Should critics allow personal style preferences to influence their work?

Should wine critics allow personal stylistic preferences affect their judgments on wine?

I recently had a discussion on twitter with a respected US wine critic from a major publication, who kept emphasizing that personal stylistic preferences had no place in his ratings. He was quite insistent.

It’s a question I haven’t really considered before. I like the [...]

recently on

For those who just look at this blog, here are some of the longer articles that I have posted on the main wineanorak site:

Weinbach: an amazing tasting at this star Alsace domaine
Newton Johnson: great wines from this Hemel-en-Aarde star
Malatinszky: reviewing this celebrated producer from Hungary’s Villany region
Vadio: impressive wines from Barraida, Portugal
Grand Burgundy tasting: at [...]

On the telly, exposing supermarket illusory price promotions

So on Friday, while I was still in Cape Town, the episode of Rip Off Britain that I took part in aired. If you have access to the BBC iPlayer, you can catch up with the show online until the end of next week (28 March). The wine segment is in two parts: the first [...]

Henry Jeffreys on wine book publishing (guest post)

I rarely permit guest posts, but here’s one from Henry Jeffreys, because he asked nicely, and I like his writing. It’s about wine book publishing and how it has changed of late, largely from a UK perspective:

I have a bit of thing about old wine books. I can’t resist picking them up no matter how [...]

Generalists versus specialists

For those of us making a living writing about wine, there’s a choice we have to make. Do we position ourselves as experts or generalists? Do we specialize in just a few areas, going deep, or do we try to maintain a global focus, covering all regions more generally?

For anyone starting out, I’d say focus [...]

Results of the ML wines competition, 2014

A few weeks ago I posted about the ML wines competition held by Lallemand in Madrid.

The results are now out (click on the image below to see it full size as a pdf).

Some old pictures, and thoughts on permanence

Today I have been sorting through some old pictures. They’re really old, some as far back as 1970. I’ve changed a lot since then.

The wine world has changed a lot since then, too. But still, compared with our lifespan, wine has a sense of permanence. It is rooted in the place, and the place is [...]

Music and wine

Heraclitus was right. You can’t step in the same stream twice. The stream is ever changing and you are changed by your experience of the stream.

It’s like that with wine and music.

You can’t listen to the same piece of music twice. I remember as a teenager that sense of anticipation as I put a new [...]

Novelty at the expense of quality?

Star wine writer Jancis Robinson’s latest FT column is worth a read. You can find it here.

She is focusing on the quest for novelty in the wine world, and whether it comes at the expense of quality. The article was prompted by the recent rant by Robert Parker, which Jancis quotes:

What we also have [...]

Zorah Karasi, a remarkable Armenian wine

One of the most interesting encounters I had at today’s Liberty Wine tasting was with Armenia, the land-locked country hemmed in by Georgia, Ajerbaijan, Iran and Turkey. This broader area is widely regarded to be the birthplace of wine, and the wine in question that I tasted today is Zorah’s now famous Karasi.

I had [...]