Screw It: Your Tastes Matter
Wine critics play a crucial role in helping consumers wade through the billions of gallons of booze on the market. Sometimes critics get it wrong, and this serve as a good reminder that wine is a drink: your own tastes matter.
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Mike Supple: You're watching "Screw It" on SuppleWine TV. I'm your host Mike Supple.
The goal of SuppleWine is to make wine easier for you to enjoy on whatever level that may be. Whether you're the kind of person that just likes to pick up a bottle on the way home from work, try something new and drink it in front of the TV, or you like to pick up a case of wine every now and then and lay it down in your cellar for twenty years to see how it goes. Everybody enjoys wine on a different level.
Over the next couple of weeks, we at SuppleWine are going to be completely revamping how we present our wine reviews and tasting notes to you. The point of doing this will be to make them easier to read, easier to understand and easier for you to apply to your life - take out of it what you need to take out of it. The reason we're bringing up this topic right now is because the idea of tasting notes and wine critics has been somewhat thrown into the limelight this week. One of the major critics in the United States over the last week has been called on the carpet because of a review he made of a Spanish wine about a year ago. It was recently discovered last week that his review was way off. The wine that he tasted, wrote about and gave an incredibly high score to is completely different from the wine that's in the bottles and on the consumers' shelves.
There are a couple of different ways you can look at this. Some people are claiming that this reviewer is at fault. Other people are blaming the importer and the winery, saying that after the wine received this particularly high score and the wine started flying off the shelves, the winery just put an inferior wine in the bottle. The reviewer has admitted that at one of the points he re-tasted it he read the label wrong and published a review that had the wrong year. The winery has admitted that one of their bottling runs got compromised so perhaps a third of the wine that was released was "accidentally" an inferior product. Whatever the reason, it doesn't really matter.
The point is that when it comes to wine reviews and wine tastings you have to realize that whether it's a good note or a bad note, any review is what one person about what's in one bottle at one particular time. This means that it's up to you as a consumer to really take every note and every review with a grain of salt. Of course you are going to want to find reviewers and critics that you agree with most of the time. But you shouldn't necessarily run out and buy ten cases of something just because somebody else said that you're going to like it. Everyone's tastes are inherently different. I may love something that you hate, and you may love something that I hate. That's just how it goes. And nobody is right or wrong in those situations.
Particularly when it comes to something like wine there is often a lot of money on the table. Even when you're talking about a $10 bottle, a few of them add up quickly: you're drinking a lot of money. It's really up to you to decide if you like a bottle of wine or if you don't. And it's ok if you don't. Some critic may say that it's the best wine ever made. If you sit down and you try a bottle and you don't like it, don't spend your money on it. It's all about finding things that work for you.
So go ahead and read reviews because there are way too many wines out there for you to just wade around and try everything. It's not economically feasible. So find someone that you agree with - find someone you like, someone whose style you find inspiring - and read what they have to say. If something grabs you, try it out. But get to know your own palate. Get to know what you like. By this point in life you've had enough things to eat and drink that you know when you put something in your mouth if you like it or not. If you don't, that's fine. Go with it. Don't be ashamed or afraid to ever say, "You know what? I don't like this."
Really what it comes down to is that wine is a drink. It's meant to be enjoyed. You are there to have fun. Too many people in the wine industry get uptight about whether or not a wine is collectible, whether it was made right, whether there's a flaw - and yeah, if a wine was made right it should taste good; if a wine is flawed you want to know so you don't spend your money on it. So use critics as a guideline. Figure out where your tastes align, but don't always count on one person, because it's really about your tastes. Wine is about you and what you like.
Trust your instincts, trust your tastes, trust what you like and enjoy it. That's really what matters.