Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Clouds Overhead, And A Silver Lining

The Blogosphere is roiling once again with a familiar theme: the 100 point system. 

Again?  Seriously?  How long will this looping succession of monologues persist?  (The answer: probably as long as blogging is free.)  But for those of us who are more annoyed by the argument than the system itself, there is a silver lining.  First, a brief background on round 824 of this brouhaha...

Matt Kramer from Wine Spectator seems to have started this most recent round of bubbling, surely unintentionally, by suggesting that authenticity is of far greater import than scores.  Steve Heimoff from Wine Enthusiast, can't seem to resist jumping on this horse, no matter how dead it already is, claiming that the 100 point system is solely responsible for shaping California winemaking style in the last 40 years.   Fred Swan over at NorCalWine has his take on the subject, Joe Roberts interviewed a couple of big shots recently who touched on the subject, and we even enjoyed our own little parody of the mini revolution against the 100 point system.

Clearly, this is a well beaten path.  But while flying to Spain last week, the in-flight magazine - of all sources - provided a lucid silver lining.

Tyler Colman, aka Dr. Vino, wrote a concise, hopeful piece for US Airways Magazine that draws into focus the difference between drinking and tasting and, quoting Hugh Johnson, writes, "'The weakness of [the 100-point system] is that it is based on tasting, rather than drinking.' Indeed."

While this sounds so basic, you can't help but applaud the sanity of his plea, even if it is a quiet voice in the polarized melee.  I mean, we all drink wine, yet we (author definitely included) seem to so easily lose sight of this in our hunt for the next great wine.  Perhaps Tyler's point is worth further consideration. 

Leisurely consideration, that is.  And over a bottle, of course.

5 comments:

  1. Good food for thought. So, I opened a bottle last night and lingered over these ideas. Unfortunately, my thoughts were interrupted by the wine I was drinking. At first it was a pleasant enough red to help drown my election night sorrows, but then its missing 90th point really got to be distracting. At 89 points it just lacked that certain plumpness, that extra refinement, that little bit of je ne sais quoi that makes the difference between drinkable and depressing..."Screw it", I said, then tossed the wine and reached for the bourbon.

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  2. Thanks for the mention! Glad you liked the article. And hope you had a good flight. ;-)

    Cheers,

    Tyler

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  3. Thanks for the head's up on that WS article - hadn't seen it before. Found myself agreeing with it, actually.

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  4. Thanks for stopping by, Tyler. The article was the highlight of the flight, I'm afraid. Next time I'm hopping a ride with Paul Allen on his Bombardier.

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