by Jeff Miller of Artisan Family of Wines (Seven Artisans, Sly Dog Cellars, Red Côte)
As you probably know, I publish every Wednesday my recommendations of those blogs from the prior week worth reading. Last week, I could find nothing, and I do mean nothing, worth recommending. In fact, even as I try to err on the side of inclusion, it seems my list of recommended reading is getting shorter and shorter.
Why is that?
First and foremost, it’s really hard to come up with interesting posts that aren’t just a rehash of what has been done a thousand times before, if not a lot more.
There are several types of posts that recur, and then recur again, and then, just for good measure…well, you get the point. What may have been worthy of a recommendation when it was new and vibrant, can’t be recommended the thousandths time around the block.
Vineyard photos. One of the staples of the wine blogosphere. Vineyards in the bright glare of a summer afternoon. Vineyards in the autumn fog. Vineyards covered with snow. Pardon me, but we’ve seen them all. That it’s a different summer afternoon, taken at a slightly different angle, at 2 instead of 3 in the afternoon, does not make for newness. It’s the same old, same old. No recommendations there.
Not that I’m opposed to pics. And there are pics that would be at least somewhat novel. But you don’t see them. How about the pictures of a tractor spraying sulfur? Or a winery laborer punching down a load of grapes in a macrobin? They are certainly every bit as worthy as showing how wine is really made. But they will never replace the vineyard pic because, true as they might be, they lack the romanticism that our industry seems to feel is its raison d’etre (or at least what the industry feels is its raison d’etre in the consumers’ mind).
When it’s getting late in the afternoon and you, the wine blogger, haven’t thought of anything to say, well, how about a review? “This (insert wine name here) exhibits cassis, along with dark fruit flavors, blueberry and boysenberry.” No news there, either. No recommendations.
Or the subject of wine ratings. The 100 point scale. If there’s something new to add to the discussion of the 100 point scale, I haven’t seen it in the last five years. To summarize everything that’s ever been said on the subject, “Totally worthless, but maybe better than any of the other alternatives despite that. Then again, maybe not.”
Tours of wine regions. Beautiful scenery. Winemakers committed to their craft. Making astounding new wines from some region no one had heard of a few years ago. Blah, blah, blah.
Even the most admirable become mind-numbing after repetition upon repetition. I agree with pretty much very thing Tom Wark has to say about the three-tier system. But no new recommendations there as my eyes glaze over his latest pronouncements on this subject. The state may change, the actors may change, but the gist of it remains the same.
Natural wines. Again, nothing new under the Sun. At least not until someone steps up to advocate the cause of unnatural wines—then there’d be something to write about. You would think that since wines are basically an unnatural product, there would arise a defender, but, alas…
At any rate, I’m hoping that this week there’ll be tons of good blogs to write up. We shall see.