A Blog I Rediscovered Today, with a Great Post

I was browsing on Wine Life Today this morning (see, I promised to get better about that!) and I came across this great post over at Through the Walla Walla Grape Vine. I highly suggest you go read it yourself, but to summarize in a quick, short and sweet manner, it’s about why the point system for wines used by Robert Parker sucks. Clearly, it’s much more detailed than that and goes into depth on 8 separate reasons as to why it sucks. (Much more eloquently than I am doing at the moment.)

However, this post jogged my memory to an event that happened to us this past summer while we were out in Sonoma. And I thought I’d tell you about it here, since it’s wine related, and apropo to the point system.

While in the Sonoma area, we stayed at a cute and excellent Bed and Breakfast called the Vintage Towers in Colverdale. We chose it because it was a little off the beaten path, the pictures were pretty (yes, we are discerning travelers) and the breakfasts sounded delicious. Now, the downfall, or the upside, depending on if you like to talk to strangers, about B&Bs is that you generally all eat breakfast together and inevitably end up making idle chit chat over your meal.

On our second day at breakfast a couple came down and started talking about their numerous trips to Sonoma and how they love coming there and they make their own wine in their garage at home and blah blah blah. They then asked where we were planning to go that day and immediately started criticizing our choices and making suggestions of thier own. Now, this instantly caused me to bristle, because I don’t take unwarranted criticism well, especially from strangers. And for all they knew, there could be gems at any winery, even if they would never deign to go there.

The sound-byte from them that made me write them off completely (and still causes Matt and I to chuckle, because it was one of the more absurd statements I’ve heard anyone make about wine) was as follows: “We don’t even bother with wines that haven’t scored at LEAST a 93 from Parker. They just aren’t worth our time or money. It’s simply the threshhold at which the wine becomes drinkable for us.”

Now, I’m sorry to anyone who will follow a critic to such an extreme, but grow a pair and learn to taste for yourself. One, Parker does not rate every single freaking wine that has ever and will ever be made. Not being rated at all makes it totally unworthy of being consummed? Well, I better just stop drinking wine then. Only wines that get a 93 or better are drinkable? Pish posh. All these people managed to do by spouting off like that was to convince me that they were sheep, they had no desire to think outside the box (I wonder if their homemade plonk would rate a 93?) and they were lazy.

Needless to say, we smiled and nodded at them (and thought condescendingly, we may be younger, but we certainly think we are wiser than that) and went on our merry way to the places we intended to go to and discovered wines that we loved, 93 points or not.


7 Responses

  1. What a story! That’s nuts. I discovered Through the Walla Walla Grape Vine via Wine Life Today, too. See, it works :). I posted a follow-up on my site today, see what you think.

  2. Great post! I bet they also made quite an impression in the tasting rooms they visited!

  3. We have a friend, in SLO, who makes wine.

    If it were to be rated, I don’t doubt it would do well (though I am not a slave to ratings, it being too subjective to merit the appearence of objecitvity which the numbers give it), but he can’t sell it, so it will never be rated.

    Which is fine with me, because they won’t be stealing my bottles.


  4. Sounds like the same type of wine lovers who walked into the Domaine Serene tasting room and yelled, “Case buyers here!!” Jerks.

  5. Great story! You had every reason to bristle at their comments. I seem to run across more people than I care too with that mind-set. While they may consider themselves as “wine snobs or “aficionados” – I’m not impressed. Something tells me they couldn’t tell the difference between a 95 or a 89. In my opinion, a real wine aficionado doesn’t care about a number, it’s about the art of the wine Shall we start putting numbers on Picassos and Gaugins?

    Doesn’t anyone rely on their personal tastebuds anymore? heh.

    Keep on blogging. Cheers!(Thanks for the link and I am happy to add you to mine!)

  6. Hmm – I find that 93 point minimum and the homemade wine comment fascinating. Do they propose Parker would rate their “garagiste” wine at least a 93? Hillarious. Hope you had a good trip to Sonoma – I will probably go there this fall. Cheers!

  7. Dr. Debs, excellent follow-up. Some great questsions posed.

    Escafeld, thanks for stopping by nad the comment! I can only imagine how they actually behaved in the tasting rooms (I imagine snickering tasting room attendants after they left).

    Pecunium, welcome. I don’t doubt that people can make good wine in their garages, I just found it amusing given the fact that their next comment was about being slaves to a point system!

    Huevos, exactly! I bet they were the same type. They certainly had me rolling my eyes!

    Catie, thanks for visiting. Rely on their own tastebuds? Perish the thought, that would simply be too much work! 😉

    Joe, we had an excellent trip (it was actually our honeymoon last summer) and our set to return next month actually. More about that later today!

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