I’d Rather Drink Water

Why? I’m uninspired. I’ve dumped more wine down the drain in the last two weeks than in my entire wine drinking career. Life is too short to drink boring, insipid, or just plain bad wine. It’s not worth the calories and where I used to fight my way through a bottle I didn’t really care for, I now just dump them down the drain and open a new bottle.  I’m not looking for a revelation or inspiration in every bottle of wine, but I do expect a reaction that’s more than just “meh.”

I shouldn’t sip a glass of wine and think, I might as well be drinking a glass of water, this wine is just about as interesting as comparing the differences between tap water, filtered water, and bottled water. Unless that sort of thing floats your boat, then, go for it, more power to you! But for me, I find it hard to get excited to write about a wine where I can’t even honestly say it would make a good inexpensive table wine.

Even though I find it hard to write about these wines, I do. I have a couple reasons why I review wines I find boring or even flat out bad. One, I think it’s important that you get a full picture of what my palate is. Perhaps you’ve been reading my blog for some time thinking, well, I’ve never had any of these wines Sonadora writes about, so I’m not really sure if I would like them. And then bam! I write a review for a wine you’ve had and loved and I loved it too. Or the opposite: I trash a wine you think is fantastic. I know that helps me understand the palates of other wine reviewers, so I hope you find it useful too. Two, if possible, I want to warn you about wines that are actually faulty.  If a Cabernet Sauvignon tastes like a Syrah, that’s just not right, and you should know that. While you might not avoid the wine, at least you’ll know you aren’t going to find a typical Cabernet Sauvignon in the bottle if you do buy it.

As a result, I write about every bottle I open here on Wannabe Wino. The good, the bad, and the just plain ugly. The only time I don’t write about the wine is if it is corked or cooked.  It wouldn’t be fair for me to judge a wine I know to be a cooked or corked. Though I have written about ones I suspect to be cooked or corked in order to solicit your thoughts on whether my bottle really was off or if it’s just a wine I don’t like. And I appreciate your feedback on those!  It may take me a bit longer to get around to writing about the bad or meh wines, but I get there eventually. Frankly, it’s much easier to write about a wine I’m excited about, than one I chose to toss down the drain.

Do you find reviews about bad, meh, or uninspiring wines to be useful?

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8 Responses

  1. I lived for far too long in Asia and therefore hesitate to write something unpleasant or outright negative. I just don’t give them a mention at all.

  2. “Do you find reviews about bad, meh, or uninspiring wines to be useful?”

    Yes. Srsly.

  3. To your point, I guess bad reviews can serve as a baseline to put good reviews in perspective with regard to the reviewer’s palate but, I also agree life is too short to drink bad wine, and its definitely too short to READ about bad/boring/blah wine! :-)

  4. yeah, it helps. if you describe something as being “off”, folks can try to find the same off-flavor so they can recognize it in the future in bad wines. It’s pretty subjective, since all palates are different, but it’s a baseline, and a critical part of wine education and palate training.

  5. Personally? Absolutely! I read something on the order of 300 blogs (thank goodness everyone does not post every day like you do). After scanning through to see which wines people are tasting, if they liked them or not, I could easily go into a wine shop and pick out a few wines, staying away from wines that you or others might not have liked. Why? It’s arbitrary, but not more or less so than choosing because of the color of the label. If I end up tasting EVERYTHING in the store except those few that people did not like, sure I’ll pick them up.

    All reviews have merit.

  6. Thanks for the blog – great topic. I generlly do NOT find ‘bad wine’ reviews to be helpful . . . other than to point out the variability that exists with many wines . . .

    IF I were to review a wine and find it subpar, the first thing I would do would be to find a second bottle of the wine just to make sure that the wines were consistent. This is the same methodoloy used at all of the ‘leading publications’ – they always insist on receiving two samples of each wine . . .

    But life is too short not to enjoy what you drink . . . Have I dumped my fair share of wines down the drain? Of course . . . BUT I have also saved a few of these and been pleasantly surprised how they ‘transformed’ in the bottle over a one or two day period . . .

    The end result? Dunno . . . I guess just keep tasting (-:

    Cheers!

  7. I don’t mind posts/reviews of less-than-good wines at all. As a reader, if everything I read from a blogger is “this is a fantastic wine”, my brain starts to slightly discount their praise. The negative/meh reviews provide some perspective. And as you say, it gives a fuller picture of the writer’s palate.

    On my blog (vinegeek.com), I write about good and bad wines for a few reasons:
    1. I typically only open 3-4 bottles per week. (I drink about half of the bottle on night 1 and the other half the next day.) If I only blogged about the really good ones, I’d probably only post once per week. Until I win the lottery or the blog blows up (not likely) and I start getting overrun with samples, I’m viewing every bottle I open as blog content.
    2. One of the reasons I started the blog was to be a record of my tasting notes and my on-going wine education. Writing about why I don’t like something helps cement it in my brain and lets it serve as a reference for the future, versus just dismissing/forgetting it. (Many a time, I’ve been in a wine shop staring at a bottle thinking “I know I’ve tried that, but is that the one I loved or the one I didn’t care for.”) I hope the negative reviews can serve that role for readers, too.
    3. The secondary goal of my blog is entertainment. Sometimes describing a bad/boring wine is more fun! I can make references to sea-monkeys, the Spin Doctors, Bath & Body Works, etc.

    Having said all that, I start to get antsy if I have 2 or 3 meh-to-negative posts in a row. That’s no fun for the blogger/drinker or the reader.

    Thanks for this post. It’s good to hear another blogger’s thought on this and it helped me to think through why I do what I do on my blog. Keep the posts coming – good, bad and ugly!

  8. Thanks for all the thoughts everyone!

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