In the Richard Avedon exhibit at SFMOMA yesterday, one of my favorite prints was a shot of the dancer Rudolf Nureyev’s foot, rooted sturdily, vertically to the ground by the tips of three toes. The piece was entitled dance, en pointe, and indeed it was very much to the point, as I’ve been thinking again about wine ratings and point systems.
By now, you know that I’m not a fan of the subjective rating of wines by numbers or points nor the Parkerization of American tastes. The experience of drinking wine is too personal and too colorful to whittle down into a single figure based on one person’s, or one magazine’s opinion. So here I run into a dilemma: To submit my wines for official review would go against my brand ethics, but to receive a high number from a well-known publication might go a long way towards boosting sales.
Luckily, one of the merits of this vast blogosphere in which I type is that, as compared to traditional media, many more people have access to wine reviews written by a much wider range of wine drinkers, from Joe Schmoes to connoisseurs. So my solution, I think, will be to identify wine bloggers whose reviews best fit into my imagery-rich, snobbery-free ideal and send them a bottle to try. The other nice part about this approach is that the readers of those blogs have likewise identified the writers as having a tasting vocabulary and style that resonates with them, so that partly takes care of the subjectivity issue.
I’d also like to ask anyone who has tried Je Suis Syrah to send me their own impressions. Give me some adjectives, paint me a picture, describe in your own words how you felt when you drank it. I’ll post your impressions on the blog and the website, where they will collectively serve to describe the World of Je Suis and tempt all those future Je Suis-lovers with what they’ve been missing. (And who knows, maybe this will spark your own wine-writing career!)
Leave your review of Je Suis Syrah in the comments section here, or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By the way, I recommend poking around Chateau Petrogasm, where a single image serves as a description for each wine. In their own words, “No matter how hard we try to reproduce a wine (whether by words or art), we will always fall short. Hence, nothing can stand in place for a particular sip of wine, not even the second sip. This is precisely what makes traditional wine reviews bankrupt and, at the same time, makes wine so pleasurable! … It would be just as dubious to describe in great detail each component of the painting, as we often do with wine. (“A man with blue pants and a loose white shirt stands on a beach, which from what I can tell contains grains of sand in the following colors: . . . .”) Since the enjoyment of wine is clearly a subjective experience, it cannot be described by words alone. Using abstract art to convey both the experience of drinking and the impression of a wine, we can move beyond the limits of words. And, if a wine smells overbearingly like honeydew, then we must trust that honeydew will stain one’s imagination and thus the image.