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FRIDAY GETAWAY DAY
03/08/2013
Friday Fishwrap
The Real Questions Are: Does The Wine Taste Good and Will It Go With Dinner?

By Stephen Eliot

It has always struck me that bloggers of most every stripe spend an inordinate amount of time writing about the significant influence of bloggers. I cannot say so with any absolute authority as I have barely enough time to spend even a small part of my day checking in on what those who write about wine have to say, but there is no question that wine bloggers are by enlarge a self-possessed lot. They are quick to take the populist position that there are no right answers to any question and then will tell you all the things that are wrong.

Over the last many months there has been one broadside after another fired off about the waning significance of wine critics and how the world of wine writing is undergoing a tidal change. True in some ways, I think, but less so in others. I would not for a minute argue that the means of information transmission have not changed, but has the information itself and what inquisitive, wine-interested people want to know really undergone some dramatic metamorphosis?

There are those that suggest that a wine’s “story” is what is most important, and I suppose that if you believe that the medium is truly the message then maybe Twitter can be cited as proof that what some folks desire is less rather than more, but I still believe that the imperatives of quality and style are what concerns most of us most of the time. Does the wine taste good? Is it balanced? Is it big and robust or lighter and lively. Should I put it away in the cellar or can it be enjoyed now? Will it fit in at dinner with a well-seasoned roast, or is it meant for washing down a dozen oysters on the half-shell. Is it something that I am likely to enjoy?

Maybe I am missing something, but as long as I have been professionally involved with wine as a retailer, an educator and as a writer, these are the questions that have remained timeless. I do not see that why or how the varied means by which their answers are found will in some way make them irrelevant in the new world.

I guess that I would just like to read more opinions and insights about wine itself and less about graying gatekeepers and why experience is overrated and should be summarily dismissed. And, the latest obsession with writing about writing is so numbingly dull that it actually makes me nostalgic for the days when we argued about “authenticity”, the worth of blind tasting, points and whether or not low alcohol was the true path to success.

I have absolutely no doubt that there will be a new tempest in the blogging teapot tomorrow. I just hope that there are also a few words that inform and excite about wine.


 

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