Notes scattered in this little notebook. Dead at work in a tasting room, tempted to taste through wines again, but I need be quick today, a wizard-like observer. That’s what critics forget… These so-self-appointed experts and wine-tellers, what in all-tell do they know about working in a tasting room? Oh, okay, you could say, “Well they may have worked there at one point in their lives..” Accepted. Then why have they shed the humanness? Why have they forgotten about the consumer, about the wine… Why are they so gargling the score, a lose arbitrary and nebulously rubricized numeric rather than simply appreciating the wine? Critics… “Critic”… Why would you ever want to be that? Why would you ever want to judge wine? Why would one ever want to profess to step in the fermented consistency an “expert”?
An industry friend of mine, more a brother, suggested that I, his page-erupting sibling, write about “the changing role of wine critics”. I was flattered that my brother thought of me with a topic some paginated direction for the blog and my books. BUT, I don’t see the critic’s role as so much changed. They’re not complex enough to “change”, or develop, or compound in meaning. And, a critic is only a critic if their counsel is heeded. And it may be, even by many. But not by me, one who’s actually poured in a tasting room, one who walks the vineyard every bloody day. So I can’t write about it. I write little notes to myself about this Pinot I’m sipping, slowly, tonight. And for who? Okay, maybe you, if you read my blog. But more for me. I don’t want to be a wine “critic”, or “expert”, or “sage”, or even journalist. I’m just a lover of wine. So in response to my loving brother’s proposal, he’s right. The critic’s role is changing. How? It’s becoming less significant, with less meteoric grip, at least for me and other wine consumers I know. Me, I write on my blog and others I know use apps like Delectable, and whatever the other’s called. Many wine consumers now I find are actually just going after what they like and looking at the scores and these gelatinous critics as more entertainment than anything else.
As my day in the tasting room today pressed on, I tasted through the wines, from the Alexander Valley Chard’ to the Dry Creek Petite [Sirah], and just noted what I sensed… Pineapple, poundcake, flour and pair, for the Chardonnay. For the PS, just “NIGHT”, I wrote in my little pages… “…black berries of some kind coupled with espresso and light leather, lavender and a light dark chocolate. Cedar”. I was having fun with my wines. Huh… I know, what an idea. Not taking it to an overthink. Not trying to be a critic, or expert, or asshole. It’s wine. We should all just step and sip to enjoy our wine. The critic’s presence has changed, at least for me, in that it’s diminished, just short of universal evaporation. My wine is my wine. Your score matters not at all, you harpy!