Good Reads Wednesday

by Jeff Miller of Artisan Family of Wines (Seven Artisans, Sly Dog Cellars, Red Côte Rosé)

jeff-smEvery Wednesday I post my recommendations of the best of last week’s postings concerning wine, whether blogs or news.  I list them in the order I read them, so you shouldn’t infer anything about the order in which I list these posts.

Trust is the New Black: Your Local Retailer as Wine Confidante

Louis Calli

This post on Palate Press is well worth checking out.  The main theme is that ratings are less important than advice from the retail wine merchant.  Why?  Because the merchant can actually talk to the customer, find our the style of wine he likes, and suggest wines that fit that style.  I’m a big pusher of exactly that theme. It’s way more important to find a wine that fits what you like than a wine that has a high ratings, which may be because it fits someone’s, very different, preferences in wine.

A bottle a day cuts heart disease risk, study says

John Abbott

The latest study on wine and heart health.  Supposedly, up to a bottle a day is good for your heart.  That’s way more wine than I drink.  It’s important to put this in perspective, as the various studies don’t provide a whole lot of consistency.

A Plea for Calm

The Pour, Eric Asimov

I absolutely loved this article, because it sets out, better than I could, two viewpoints that I cherish. First, that nuance is getting shoved to the sidelines in the world in general, and the wine world in particular. Maybe it’s because I spent so much of my life as a lawyer, where by training you look at every question from every conceivable angle, and realize that there’s rarely that black and white answer that we hunger for. Asimov recognizes this, condemning our discourse dominated by those who seems shout simplistic formulas and condemn any who might have the audacity to disagree. But wine, like life, is nuanced, not amenable to a breezy Readers’ Digest abridgement.

Second, Asimov recognizes the inherent subjectivity in wine preferences. Unfortunately, the orthodox view seems to be that some wines are better than others and it’s only due to human frailty that some of us can’t figure out which are the objectively better wines.

Wine, like so many things, is rarely simple. It can be simplified, which is often desirable, but it is not simple. Take the notion, repeated so often to perplexed wine novices, “All that matters is what you like.’’

Well, yeah, of course. Everybody’s taste is subjective, and we all like what we like. It’s a great thing when people can identify their preferences, and a challenge in this country, where people feel such anxiety about wine.

This statement is so true, yet seems not to penetrate into a wine world that seems to need to offer due obeisance to the wine powers that be.

For keeping up to date with what’s going on the in wine world, the best all around source is

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