Wine Talk

Snooth User: Richard Foxall

More changes over at Wine Advocate

Original post by Richard Foxall, Feb 13, 2013.

Saw this story about Antonio Galloni leaving the Wine Advocate.  (I first saw it somewhere else, but this was the easiest one to link to today.)  I haven't got any particular sense of what Galloni likes, although one kind of assumes that Parker would hire someone somewhat in his own image if he was planning to turn over some of the areas Bob has been famous for influencing, like Napa. In general, I'm not really calibrated to very many critics, so their ratings generally have little effect on me.  (I have a sort-of algorithm for comparing RP, Tanzer and WS scores and figuring out if the reviewed wine might be worth taking a flyer on, but even that sounds more systematic than it is.)

What's more interesting is that we are clearly entering a post-Bob phase.  He was only moderately successful at extending his brand by adding other reviewers, and that is coming apart now.  So, does it mean that Spectator (or, as I call it, Wine Expectorator) will be the dominant rater?  Is there an identifiable style that the magazine as a whole favors?  I have mentioned elsewhere that at least one winery insider told me about specific steps taken to garner 90 points from Laube, so there's some influence there, but the bigger and bigger trend that most attribute to Parker seems unlikely to be matched by any one outlet.  Rimmerman talks about this a little in his email today--saying, for instance, that Mayacamas's style might now be in ascendance.

I don't really care what it will do for the magazines and ratings, but I do wonder how importers and wineries will respond, since that will affect what's available and at what price. 

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Reply by outthere, Apr 1, 2013.

"I look forward to living one day in a state where I can actually get access to a wider range of wine. The selection of California wines available here in Texas is more limited than you might think based on the size of the market. Getting products from smaller producers is quite difficult. I might be willing to pay for formal, broad-based wine advice in the future, but not until then. I get only a little useful information out of Wine Spectator and rely substantially on a few individuals here in the Dallas area for specific advice. As you guys know, I have a specific shop which gives me access to some nicer things and - through a set of individuals who are fellow customers and enjoy trying new wines and spirits - get to sample some interesting things. (We are a de facto "club".) For instance, we did a side by side of Stag's Leap petite sirah vintages this weekend. We spent some time with a 1991 Cos D'Estournel a few weeks ago. I also rely on CT for longitudinal information on vintage bottles. Parker wouldn't be much help for me at this point."

Ed I couldnt imagine! For me interaction is a huge part of my wine experience. If I didn't live where I do I probably never would have become a wine geek. I need that constant exposure that come with living in wine country to complete the cycle. Not having access to what you want to drink must be very frustrating.

But look at it from the bright side, you could live in PA. ;)

Reply by Richard Foxall, Apr 1, 2013.

We do pay for living in California and close to wine country in many ways--high income taxes for the "upper" brackets, which start pretty low, crazily expensive real estate, bad traffic near our cities, too many badly repaired roads--but for a wine lover it is really hard to imagine living elsewhere once you have lived here. In addition to those opportunities to "know your winemaker," at which OT excels and I can only aspire, we have the most open markets in wines.  So you can get lots of good wines from overseas, or from Oregon (less so WA).  Safeway even carries a good selection of California wines, albeit more in the mainstream.  And getting stuff shipped in is hassle-free. 

One thing I found interesting in Europe last year was that the Euro had greased the trade in lots of things, but you didn't often see French wine in Italy or vice versa, even if the restaurant fare was non-local .  I'm all for being a locavore, but I'm also a cosmopolitan about wine--you have to test your wine against others of its class.  In Holland, where they drink wine but don't produce any to speak of, there were wine shops with a more international feel, but the prices tended to be high and the selection uninspiring.  So unless I can walk out the door of my villa in Tuscany or my palazzo in Piemonte, I am staying put.

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