• I’ve made a habit of talking positively in posts. I don’t want to be the guy that goes on rants all the time cause its his shtick. If I don’t like a wine I just leave it out. If a winery didn’t wow me I won’t write about it. There is so much negativity out there already who wants more?

    That said I came across a review written by another blog that is so ridiculously pretentious that I had to comment on it. I hope word doesn’t get back to whomever writes the blog, but I’ve gotta mention where it came from. (side note: I put his spelling errors in bold)

    “On the nose I get a true sense of place and origin. This wine breaths the true essence of Spanish terroit. I get breathtaking aromas of dried black currant, pencil lead, sweet and sensual tobbaco leaf, plum, sage, cedar and leather, ripe black cherries. There is this earthiness and leather aroma that is completely distinct of any other wine in the whole universe. It speaks to the dry and arid vineyards of Ribera del Duero and is completely true to it’s place of birth. This wine is a beauty that should be called the essence of Spanish wine and a true expression of Tempranillo.

    On the palate the wine is equally as stunning and revealing; showing flavors of ripe black plum, black tea, tobacco, black cherries, blackberry, scorched earth, and leather. This wine is drinking in it’s absolute prime and displays a remarkable range of flavor, balanced acidity, and complexity. The finish sails on for at least a few minutes and is a savory delight. Stunning wine…….98 points” – Thomas Klafke – The blog wine cellar

    I’ve tasted the wine, and his tasting notes are spot on. Its a fabulous wine (2004 Tinto Pesquera Reserva), but dear Lord.. ‘breaths the true essence’ ‘breathtaking aromas of.. pencil lead and sensual tobacco leaf’ ‘completely distinct of any other wine in the whole universe.’

    The last bit has to be one of the most ludicrous statements in all of the whole entirety of the universes (poor grammar intended. Its a sort of mocking technique I like to use on occasion.) No one has tasted every wine on the planet Earth let alone from the planet X9-T5 (just outside of the Pharnon galaxy about 800 light years from here. They make a great Pinot by the way.)

     


    The best part is the arbitrary point rating.. 98 points. 50 bucks says he is 98 percent full of himself and doesn’t have any system with which he applies the points other than ‘Ooo I liked that one.’

     


    Robert Parker uses this system to give a realistic point scale.

    “In terms of awarding points, my scoring system gives every wine a base of 50 points. The wine’s general color and appearance merit up to 5 points. Since most wines today are well made, thanks to modern technology and the increased use of professional oenologists, they tend to receive at least 4, often 5 points. The aroma and bouquet merit up to 15 points, depending on the intensity level and dimension of the aroma and bouquet as well as the cleanliness of the wine. The flavor and finish merit up to 20 points, and again, intensity of flavor, balance, cleanliness, and depth and length on the palate are all important considerations when giving out points. Finally, the overall quality level or potential for further evolution and improvement—aging—merits up to 10 points.

    Scores are important for the reader to gauge a professional critic’s overall qualitative placement of a wine vis-à-vis its peer group. However, it is also vital to consider the description of the wine’s style, personality, and potential. No scoring system is perfect, but a system that provides for flexibility in scores, if applied by the same taster without prejudice, can quantify different levels of wine quality and provide the reader with one professional’s judgment. However, there can never be any substitute for your own palate nor any better education than tasting the wine yourself.”

    I love how at the end he says, in essensce, but don’t listen to me try it for yourself! It immediately lowers the perceived grandiose ego of the reviewer to that of an approachable wine dude just trying to help.

    This is Jay Miller’s (one of the writers for Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate) review of the exact same wine.

    “The 2004 Tinto Pesquera Reserva offers greater aromatic complexity, a thick, plush palate feel, gobs of fruit, and superb balance. Although it can be enjoyed now, it will be at its best in another 4-6 years and continue to provide pleasure through 2030. Score – 94.” – Jay Miller, www.erobertparker.com, April 2008

    It might not be as detailed, what without the sensual tobacco and extra terrestrials, but it gets the point across in a way that doesn’t make your gag reflex kick in. It also, and I can’t stress this enough, makes the reader comfortable about reading it regardless of their wine expertise.

    I don’t think that it was Mr. Klafke’s intent to belittle anyone. I’m sure he just loved the wine, and tried to be poetic. However, it scratches the surface of pretension in wine, and there is nothing I dislike more in the wine world then people who alienate others by talking down to them.

    There, I’ve said my piece. Bleh.

    – Jonathan Hood