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Thursday Thorns: The Report Card
The Report Card: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly In The Blogosphere

By Charles Olken

It may surprise you to learn that not everything published in the blogosphere is interesting or well-written or even accurate. It is the job of The Report Card to search out the good, the bad and the ugly and to report it to you.

The Good
Let’s start, because we are in a jolly mood, with the very good. That would be Samantha Dugan’s latest offerings on what has to be the finest creative writing in the wine blog space on her Samantha Sans Dosage. Sam has once again taken on Food & Wine Magazine for its “unusual” suggestion that one choose a very expensive bottle of wine to cook down for a sauce. In knee-slapping good-fashion as only Sam can, she has splayed, filleted and hopefully dismayed the author of that suggestion. It is damned good reading, and we highly recommend her essay, “At It Again” to you.

Grade: A

The Bad
Blame Clint Eastwood. He is responsible for the title of today’s blog. The “Bad” here is not all that bad. It just rubs me the wrong way. And maybe part of it is sour grapes, but for whatever reason, I shuddered a bit at the report on the Steve Heimoff blog of his Earth Day luncheon with millionaires. Do I really care if Ted Turner is taciturn or if Gorden Getty is getting groggy with age or if J. C. Boisset is debonair? At least Boisset is in the wine biz, and not only does he have his own wineries, but he has married Gina Gallo, and that cannot be all bad for his vinous fortune. Still, I was not invited to hobnob with these paragons of plenitude, and Steve was, and by a winery that no longer will allow us to taste its wines because we do not give them the “right scores”. Sour grapes? Yeh, probably.

Grade: C for Steve for name-dropping and C- for me for complaining about it.

The Ugly
I could probably have looked no further than Food & Wine for the ugly, but I will leave that telling to Samantha Sans Dosage. Here is a somewhat less egregious but unfortunate bit of wine writing—or what passes for wine writing. So, snob that I am, I just cringed (which is worse than shuddering) at the following comment in a blog that purports to be professional.

The Mano A Vino blog has this comment, and it does no one any harm in reality, which makes it far less dangerous than the Food & Wine foolishness, but it does show that one has to take the blogosphere with a bit of distance at times. All you read is not golden.

“I never knew this, but I recently learned from some friends visiting from the UK that they call Champagne "Champers" over there.”

Grade: Oh, why bother?


by Samantha Dugan
Posted on:4/21/2011 8:57:05 AM

Dammit! I just posted a "woe is me" post...scroll down people, just scroll down.


Thank you Sir Charles. For the mention and for what I am pretty sure is the first A I've ever gotten. You are just the sweetest thing....

Hooray - 1st of May
by Alfonso C
Posted on:4/21/2011 9:35:15 AM

I loved this post but I almost spewed my "Champers" all over the third screen I have bought hthis year. I'm gonna have to start chewing gum while I read these blogs, not drinking wine or coffee  (or Champers) Oy!

No Subject
by Beau C.
Posted on:4/21/2011 4:35:43 PM

I'm in favor of more of these posts, skewering bloggers is great! Wine snobs untie..err..unite!

Skewers To All
by Charlie Olken
Posted on:4/21/2011 6:33:35 PM


I am an equal opportunity skewerer. I like blogs. Heck, Beau, this is one. And most of the time, when The Report Card goes after someone, it is hopefully done with the knowledge that the next person to take a verbal misstep is none other than yours truly.

It's just that there are times when the amazing lack of fundamental understanding comes along. And when it does, and it is seen, it needs to be pointed out.

Sam Dugan did a great job on the ridiculous notion that a $200 bottle of Ice Wine should be used to poach pears. And she did it in a blog.

So, not only does The Report skewer some folks, it also praises those who, in our humble opinion, get it right.


Thank you Samantha, but...
by Stephen Eliot
Posted on:4/21/2011 7:22:50 PM

I dunno Samantha, but I'm kinda sad that you are no longer receiving/reading Food and Wine. There is a soul-stirring article in the latest issue about inexpensive wines, celebrities (Stanley Tucci and Julianne Moore as opposed to Ted Turner and Gordon Getty) and culinary truth. Nothing about fruit floating in Ice Wine, but prescient comments about knowing folks will hate big Chardonnays if they are "gifted home cooks". Ooops, you might agree with that last part, but I still like them when the plate is right. At any rate, I find find you most attractive when you are righteously (and justifiably) pissed off, and I cannot think of any better catalyst at getting you to that place than the fabled Food and Wine magazine.

by Samantha Dugan
Posted on:4/21/2011 9:49:13 PM


Nothing sexier than a chunky chick stomping about and using the word dickwad. I just know someone is going to get me a subscription to that rag-tastic piece of rage inducing stupidity for my birthday....argh.

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