Fox Farm Wines I’m Using As An Excuse to Talk About Me
Fox Farm Vineyards 2010 Pinot Noir Williamette Valley $28
Fox Farm Vineyards 2010 Pinot Noir Ana Vineyard Dundee Hills $42
Fox Farm Vineyards 2010 Pinot Noir Madrona Hill Vineyard Chehalem Mountains $32
I don’t remember what year I attended Oregon Pinot Camp, but it was after 2001 because I remember going through airport security. The line took forever, but, in hindsight, I know now not to get in line behind Edward Scissorhands. Or Mary Switchbladetits. I had never been to Oregon’s wine country, and I was pretty excited to go. I boarded a plane in Burbank, Bob Hope International Airport (“But I want to tell ya…I don’t mind having a full body scan at airport security. When the officer asked if I had anything to declare I said, ‘Yeah, can you make my nuts look bigger?.’ I’m not saying the airline I was flying had trouble being on-time, but the stewardess was Amelia Earhart. Gorgeous girl, I didn’t mind her going down in a plane.”), and landed a couple of hours later in Portland.
I had a blast at Oregon Pinot Camp. Those junkets are ostensibly about the wines, but, in reality, they’re about being drunk all day away from home, and, to a lesser degree, networking. It was at OPC that I first met Dini Rao, now one of the head honchos at Lot18 (which is, sadly, always preceded by the words “troubled startup,” which reminds me of my rental car at OPC). We bus-bonded, which is not a kinky public transportation game, though it would bring a whole new meaning to “Yank the cord if you want to get off.” Years later, I worked for Dini procuring wines for Lot18. But that’s a story for another post.
“The Hosemaster of Wine, best described as the Wine Curmudgeon on an especially bad day, wrote a very nice bit that I wish I had written:
Much of what bothers me about wine writing is how uncritical it is. I love wine as much as anyone I know, but I also really dislike boring wines, stupid wines, and what I think of as fatuous wines. And there are lots of them. I see them getting 91 points, or A-, or somewhere between 9 and 9.5 (so, 9.23567?) from people with the qualifications of a raccoon.”
Nice of Jeff to mention the HoseMaster. In a comment, Rusty Gaffney, who blogs as the Prince of Pinot (I’m never sure if he’s royalty or a short, black, gay wine writer) wrote:
1) The problem with brutally honest criticism of wine based on a personal opinion, unless it is absolutely warranted (ie the wine is flawed), is that it can potentially and irreparably damage a winery's reputation and ultimately put it out of business.
2) There seems to be a fan base for wines regardless of how "fatuous" they are. One critic's boring, stupid wines are another man's preferred drink.”
Does this make sense to anyone? Criticism of any art form is, by definition, based on personal opinion and experience. If you’re a film critic and a movie sucks, your job is to say so, not worry about ruining a director’s career. He should be pursuing a different career. If you go to a restaurant and the food is disgusting, witness the New York Times recent review of Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen, it’s your job to say so, not worry about how it affects Guy Fieri, now host of the new game show, “Minute to Hurl It.” But if you’re a wine critic you’re not supposed to do that? Wow, is that ever crap. The job of a critic (and I’m not a critic, I’m just a guy who likes to write about wine now and then) demands honesty; it’s not about being right, or doing the right thing. People heed your opinions because they respect them, and if you pull your punches, you haven’t earned anyone’s respect. Not even your own.
There are only one or two critics who could destroy a winery with a poor review, and the Prince of See No, Hear No, Pinot Evil ain’t one of them. Neither am I.
|Wrong Vintage, but cool critter label|