So I am working at a small wine shop down in the US for the foreseeable future. There are a lot of things that are different (prices! products) and a lot of things that are the same (rambly, weird customers). One of the biggest differences that I am noticing is that a lot of people here are obsessed with scores from Wine Advocate, Wine Spectator, and so on. Now I’m not going to say that I have never encountered people who care about scores before, but never have I met so many people obsessed with them. Wine Spectator released their top wines of 2011, and the next day there were signs up all over the store labelling the wines and where they featured in the list. It bugs me because wine reviews are often indecipherable, a bit suspicious, and mostly bullshit.
I totally understand why there are wine reviews, when you go into a wine shop and see rows upon rows of unfamiliar labels it’s overwhelming. For the expensive stuff it makes sense too, you want to be assured that you are getting your money’s worth if you are spending hundreds of dollars on wine. I totally get that. However, since the wine vending machines never quite caught on wine stores are fully staffed with employees who are knowledgeable about their products, and can help guide you to wines that you like. Most importantly, they can ask you questions to find out exactly what you are looking for, get a sense of your personal taste, and make recommendations that are custom tailored to you.
I know that wine reviews are extremely helpful for people, and that they aren’t going anywhere. I think they are a useful tool but they shouldn’t be the only tool you employ in your quest for the good stuff. There are so many good wines that fly under the radar, it’s a shame to ignore them just because there is no review.
Also: Everyone here pronounces the ‘c’ at the end of blanc. This is tolerable when Sauvignon Blanc becomes, ‘so-vinyon blonk’ but really awful when tasty Blancs des Blancs Champagne becomes ‘blonk day blonk’.
Nothing to see here.