Are Young Wines ‘Assessed’ Fairly? Depends Upon The Producer, Perhaps?

young wine

 

I enjoy reading a number of different blogs and one that caught my eye was Steve Heimoff’s commentary on the World of Pinot Noir tasting which took place last weekend at the beautiful Bacara Resort in Goleta, just north of Santa Barbara.

He went to a Burgundy vertical tasting of a specific producer’s wines, and he commented that all of them were great, but that only the oldest one was ‘drinkable’ now. Upon further questioning, he felt the younger wines were simply showing too much acid or tannin and simply weren’t balanced – but he did not see this as a fault, but instead, a sign that these wines will continue to age.

This brings up the big question – what if he were tasting a wine from a ‘lesser known’ or ‘unknown’ producer that had these same traits (ie was ‘backwards’ and needed more time to truly strut its stuff). Would he be as ‘kind’ and ‘understanding’ and give it the same benefit of the doubt?

And I’m not trying to single Mr. Heimoff out, as I do appreciate his take on many things wine-related. I believe that most reviewers, without the benefit of a ‘track record’, may indeed not be as kind to a ‘backwards’ wine these days as they may have been, say, two decades ago.

Producers are releasing their wines earlier and earlier to try to recoup their monetary outlays and to try to make room for future vintages. In order to do this, though, many wines are being made in a much more ‘forward’ manner,  wines that are more approachable and drinkable at younger and younger ages.

So what to make of producers who are making wines with plenty of ‘rough edges’, wines that are meant to lay down for a while. Do you still search these out, even if reviewers would ‘pan’ them for not being ‘drinkable’ now?

I’m curious to hear your thoughts on this.

Cheers!

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Is Image Anything . . or Everything?

image is everything

The wine industry is a fun place to ‘call home’. There are tons of great characters out there; wine continues to be an absolutely fascinating ‘vehicle’ to work with and is truly ever changing; and one will never tire with the challenge of introducing one’s wines to new folks all of the time.

As we all know, or probably should know, it’s sad but true that what lies ‘inside’ the bottle often has little to do with whether a wine is purchased in the first place – and often whether it is repurchased for that matter. The packaging of the product is extremely important, as is the reputation of the winery, the winemaker, etc.

But here’s a question for you – do you care what the principals of a company ‘stand for’ or how they act when it comes to the purchasing of that product? Does it matter if they’ve supported causes that you might not support (such as Chick Fil A and their anti-gay stance or Carl Karcher of Carl’s Jr. fame and his anti-gay and anti-semetic stances). Does this truly affect your purchasing decsions?

A recent blog post came out about a famous French producer not allowing long time reviewers to review their wines because of ‘less than stellar’ reviews of a previous vintage, among other things. On the surface, this seems like a very short-sided thing to do for the producer. Of course, there may be other sides to the story, but for now, it appears that the winery in question is ‘running scared’ and, for them, in a very public manner.

So again, the question remains – would this affect your purchasing of these wines? Would it matter if a winemaker or winery owner publicly or even privately stated that they were ‘against’ something you stand for?

Curious to hear your thoughts on this . . .

Is It What’s Inside that Really Counts?

resized bread pic for blog

One of the challenges making and trying to sell wine in this industry is that what’s inside the bottle seems to be the least important thing in the process at times. This may sound strange, but let me explain . . .

Visual and verbal clues help ‘guide’ us in everyday life. Your senses are honed to quickly get information to your brain – that doesn’t ‘look’ right or that ‘smells’ great. It’s human nature, and that’s not a bad thing at all.

When it comes to subjective stuff, though, it certainly can wreak havoc on trying to ‘evaluate’ something on face value. Let’s take wine, for instance. I make a dryish Gewurztraminer. You would not believe the types of responses I get when I mention this – and before a drop is even poured. Many many people simply say – no, I don’t want to try that because I don’t like sweet wines’ or  ‘I really want to try this because I like sweet wines.’  A ‘picture’ is set with their senses as to what to expect when the wine is poured . . .

Those that don’t like sweet wines will begrudgingly try the wine – after I ‘force’ them to, of course – but their mind is already anticipating a specific experience with the product based on the variety itself and they will perceive it ‘with bias’. The same is true with those who like really sweet wine.

How do I ‘get around’ some of these biases? I work as hard as I can to actually have someone taste the wine itself and judge it for what it is. I also do not call this wine a gewürztraminer, but instead call it The Outlier J

Or take rose.  Yep, it’s certainly ‘hip’ to like rose these days, and you’re seeing more and more of them produced in drier, crisper, more ‘food friendly’ style. That said, just showing someone the bottle will illicit an immediate reaction because of the color alone. Many will not even want to try the wine. Why? ‘I don’t drink white zinfandels’ is often the reasoning I here.  There’s nothing wrong with white zins at all, if that’s what you like, but the visual color clue is immediately telling them what to ‘expect’ about the wine.

And there have been tons of studies about how the label itself affects how one ‘feels’ about the product and whether or not you are drawn to wanting to pick it up off of the shelve if in a retail location.

What are your thoughts on this? Have you ever found yourself excited or not excited about a wine because of the color of the wine itself, descriptors used, the label, etc.? I’m curious to hear and to get a discussion going on the subject.

Cheers!