I taste a lot of wines and only a few of these end up on this blog. This filtering process means that you will tend only to see positive reviews here. Some people have commented on this.
Would you like to see more negative reviews of wines I didn’t like? This might make for more balanced reading, and a greater range of scores. I’m conscious that my scoring is in quite a narrow band, and one reason for this is that I don’t usually write up dull or poor wines.
The rationale behind my policy of focusing on the positive is as follows. I think that it’s only fair that the good wines get the limited slots that exist on the blog: they’ve earned their place. But perhaps more significantly, a false positive is better than a false negative.
Let me explain. I think I’m a reasonably good wine critic. But I’m not perfect, and I make mistakes. A false positive is undesirable, but it is less of a problem than a false negative.
If I err on the side of criticizing a wine, I could be causing a miscarriage of justice. My mistake could create problems for a producer, and I’d rather see an undeserving producer sell a few extra bottles than dent the sales of someone who has actually made a great wine, only for me to make a mistake and knock it down.
It can be entertaining to see a critic lay into a wine. And there are a lot of bad wines out there that deserve criticism. The risk of slamming an innocent wine with a bad review, however, is usually too high for me to want to do it on a regular basis.
There’s also an extra factor here, which involves market segmentation. There’s a lot of crap wine out there that’s actually good quality. Let me explain this contradiction. Quality is best defined as fitness for purpose. A crap wine that is dull, inoffensive and has no personality, might be a good quality wine in certain segments of the market. If you can list a clean, fault free, but dull Pinot Grigio at under £4 then you’ll have some happy customers.
What’s the point of me laying into wines like these on my blog if they’re actually perfectly suited to their market, and their target market isn’t reading my blog?
Sometimes I think people criticize from a point of insecurity. Criticizing makes them feel more powerful, and better about themselves.
Isn’t it better all round if I’m just enthusiastic about the wines I like, and steer you towards those?