James Suckling, previously wine critic with the influential US publication The Wine Spectator, is launching his own website. He’s going to be focusing on video content, and to whet readers’ appetites he is releasing some video teasers. The first consisted of him saying that he was going to uncover the wine world’s hidden gems, and then followed him through some of the world’s greatest, and already very much discovered vineyards. The second is this:
I don’t know whether this is just because of my cultural background (I’m British), but the video really makes we squirm. It views like a parody of THE GREAT CRITIC in action. The (unintentional) arrogance of standing in front of a producer and declaring how many points their wine has achieved, while conspicuously waving one’s iPad, is quite shocking. There is no acknowledgement that the score is the taster’s opinion, rather than a property of the wine. As is the reduction of a wine to a simple point score, as if this were some sort of competition.
‘This is a phenomenal wine,’ he says of one of the 100-pointers. ‘I remember tasting from barrel…it was so intense it is unbelievable.’
Perhaps Suckling is being clever – having fun with us – and he’s parodying himself.