I have norm.
learned over time that my Apparently, it is quite
is not the
critics/reviewers/writers to concentrate on samples when a wine is released and then intervals throughout the wine’s life. I don’t
asking for at different necessarily
think there is anything terribly wrong with this. As I already said, I accept and receive samples and have asked for them, but I don’t feel that you should
have even base
everything you write on samples. that do, I guess; I’m sure they are doesn’t seem altogether right to me.
More power to those saving money, but it The reason I feel this
I also purchase bottles from store shelves for an emotional reason. I believe that spending one’s own hard earned money on a bottle of wine results in a much more meaningful and ‘real’ response compared to tasting a free bottle. When I spend $30 US on a Champagne that blows my mind, I get a high of epic proportions as I celebrate my wonderful find. Likewise, when I drop $200 US on a bottle that doesn’t move me more than a popsicle on a cold day, I might start fuming. Tasting my own bottles, I experience both ends of the spectrum and everything in between, and it is my hope that it carries through to my writing.
typical consumer experience can be missed reviewer doesn’t purchase wines from retail.
There are many reasons
a review of distribution
a bottle acquired
misrepresent the wine inside. For instance, one of the biggest problems with Champagne is product damage within the distribution network. (I go into this at length in Issue 5.) Most Champagne tastes great when pulled directly from a producer’s cellars, but it can be quite a different story after that same bottle passes through multiple containers, countries, and importer-distributor handoffs on its thousand-mile journey to your favorite shop and eventually your cellar. Some wines also tend to show variation from different batches of the “same” wine.
You need to try discover this. It
different all comes
bottles from various down to the fact that
sources to I think the
entire supply chain needs to be taken into reviewing a bottle of Champagne; writing
account when a tasting note
should not and cannot be the To this end, I make it a point
only way to buy as
to go. much
the shelves of stores not only locally in Michigan, only throughout the US, but around the world.
opinion, this is the only way to get an accurate picture a wine that is both truthful and useful to the consumer.
While I certainly believe a person can evaluate wines that he/she didn’t pay for, I also believe that one needs to purchase all levels of Champagne from all sorts of sources to accurately convey each experience in context. This is why I feel confident enough to sing the praises of a low-priced, 85-88 point wine at the same time I rail against a $100+ US prestige cuvee that was given an identical score. (This is why you need to read the notes as well as the scores – to get the full picture and context of the wine.)
Maybe I’m the stupid one for using all of the proceeds from this newsletter (plus a lot more) to purchase Champagne rather than for a night out on the town or a trip for the family to Disneyland. Perhaps I need to do more wheedling and/or demanding, and then sit back and wait for free cases to roll in. Then again, maybe I don’t. I really don’t fault others for doing so (let’s face it, they are probably more profitable for it), but it isn’t my way. Despite protests from my wife and helpful suggestions from winemakers and marketing departments that I ask for more samples, I won’t do it. I’ll just continue to shrug
off other critics/writers know who to ask or unimportant individual
who think I’m just too dumb to who assume I’m “obviously an
Older vintages also represent a challenge for the unbiased taster. Perfectly stored bottles from a producer’s cellar and/or recent disgorgements are not always the truest representation of a wine’s character. I do rate and review wines like this, but I make every attempt possible to give my readers an accurate description of a bottle similar to one you might grab from your cellar. I, like many of you, purchase and cellar newer releases for future drinking, and I do this explicitly so that I can sample these bottles (and write notes) as they evolve over the years. When I sample older vintages at a producer’s cellar, I also sample them from my own cellar or the cellar of others I know as
myself can do believe
long ago to do the best I can, and the only way I that is to put some skin in the game. I really it positively affects the end product, that is, my
Champagne reviews. I challenge else who will do the same.
Brad Baker The Champagne Warrior
reliable sources when an upcoming Combined, these experiences become
older bottles from article calls for it. the final note in this
newsletter. notes based
As much as humanly possible, I try upon more than one bottle or tasting.
Special Web Sample Edition - October 2010