A Wine Critic
I prefer to see criticism as an opportunity for feedback and growth rather than ridicule or scorn. I think that is where much wine snobbery originates, or other snobbery for that matter. It is another one of those metaphors that make wine so interesting in that you can learn behaviors from which we can grow in other areas of our lives. Also I think that discovery is part of the adventure. I am much more interested in identifying and celebrating those wines that present outstanding value. I get real naschas when I can find a wine that is twice as good at half the price. And they are out there.
I understand that “feedback” and “ridicule” are both polar opposite variations of “criticism” which is essential for growth and relationship building. Few people respond well to ridicule. It is not generally offered with the intent to be constructive. Just imagine if we could temper the judgment we want for others with a bit of the mercy we want for ourselves. It is far simpler to condemn or complain but not nearly as useful.
I will never cease to be astonished how judgmental one needs to be in order to judge another as judgmental. We should rather focus on ideas or behaviors as good or bad, not people. There is a Talmudic wisdom that states: Who is wise? He who seeks criticism. And we know how to do it. Was it good for you? What did you think? Did you like it? We spend billions of dollars every year to get feedback. We conduct focus groups, do surveys as solicit advise, reaction, and evaluation when want to improve, focus or refine our products or services.
What a different world we could have we could somehow replace our inclination to blame for the purpose of fault and penalty with analysis of cause for the purpose of improvement and remedy. That is of course is my bias for a preference for Management Science showing.
I should mention that I don’t put quite as much emphasis on the scoring of wine as some others do. There are people and organizations that excel in that activity as well as sources for in depth reviews of individual wines. I prefer to see wine appreciation as a personal experience that is enhanced by a sophisticated sensory ability to perceive the attributes we can taste and develop a fragrance memory to appreciate the nuanced notes produced by the naturally occurring volatile organic compounds that evaporate from the surface. Analyze and evaluate
I use a simplified rating system that consists of only four rating scores and is based on the 100 point system where an 8 is roughly an 80 and 9 is roughly equivalent to a 90. I also use 8+ and 9+. So it is basically: good, very good, excellent and really outstanding; I describe this in more detail elsewhere but I do not rate anything lower than 8. I have no interest in being pejorative or insulting. I have no doubt there are wines I consider mediocre that others would like and I firmly believe in a guiding principal that: “Good wine is wine you like”.
Which wine is better is often like which car is better or which dog is better. The answer is: It depends. It begs the classic cultural preference to answer a question with a question. For what purpose?
When I review a restaurant I want to influence a set of expectations so prospective diners can be prepared and make an informed decision. If there are factors that would predict disappointment there is opportunity to improve.
Here is an inconvenient truth: without problems there are no opportunities.