Today's Wall Street Journal has a piece on the free trips taken by writers for Robert Parker's 'Wine Advocate' at: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124330183074253149.html. Apparently one writer, after a trip to a continent that dare not speak its name (Ba-a-a-a-a-a!) proceeded to give the wines of the importer who hosted him an average score of 92, which seems rather high if you include the specimens of raisin soup unsaid continent is famous for.
To give a little background, Mr. Parker burst upon the scene many years ago in high dudgeon against the wine critics of the day, who he accused of being a pack of sticky-fingered shills. He then proceeded to careen wildly down the road in the manner of his professed idol, the notorious crank Ralph Nader, often either overpraising or scourging wineries - sometimes the same wineries, as in the unfortunate cases of Randall Grahm and Tim Mondavi. When he started a winery in Oregon with his brother-in-law, he solemnly promised never to review his own wines (such forbearance) but then proceeded to use the mailing list he had acquired as a critic to offer the wines to his subscribers; rather like Consumer Reports offering its own toasters. (An apt metaphor given the level of new oak in the wines.)
I am not really so quick to judge, having bought the late wine critic Jerry Mead, a fabulous mercenary, dinner on occasion; and I hesitantly admit to giving a discount to any wine critic that buys my swill by the case; the same discount I give my friends, family and fans when they do. I really should be more corrupting!
Thursday, May 14, 2009
So the White Zep has been screwed. Because I added a whiff of Velcorin, I can't try the wine until tomorrow (if you don't know, I'll tell you someday) but I'm really really really looking forward to it; I think it's the best white wine I've bottled in several years. Stay tooned!
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
So in addition to hanging out with other winemakers and chefs, I know some musicians. Above, my pal Nemesis Enforcer of Sexy Time Explosion, backstage before the show. I sang a song with them ("Selfdestructo Bust" by Turbonegro), did an Iggy Pop stage dive and was crowd surfed to safety with nary a button popped from my vintage pink suit.
Punk rock ain't what it used to be.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Note the minor changes; the party is from 2 pm until 2 am, the donation is requested but undefined (an amount in dollars just below legal drinking age is proper, unless you want to wind up in the dancing cage with Mr. Bunnypants) and Sexy Time Explosion is replaced by Meth Leopard, a band that consists of the same musicians. We are auditioning musicians as I write!
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Though I heard mutterings about the parochial focus of the seminars from people who weren't going to attend anyway, I was more than happy to see California in the spotlight at HdR this year; it's not as if it's going to happen on a regular basis. I'm a nasty critic, but to my ear only one speaker talked too much on stage, and only one prevaricated for commercial gain. That's nothing compared to what goes on at non-wine industry conferences! I thought Sashi Moorman from Stolpman Vineyards was this year's star, as he shoveled forth information on clone/vineyard trials that point the way to the future of Central Coast Syrah. We can all agree that there is 'too much Syrah' out there (there's too much of every varietal, if you count the Merde!) but Stolpman, which started out with high yields and mediocre wines, has accomplished a stunning transformation.