by Jeff Miller of Artisan Family of Wines (Seven Artisans, Sly Dog Cellars, Red Côte)
A number of posts and news reports highlighted the fact that Pres. Obama was served wine by the royal wine masters that they had panned in their own internal reviews. Here’s just one of the stories that showed up on the subject this past week:
Talk about much ado about nothing. The Royals internal staff reported that this wine was, at one time, “soapy”, while at another time this “soapiness” had disappeared to be replaced by overacidity.
Interestingly, the same wine had been reviewed multiple times by the wine powers that be and scored in the 90s repeatedly.
So what can we take away from all of this? It’s pretty clear that the reviewers of this wine were all over the map. Why? Because that’s always the way it is.
I suspect that the Royal reviewers were being a little more honest than the usual stable of Parker, et cetera. I never fail to be blown away by the fact that certain wines are scored consistently in the 90s, while certain other wines always score in the 80s. I guess, in theory, certain wines are just innately superior to other ones. Personally, I just don’t buy this. I think reviewers know that they’re reviewing Burgundies, and so they pull out their 90s. A mediocre burgundy will still get a 91. An exceptional Petite Sirah is still going to struggle to get into the 90s.
Soapy isn’t a word I normally associate with any of the flavors in wine, but I guess, at least for the Royal tasters, it’s an accurate adjective. But like everything having to do with wine tasting, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What the Royals found to be “soapy”, other reviewers found to be just fine. So maybe what is soapy to one person is appealing to another. Isn’t that always the case when it comes to wine? One man’s soapy is another man’s elegance.
With all the really important things taking place on this planet, you would think that maybe the wine world could come up with something a little bit more compelling to get all hot and bothered about. But I guess not.