Getting to know: Jon Thorsen

The man behind


We continue our ongoing interview series with the friends of Snooth today by introducing Jon Thorsen. Jon maintains one of the most focused blogs on the block. The perfectly named, You see Jon is out there looking for wines for himself, mostly everyday wines that offer great QPR. His tasting notes and discoveries deserve to be on everyone’s short list of references when it comes to these wines, and the occasional splurge wine but Jon is indeed a bit of a snob. Big ticket wines are simply not his focus, and while that may seem odd to some, the truth of the matter is that if you’ve gone someone searching for value among modestly priced wines you’ll find that there are plenty of terrific wines out there. 

So what drives Jon thorsen? Let’s get to know him and find out!
Snooth: How did you get involved in wine and wine writing?
JT: My wife and I decided a few years ago that we would like to start having a glass of wine each night, mainly for health reasons since there is a history of heart disease in her family. Not knowing much about wine and thinking you had to spend north of $20 a bottle to find anything good, I went on a search for affordable daily drinkers. I was rather amazed at the quantity and quality of wines available with a little effort. Thinking there were probably a lot of other people out there like me, who didn't drink as much wine as they would like because they thought it was too expensive, I decided it would be a good topic for a blog. 
Snooth: Do you have any professional background in wine?
JT: Zero, zilch, nada. 
Snooth: What is your favorite wine region and why?
JT: Oh boy, I don't know if I can name just one. How about I just keep it really large and say Italy? Truthfully though there are so many regions out there producing exciting wine, it's extremely difficult to name one. From the Calatayud in Spain to Portugal to Sicily to Rhone Valley to Dry Creek Valley out in California or Columbia Valley in Washington -- it's the great thing about being a wine lover, there are so many regions to explore! 
Snooth: Desert Island wine? You have to drink it for the rest of your life so let us know why this is your choice.
JT: Well, if you're looking for a variety here I'd have to go with Syrah because it can expressed so well in so many different ways. If you're looking for something more specific then maybe Aglianico from Taurasi. Wait, change that to Sangrantino di Montefalco. No, make that Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero...I mean from Rioja. But I do love a good Petite Sirah from California too. We could be here awhile.
Snooth: Would you characterize your palate as new world, old world, or something in between? Why?
JT: In between I guess -- I like both although I don't make a point distinguishing between these styles as I think the average wine consumer doesn't care, they just want tasty wine.
Snooth: What do you think of wine writing today? What do you like about it and what would you like to change?
JT: I like the way it is expanding and that there are more and more people writing with an eye towards the consumer. For too long it was mainly wine insiders writing to an audience of other wine insiders. I'm not in the wine industry, I'm just a consumer. (The Reverse Wine Snob is just a hobby for me, it's not my day job.) And as a consumer I'm turned off by a lot of the wine writing out there as it tends to be elitist. I'm not sure that's intentional in most cases, but that's the way it comes off and I'm happy to see it changing gradually. and are great examples of sites talking directly to consumers and doing a great job. And as someone who works in analytics I love sites like as well. 

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Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: Jon Thorsen
    Hand of Snooth
    1034047 97

    Thanks Greg!

    Jul 18, 2014 at 10:10 AM

  • Snooth User: vjg6014
    1480272 48

    Although I'll agree w/you there are many excellent wines in the 20 dollar range(Rhone Valley,Spanish Whites,etc...)To denegrate more expensive wines as folly is ridiculous.You clearly have not experienced great Burgundies,Barolo/Barbaresco,Brunello Di Montalcino,ChateauNeuf du Pape to name a few.These are fabulous wines that transcend your palate to another dimension.New World wines are still in the minor leagues in comparison to the ones I've mentioned.You need to look beyond your comfort zone and experience some of those wines I've mentioned.You will thank me for it...Enjoy,Life is too short to remain in second gear...

    Jul 19, 2014 at 11:08 AM

  • Snooth User: Jon Thorsen
    Hand of Snooth
    1034047 97

    Actually vjg6014, Greg can attest to the fact that I've had my share of $500 Barolos. In fact, I just spent a week in the Rhone Valley drinking wines from Cote Rotie, Hermitage, etc. If you read the site you'll see that I state many times that there are plenty of good wines over $20 -- they just aren't nearly worth the cost in my opinion. Is a $100 bottle really 5 times better than a $20 one? No way, although I'm sure you'll disagree.

    In any case I do thank you for jumping to conclusions and illustrating the elitist type of thought process that makes so popular! Cheers

    Jul 19, 2014 at 12:47 PM

  • Snooth User: vjg6014
    1480272 48

    First of all,I didn't jump to conclusions.I simply responded to your statement.I don't know what 500 dollar Barolo's you've had.If you really knew what you claim to know,you should know you can get great Barolo's in the 60-75 dollar range.For example,Elio Grasso.I clearly stated I enjoy Rhone Valley wines(Cote du Rhone Villiages),Spanish whites,all in the 20 dollar range.To call me an elitist is comical.It is true that some high end wines are not worth the price/quality ratio,this is where wine knowledge is power.Getting more for your money is essential as well as gratifying. Bruno Giacosa's Red Label wines as well as his entire portfolio are worth every penny.These are not every day drinking wines,but something to experience and sit back and say,it's great to be alive and share w/a like minded person.Even at half the price of Bruno's wines,are the wines of Giuseppe Rinaldi(also of Barolo).Clearly these are not for novice wine drinkers,but for more evolved and experienced wine lovers.It can best be compared to every day chain restaurants to higher end cuisine.Its the experience we seek that we yearn for,something that creates special memories that is out of the ordinary.Your comments are geared toward the people that drink wine as a social event,not as a passion in life.This is all fine and dandy for those who"like"wine who couldn't tell the difference between Calif.Chardonnay and a white Burgundy.Its an education of pleasure for the senses.Thats all I'm saying.

    Jul 19, 2014 at 3:11 PM

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