If you’ve casually frequented this nascent blog, you may have already read my manifesto, and you undoubtedly know that when it comes to wine, I write with emotion, and piss and vinegar, but above all, honesty and integrity are my only journalistic luminaries. Outside of writing my own blog, I take a good amount of time checking in on what other wine bloggers are up to. The few wine blogs I enjoy are usually the more personal ones, the ones that are more based on candor, journalism, and/or a select focus. These are the blogs that inspire true wine writing zeal in me. I get more of my wine information from these blogs than I do any print magazine. Then there are blogs that I don’t quite understand. blah wine blogging, who’s only real purpose is to offer up a sordid version of Wine Spectator or Wine Advocate, while at the same time constantly getting in pointless jabs at those mags, and endlessly(and unsuccessfully) trying to smite them. Although they do so almost unconscious to the fact that they are completely imitating them. You get samples, you review them. You score them. Yeah, I’ve seen this before. Other than receiving copious amounts of gratuitous wine, and reviewing them in your oh-so original Parkeresque manner, what is your actual purpose? What is the void you believe that you’re filling? This piece has not been penned to arouse angst. I just really want answers, because from my vantage point, aside from serving as an outlet for your musings about wine, what qualifies you? Now, to those wine bloggers who are transparent about their writing, and honestly say, that “hey, I don’t know shit about wine, but I wanna learn, so read my blog, and let’s share this ride together” I respect the shit out of you. You are for real. And to those bloggers who are bona fide wine educators and experts, or who have spent decades studying the subject of wine, especially in regards to one specific field of interest, your expertise, and willingness to share such knowledge is greatly appreciated.
I taste maybe 100-150 wines a month some months much more. Mathematically speaking, I think 3 are good and maybe 2 are really good, and maybe 1 will be great. Those are not good numbers, and anyone who tells you that wine quality is really high nowadays might actually be high themselves, because it’s not. The consistency of wine homogeneity is high. Not quality. However if you read a lot of the blogs out there, one begins to wonder, “where are all of the bad reviews?” I see some of the shit these bloggers get sent, and most of it wouldn’t be fit for a doorstop in my house, and yet I see them, not only take the high road and avoid negative statements, but basically recommend said wine. Most of these types of bloggers defend themselves by saying that “just because it isn’t my style doesn’t mean I should blast it…uh, what? It shouldn’t? What do I need you for then? Pretty much what you are saying is that “even shit wine will be good to someone, so who am I to discourage a neophyte wine drinker?” Just because the samples you’re receiving are not to your liking, doesn’t mean you should try to sell people on them just to maintain the flow of free wine. Put the bullshit on blast. You’ve got to be honest with your readers.
You cannot prattle on about you disdain for high alcohol, fruit forward, oak monsters, and then recommend to your readers a 15.8% ABV Australian Shiraz, stating “it is well made, if you like big and bold, go out and buy it, even though I wouldn’t”. Your readers want to know your palate. Originality is your best weapon. You’re unique, and so is your palate. If you can define and explain your palate to your reader, then they know what to expect when you recommend something. You will gain their trust. If they do not agree with you, they can move on to the next blogger with a palate more similar to their own, but you just cannot cater to everyone and still be genuine. It is impossible. If you’re going to go around promoting yourself as a wine guru(and that is exactly what you’re proclaiming whether you like it or not, the second you start reviewing and recommending wine), then you better be ready and able to educate people on what you believe a wine should be, you better be prepared to tell people what they like is actually a manipulation of grape juice, and a laboratory experiment above all else. I take pride in the fact that when I think a wine is fucking good, I say it, and I mean it. This doesn’t happen very often. Some people don’t enjoy such vitriolic style of writing , but you can count on the fact that when I do not like something you’ll be the first to know, because I will be screaming it from a fucking rooftop.
This all ties into my feeling on points. Why do wine bloggers feel the need to award points to wines like the “Big Brother” mags do? I could elaborate on my feelings about the subject, however, that is an article for another day. I’ll leave my statement in brevity at this; go drink some fucking wine. Drink some things that are outside your proverbial “comfort zone” of wines. The more you taste and challenge your palate, the more self-sufficient of a taster you will be. Listen aspiring wine writers, wine is too multi-faceted to be reduced down to a number, but if you must continue your ambivalence haine-amour relationship with the wine rags, be my guest. To the few enlightened souls who see wine as a personal communion more meaningful than any number, I invite you to join us at http://scorevolt.com/
The time has arrived for some new blood, for a revolution in wine journalism. Continuing the status quo is fucking chicken shit, and you know it. Put your true feeling down on paper, give me some passion, give me some anger, give me some acrimonious speech, but also, give me some insight. Show me a region or variety I might not know about, or that you may have a special attachment to. Tell me about the producers, but do your homework. Be absolutely positive that you aren’t misinforming, or misleading your readers. Write us an article on native yeast, or cold soaking, or heavy-ass deep punted bottles, or even fucking corks. We don’t care so long as the fire is present. So long as your writing bleeds with integrity and morality, because that is what’s paramount. Tell the people what is wrong with the industry or a particular producer, or whatever it is that is abets and provokes you to borderline irrationality. Your readers want to hear it, because they can get kiss ass wine writing anywhere, right?
P.S. I really piggybacked this incredibly thought-provoking piece from a writer I hold in very high regard: The Passionate Foodie This article really got me thinking about how important and impacting a wine writers’ suggestions can be. Please read his blog.