Monday, February 29, 2016
A Few Changes in Our Wine Submission Policy
Due to recent circumstances beyond my control, namely an earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter Scale that I’m certain was intentionally triggered by North Korea in an attempt to silence my criticism of Kim Jong Un’s recent purchase of Domaine Ramonet in Burgundy and renaming it Top Ramenet, it has become necessary for me to rewrite my requirements for wine submissions for review. The earthquake, set off by the testing of underground nuclear weapons in blatant defiance of international law, or, perhaps, by the sudden shifting of the North American plate against the Alice Feiring “Eat Me, I’m Natural” commemorative plate proudly displayed above my mantel, no one can be certain which was the cause, toppled the thousands of wine shipping boxes stored temporarily in my safe room, nearly crushing the woman I keep there for amusement, and, not, as has been reported in the press, because she actually writes my tasting notes in exchange for being allowed to live. That’s not her, that’s Natalie MacLean.
In the past, any wine was allowed to be submitted, as long as it was safely packed using unmarked double-sawbucks as protection. With the proliferation of wines from every beautiful corner of the planet, as well as Lodi, this is no longer reasonable or manageable. As it is, I’ve been rating wines without tasting them, instead relying on the numbers generated on CellarTracker. Nah, I’m kidding, those guys are imbeciles. If I want to rely on fake wine authority, I can steal from “Wine Folly.” The problem is simply that I receive too much unwanted and unsolicited wine. Even with my crack team of reviewers—well, it’s really my team of reviewers on crack—there just isn’t enough time to taste and rate all the wines. And that’s considering that I can taste 250 wines in only three hours, and rate them all. I’m a regular Alder Yarrow. And you idiots believe him.
So from now on, anyone submitting wines for review will be required to conform to the following policies. Any submissions that do not conform to the standards will be refused and returned to the sender sans double-sawbucks. Shredded copies of “Loam Baby” will be substituted, without regard to possible wine or brain damage. Here then are the new requirements and explanations of our new submission policy.
1) I now openly accept cash. Frankly, I’m tired of playing the “I’m not for sale” game. It’s wine’s version of the Oscar’s “I’m just happy to be nominated” game. Who the hell believes that? And I’m sick of the double standard in the wine business. When you submit a wine to a wine competition, after all, you tender payment for the privilege of being judged by teams of wine professionals. Yeah, right, professionals. And those guys at the Apple store are geniuses. If you pay to have your wine rated at a wine competition, it’s only fair that you pay me to rate it. And, no, advertising is NOT enough. Only the big corporate wineries can afford advertising in my publication, I expect everyone to pony up some bucks for the privilege of having the chance I’ll rate your wine highly, and then you’ll sell a boatload of pedestrian plonk to Costco. Trust me, it’s just as easy to give an 89 as a 90. I don’t care. I taste the wines blind because, frankly, I’m usually relatively drunk and often get my notes confused so what difference does it make? And I taste blind because wine consumers think tasting blind creates objectivity and shows integrity, which is important to remember when you don't have either. Try to think of paying to have your wines rated as a kind of wine business Lottery. Think of the payment as buying a Scratcher. You give me scratch, I sniff.
2) Don’t send me wines that you know suck. Really. I’m not kidding around here. Submit wines that you have produced with pleasing my palate in mind! This is how it works in life. You don’t write an article about premature ejaculation for the AARP Magazine. You don’t write anything with any inkling of wit and expect Wine Spectator to publish it. You wouldn’t submit Meomi Pinot Noir to a diabetic. So do me the favor of not wasting my time with wines that you know I’ll hate. You know my palate. I’m old. I need wines that are more intense than a constipated John Malkovich trying to squeeze off a loaf. I’d think you’d know that by now.
3) You need to ship at least two bottles of every wine. If the wine is rare and expensive, six bottles. I like to give them more attention. I don’t sell them. I swear. I do, however, award slightly higher scores if I feel the winery has been generous with samples of rare and expensive wines. This has always been part of how wines are rated, by the way. It falls under the category of “emotional impact.” I’m just so happy when I get a six-pack of, say, Chateau Petrus, because it’s what I use to pay my tongue guy. Wine critics always have a tongue guy, and many have two. One for each fork.
4) Marketing people, pay attention! If you send a wine to a blogger, don’t send it to me. That’s insulting. That’s like being a book publicist, having Ian McEwan as a client, and sending his latest novel to Michiko Kakutani, and a chimp. One’s going to crap on it, and the other one can’t read. Yes, I know, the bloggers review it for free, they haven’t the slightest idea when a wine is reduced, or corked, or full of Brett, so your odds are pretty good you’ll get a positive review, but what does that get you? A link on page 34 of a Google search, pretty much. If I see a wine that you’ve paid me money to review on some blogger’s site, that’s an automatic 84. If it’s 1WineDoody, it’s 83. If it’s Terroirist, you have my sympathy. You’re entitled to a new marketing director. And an 82.
I hope these new rules for submission are clear. Yes, I know, not that much has changed, really. I’m still all about integrity. I don’t bend these rules for anybody. That’s integrity! And, as a reminder, I am now accepting wines for review that will be appearing in the June issue. It’s the annual “Great Wines Over $150” issue. Please offer more than $150 in order to be a Great Wine.