference."

That has been the experience here at SHIRAZ, just search the site under “decanting”