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Miscellanea

2011 March 9
by Mike

Dr. Vino snags an interview with Robert Parker’s heir apparent, Antonio Galloni.

Courtesy of Alder Yarrow, the transcript of an excellent panel discussion about pinot noir, alcohol levels, and balance.

Superb New York Times piece about LVMH swooping in on Hermès. Hard not to think of LVMH’s Champagne holdings—especially Krug—while reading this article.

And people think I was tough on the French: A.A. Gill feasts on the famous Paris restaurant L’Ami Louis. Hilarity ensues.

3 Responses leave one →
  1. March 14, 2011

    Mike

    An interesting point about having knowledge of past wines. Got me to thinking. Can you expound on it a bit? For example, in a region as new (relatively) as CA — what does that knowledge give you? I’ve been reading an interview with Martin Ray where he complains that a wine only has to be 50% of one varietal to be called that varietal. That’s changed a lot since then (though it is only 75%). So what does that knowledge of Cabernet back then teach you today with such different standards?

    Would wonder also if it is only important to taste the great wines from the 70s, etc (like the two you mentioned) or would it also be important to have tasted how many wines weren’t very good?

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks,

    Adam Lee
    Siduri Wines

  2. March 13, 2011

    Bill,

    Thanks for the comments.

    In answer to your question: I think it’s essential that a critic visit the region he/she covers. On-the-ground knowledge adds perspective, context, and depth. Frankly, I don’t see how one can specialize in the wines of a particular region without having first-hand experience of that region. How much first-hand experience is necessary? I have no idea. Two visits strikes me as a pretty flimsy foundation, but we’ll see soon enough how much that really matters. It seems to me that the more important question here is not how many times Galloni has been to Burgundy and California, but how much knowledge does he really have of the wines? For instance, has he tasted a lot of older California wines–stuff from the 60s and 70s? To write intelligently and with authority about California, you need to know not just where California winemaking is today, but where it was 30 and 40 years ago. I assume Galloni has tried the likes of Harlan and Sine Qua Non, but has he tasted wines like the 70 Ridge Monte Bello, or the 78 Phelps Eisele? It’s that kind of historical knowledge that makes for informed wine criticism, I think.

    Mike

  3. Bill permalink
    March 9, 2011

    Mike,

    Thanks for the tips. I’d read the Gill piece, which ranks up there with the AV Club’s pan of Battlefield Earth (http://www.avclub.com/articles/battlefield-earth,19977/) in the pantheon of hilarious/brutal critical takedowns.

    On the Galloni interview, I’ve seen a few folks zero-ing in on his admission of having only visited both Burgundy and Cali twice, with the implication that this is a shortcoming of some sort. I was curious as to your thoughts on the issue. How important do you feel it is that a wine critic visit the region they’re covering? Obviously, for a wine journalist, getting on the ground is important, but would it be for someone like Galloni (who, given the sheer breadth of his new portfolio probably needs to spend 20 hours a day continuously swilling and spitting without distraction in some windowless vault)?

    Here’s Twitter funnyman/mashup artist Bobby Parkerchuk’s (http://twitter.com/#!/bparkerchuk) sarcastic take:

    “…blobbers… only been to a wine region twice? …consider writing reviews for the winery advocate!! #THUNDER”

    Thanks,

    Bill

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