OK, I’m finally ready.
I’ve been waitin’, procrastinatin’ on working up posts that delineate the best-made renditions of sundry varietals, or wines from certain regions, that have crossed my transom and/or palate. I have held off from adding “Recommendations” or “Picks” to the tab that lists pages on this site.
Why? Two things:
• The painstaking process of inputting and collating several buttloads of tasting notes (it’s easy to get — and stay — behind when you sample a few thousand wines a year).
• And confidence. Feeling good enough about my tasting abilities to make broad rather than specific endorsements.
As it turns out, addressing the first problem solved the second one. In recent weeks I have been pulling together documents and nigh-onto-illegible notes from several years into big ol’ files such as “Italian Reds” and “Sauvignon Blancs” (from all over). And time after time, the notes and scores for different vintages of the same wine were in amazing alignment. From spendy pinot noirs to inexpensive Cavas and Proseccos, I had almost uniformly identical takes on brands tasted a year or three apart.
I don’t believe in publishing scores for wines, and I can get away with it because I’m simply touting wines I like and/or consider well-made, and because (I hope) I’m a good enough writer to let the words say more than a number ever could. Still, I was astounded at how seldom my personal ratings for a particular red blend or albariño varied more than a titch, especially in the 7.5 to 9.4 range where most wines land.
For some reason, that makes me feel a whole lot better about my palate. I wasn’t lacking faith that I could distinguish between deftly made and poorly made wines, but I guess I wasn’t cocksure about nailing the relative quality of wines. The downside: I now must admit that scores do have utility .
Anyway, over the next few weeks I’ll be putting up posts that list zinfandels, Iberian whites, et al. that provide great value at whatever price point they occupy. Rest assured that a lot of frogs were kissed in the quest for more princely options. And that I can now rest assured in the results.