Raven at San Jacinto

Sunday, November 15, 2009


There is a great article by Leonard Mlodinow in yesterday's Wall Street Journal about the hokum that is the fine wine business, especially as it relates to judging and criticism. Link to it here.

A retired professor and statistician who also happens to be a small vintner, Robert Hodgson, decided to unmask the dog and pony show that is wine judging in America. It doesn't appear that he has made a lot of friends.

Hodgson would put the same wine in different bottles at the same competition and get wildly different scores from the very same judges and critics. He did some other crafty things as well. The California State Fair Wine Competition judges tried to suppress his findings for years but they were published earlier this year in the January Journal of Wine Economics. 

Turns out that judging wine is about as subjective and accurate as random coin flipping. One snob's hint of currants and pear is apparently another man's asphalt emulsion and turnip salad. Some interesting cover your ass reactions from wine luminaries like Robert Parker. Send this very interesting read to the wine snobs in your life.


grumpy said...
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Anonymous said...

Loved the article on wines in wsj. Off to trader joes to stock up on chuck. We call this up-chuck. Maybe it will taste better if we upchuck into the Bordeaux bottles. Doug

grumpy said...

wine snobbery also contributes to the high cost of the product; years ago, i remember you could go into department stores in Germany, with your own bottles, and fill them with "wein" right out of the barrel, for cheap; so, what used to be a common beverage has turned into an elitist and expensive commodity.