Picks and Pans

At the risk of stating the overly obvious, I drink quite a bit of wine. Now, I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, because I love wine, it completes a meal in my opinion and it’s something I really want to learn about and the best way to do so, as far a I am concerned, is to taste a whole bunch of it. Which I do, on a regular basis.

Now, it seems pretty clear to me that the odds of me liking every bottle of wine I drink are slim to none. And here come(s) my question(s)…how do you feel about reading a bad or a so-so review? Is it worth it for me to take the time to write a review of a wine I’m not so thrilled by or am I better off just not bothering and sticking only to the bottles I really like?

Up to this point, I’ve pretty much reviewed everything I have tasted, the good, the bad and the ugly. I try to couch my opinion by not screaming from the rooftops that something was the worst bottle of wine I’ve ever tasted (well really, nothing I’ve had recently comes even close to the worst wine I’ve ever tasted). I also try to look really hard for something I like about the wine.

Thoughts? I also feel a tad guilty posting a poor review. I know (or at least I hope) someone worked to make a product they felt was worthy of the market. And maybe it’s just me who doesn’t like it. How do you handle reviews of wines that just didn’t work for you?


8 Responses

  1. Post both. I get alot of search engine hits to my blog and the occasional tasting that gets posted usually gets hit (very specific search). If I can save someone the time of tasting it when it was bad then great! Life’s too short to drink bad wine!

    Also, you can never be accused of being influenced by, say, a free sample or something. Its really hard to write a bad review about a wine that you got as a free sample but you have to be honest (and I tell anyone who sends one up front that I’ll be honest either way so send at your own risk!).

  2. I agree with Joel. He makes a compelling argument.

    And I think that how you do it, not just whether you do it (it being bad reviews) gives you some freedom from guilt. Say it was bad, but don’t rule it out. Consider the possibility that it was a bad bottle or served with the wrong food, for instance. Be honest and base it on your experience rather than it being someone’s produce.

  3. I also think you should post all of your reviews, including the mediocre and bad ones, and that you should focus in on what aspect of the wine that you specifically did not like. That certainly allows us readers to catalogue your tastes in comparison to ours and makes your reviews more complete. Most importantly I think you should express your disappointment in a particular wine that you had high hopes for, whether b/c of the price or a review or recommendation from someone you trust. Keep drinking and writing!

    Best, Barrld

  4. Joel, Marcus, and Barrld say it well: be honest and post the good and the bad, even the ugly. To not review a bad wine is merely a missed opportunity for more eyeballs on your site. And I can’t wait to read ’em!

  5. A thought-provoking post, Sonadora, and one that I’ve been thinking about a bit before responding. I do think that you need to post wine reviews that are not so positive, as well as positive. This is especially true now, when so many high quality wines are being produced. I rarely get a truly bad bottle of wine. At the same time, I am always a little suspicious when I never see a single word of criticism from a wine reviewer. The one exception I have to this is Jerry Hall at Winewaves, who specifically says he’s not going to review wines he doesn’t like. Of course, if you are going to review wines you like and those you don’t, you have to be upfront about your own palate and how you’re judging wines. That’s why I sort of give a little note about how I’m judging wines for the reviews I do–I think it helps readers to see where I’m coming from and to judge what they read accordingly. I may really love a wine, but give it a lower rating because its expensive for its varietal, or because (though delish) it doesn’t match its varietal profile. So, I think you’re all set if you can articulate WHY you don’t like a wine, rather than just saying “I don’t like it.” (you did that really well with the previous post on sauvignon blanc).

  6. I’ll chime in agreement. And like Dr.Debs, it’s rare to find a really bad wine, more likely to find those that were “ok but wouldn’t buy again.”

  7. Hello Sonadora,

    Great post and good responses.

    I think you should continue to review all wines, either up or down.

    Nobody goes out with the intent to buy a bad wine (so I hope), so if you find one then lets hear about it.

    With that, I mean bad as in flawed. Some people post bad thigs about decent wines because the wine is not their style.

    Wines with flaws like being flat, flabby, sharp, or just ‘oak’ juice should be a candidate for the Sonadora scrap list (lol).

    Keep up the great reviews!


  8. I agree with these sentiments…and I personally like reading negative reviews that are well written and explain why the negativity is justified. So yeah, review everything you can!

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