Frank Zappa’s quote on rock journalism has long resonated “People who can’t write, doing interviews with people who can’t think, in order to prepare articles for people who can’t read”.
There must be something similar about wine writing; perhaps like Samuel Johnson. “Sir, a woman’s preaching is like a dog’s walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all”. Now, If only wine writers could talk; alas, some of them do, sometimes forcing us to listen.
And once more, an excerpt from Steve Slatcher from a World of Fine wine article, with the key quote being “One result was that while the experts’ ratings correlated with price, the non-experts (customers lacking a wine education) actually preferred cheaper wines. It is a difficult sell to get those customers to invest time and money in learning about wine so they can then spend even more money on expensive wines they never used to like”.
Yet this is exactly what wine writers aim at – convincing readers to follow their own tastes and prejudices.
Here is a list of some selected – free- international sites, again for people with much spare time.
- Winenous – Steve Slatcher in flight, a thinker, a researcher,
- Andrew Jefford on Monday (Decanter magazine). Writes with heart; tasting notes that have a admirable touch of melancholy
- Wine anorak – Jamie Goode’s wine-ranging blog- reviews, news, welcome and refreshing material
- Wine Detective – Sarah Ahmed’s “outside” views; the affection shines through, and some courage too.
- Hosemaster – Ron Washam – satirical, with a US focus- not every post is not a winner, but crikey what fun when it is. (Eg Bob Dylans Nobel win)
Reference sites – general
- CellarTracker -a wonderful resource with community reviews (but you should find “sympathetic and knowledgeable” reviewers – such as Cam Wheeler) . Payment is encouraged, and allows you to upload your wine details.
- Wine-searcher; where can I get it- and how much? The pro version captures more retail sites; subscribing may thus save you money when buying wine!
Reference sites – specific
Most regions, and many companies, and wine retailers have their own sites; Google away, but the two sites below are among my regulars
Mosel Fine wines – by Jean Fisch and David Rayer- I am astonished at the depth, and number of reviews; their, charm, scores,enthusiasms and knowledge have led me to many purchases, and guided appointments made in the Mosel.
Bureau du Champagne – Not wonderfully up-to-date, and ultra-protective of Champagne, but there is a vast amount of history, geography and “feel” here, if you have the patience to trawl through the links