Thursday 13th of February 2014

Wine Guessing Notes

November 16 2009
After reading and reviewing Malcolm Gluck's 'The Great Wine Swindle', the mental recovery from the impact of the book was beginning to take place and I was starting to buy wine more freely again with less suspicion and cynicism... Until now. Let me elaborate.

Matt Skinner, a familiar name? Well probably either if you are a Jamie Oliver fan (he is apparently head of wine for parts of Jamie's empire), or if you watched Saturday Kitchen a while ago (where he occasionally appeared as a wine expert).

He is the billed as a young vibrant channel for the mostly disinterested to rediscover wine, making it accessible to everyone with little fuss and lots of straight talking. A hard line to tread. Most wine writers consistently stray way too far into deep technicalities, wanting to show off their prowess at the expense of important basic info for the layman shopper.

Forget the megapixels, does it take good pictures?

So what has Matt done to perpetuate my malaise? Well according to several new articles he could not have possibly tasted some of the wines reviewed in his latest book 'The Juice 2010', due to publishing deadlines. In other words several tasting notes were fabricated , based on previous vintages he was familiar with.

The argument is that there is little to no vintage variation in the majority of wines in the guide. But surely there must be.... or have the producers mastered the weather, and can perform cloud busting like George Clooney in the recent film 'The Men Who Stare at Goats'? Do the vines have the elixir of youth from many weird and wonderful biodynamic treatments, and remain ageless, saturated in essential oils?

To quote a reference from Decanter of Matt Skinner's own words in a GQ column -

'It's important to remember that every year is different and that no two years even in the same spot will ever be the same. That's the beauty of Mother Nature.'

So if the unwavering year on year aroma of this wine is therefore (by elimination) purely down to post harvest chemical manipulation then it sounds like pretty horrible homogeneous big brand stuff anyway, and should probably not be in the book with 'the easy guide to the best wine' stamped on the front.

With little defence I imagine his next GQ column will be about how he accidentally fell into the Large Hadron Collider and briefly went forward in time to taste these wines.

Maybe I should write a wine guide. Just make it up as I go along......sell in on Amazon for about £5.00. Easy money...


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