|The distinguished panel before tasting
How different is it to taste and review wine with a group of people rather than to sit alone and quietly rate them? I find that it’s drastically different, and that it’s a subject rarely written about. (Like just about every damned stupid thing I write about on HoseMaster of Wine™.) Are the reviews of a single wine writer who evaluates wine on his own, in the privacy (or emptiness) of his own mind, more valuable than the reviews of a group of wine experts who taste and talk about each wine they rate? If you look at who wields all the power in the wine world these days, it seems the single reviewer is far more valued. The Wine Advocate and Wine Spectator still have the most clout when it comes to wine sales, at least in the United States, and their reviews are done by individuals.
Ever ask yourself what would have happened if the Judgment of Paris in 1976 had been overwhelmingly won by the French wines? It certainly could have happened that way. Maybe they should have gone Best Out of Three. There’s no doubt the results of that famous tasting changed California’s wine future forever. Would that have been the case if it had been a single wine critic passing judgment? Did the fact that it was an all-French panel make the results more valid? I’d say no to both questions. Did it prove California wines are better, or as good as, their French counterparts? Of course not. It didn’t prove much at all; and but for the presence of one reporter, it would have been as lost to history as our first Judgment at Geyserville most certainly will be. The Judgment of Paris proved only the power of the press, not the superiority of the wines. What did our little Geyserville tasting prove? We like to drink wine in the company of our peers, and eat pizza. Not necessarily in that order.
|The more distinguished panel after tasting