jamie goode's wine blog: Two elements to wine criticism

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Two elements to wine criticism

What makes for a good palate?

There are two elements.

The first is the physical reliablity of a critic's palate. Can they spot duplicates in a line-up? How much do their ratings of the same wine, tasted on different occasions, differ?

Then it's the issue of aesthetic judgement. What is quality as it applies to wine? What makes one wine better than another?

Then, of course, there's the small matter of communicating this informaton in ways that are useful to readers.

If you have a poor palate, it doesn't matter how many wines you have tasted, or how many times you have tasted each wine, or how long you have deliberated over each wine for.

I don't mind whether someone tastes 20 000 wines a year or just 300 - what matters is their ability to taste accurately, make sense of what they are tasting, and then communicate this well.

And then there's the whole issue of biological differences in flavour perception, which add an extra layer to this discussion.



At 5:54 PM, Anonymous Arthur said...

I have seen this kind of argument before.
Can you distinguish yours by offering some solutions?

At 6:37 PM, Anonymous Alex Lake said...

This is the start of something interesting, but is anyone prepared to lose friends and alienate people by naming the professionals who they think are good and those that are not so good? I suspect that it's in the interests of most in the industry not to rock the boat by having any objective means of rating critics.

In reality, what counts is a load of other stuff, such as who you know, being in the right place at the right time, what you look like and how you come across on TV, etc.

Blind tasting can be a useful test of technical ability, but of course it misses out on the second part (communication) where it's largely down to taste.


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