Another WAwineman classic, 1st posted on Aug. 19, 2010:
Let me clarify (yet again) on my stance about sources for wine reviews. Ultimately, it is you, the reader, who decides which reviews (and reviewers) are worthy and influential. Ask yourself first: how do you drink your wines? Do you sip your way through tasting rooms without buying any bottles? Do you leech off your buddies? Or, do you have the bottle at the meal table and, accordingly, treat it as a food dish like that ribeye steak or canned lasagna? What quantity of wine, over time, do you need to ingest before “understanding” what the wine is about? 1 ounce? 3 ounces? A sniff? Do you drink your wines solo and/or pair it with food? (Ask anyone who has a decent grip on wines and they should say that wine IS a food and also a living entity.)
Key point: follow a reviewer who drinks wine like you do. Don’t bother with tasting-room reviewers if you drink wines at meal time. You’re asking for disappointment.
Now, notice—nowhere did I mention about whether the wine was procured as a freebie or paid for. As long as the information is routinely disclosed in the review, I have zero problem with that. Hey, I have received samples and gifts in the past, but each and every labeled wine bottle received as a sample was priority tested and posted. For me, it’s all about respecting the wine and the donor of the wine. And, I do take blogging seriously, despite the defecatory comments by some, notably from an employee of Challenger Ridge Winery (or soon to be ex-employee).
Is a “sample” wine a form of graft? A fair question. After all, where in any respectable industry is it allowable for an “influential member” to ethically receive freebies as contingent to a recommendation or other publicly-exposed summary? Try that tactic when competing for a government contract. However, anyone in this game of wine blogging knows the one with the implied “biggest tea bags” or “plumpest fun bags” is the one who receives the most samples from wineries. These individuals also care about numbers…as in getting the most followers or fans. This is their real priority. They use wine for their own personal gain and satisfaction…fulfilling some fantasy to boost their low self-esteem or to erase bitter childhood memories of always being the last one picked in the neighborhood sports games. They use cheap tactics such as flattery and a buttered-up resume and promises to increase visibility of the winery (leading to increased sales), then take the wine and leave, never to be heard from again. Wineries, you know who you are, and you know what it feels like to be “sucker punched.” One day, you are exalted like a Nicole Bobek or Tamara Lipinski; the next, you are completely forgotten and abandoned. This is the shame of wine bloggers and so-called social media “experts.”
Wineries should institute a verification of blogger credentials. One proposal is to ask a wine blogger’s credit rating. What, wineman?? Hey, banks don’t loan money to those with a poor rating. So, why the heck are you giving away the results of your hard work to individuals who couldn’t get a loan for a skateboard? Get it?
Unfortunately, packing a credit rating document while wine tasting is not feasible. So, try this: ask a requesting wine blogger about which wines he/she purchased recently. Watch their eyes fade downward or look away. Shameful.
As a side note, my credit rating is over 830 and my recent purchases are listed in my reviews, along with future goodies to be reviewed from Betz Family Winery, Columbia Winery, Adams Bench, Chateau Ste. Michelle, Brian Carter Cellars, Kamari, Leonetti Cellar, DiStefano, Rulo, Columbia Crest, Two Mountain, Efeste, Coyote Canyon, L’Ecole No 41, etc. Want me to keep going? I’m doing my part to support the Washington (and Oregon) wine industry infusing hard-earned cash, in addition to my words. Find me another blogger in 2010, aside from yakyakwine.com, who has spent (and blogged) as much as I have in support of the Washington wine industry. Now, you know. (But, keep sending those samples! Much appreciated.)
I’ve had my say on King Estate in a previous review and they are worth a follow on Twitter. They don’t clog up your tweetstream with juvenile “follow Friday,” “wine Wednesday,” or tinkle Thursday or whatever. Gawd, that’s annoying.
Excellent food pairing tonight with take-out from T&T Seafood in Edmonds: pork fried rice, crispy beef broccoli, bbq pork chow mein and spicy mapo tofu. Every dish gelled with the wine, a rarity. I almost chose a gewürztraminer wine over this wine. I have no regrets. Tasted at 51-62 degrees F on the IR gun.
Ultra-bright, silvery platinum emitting from the Riedel with soft aromas of green apple, pink grapefruit, peach blossoms, and crushed lime leaves. Dense on the palate, this pinot leaves a firm trail of ripe orange, grapefruit and lime in harmony (unlike some out-of-control sauvignon blancs or lifeless pinot gris), guava, and hints of peach. Best between 55 and 62 degrees.
Alcohol: 13.0%. TA 0.62. pH 3.20. RS 0.48% (sweetness detectable). 39% estate vineyard (100% sustainably farmed). 100% stainless fermented. 100% sur lie aged for five months. Rated: 91. Value: $16. Paid: $13. Music pairing: “Tweedlee Dee” by LaVern Baker. This is WAwineman…uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.