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The Straight and Narrow

As the debate rages on multiple forums over Pierre Rovani's take on the premature oxidation of white Burgundy, you can't help but be struck by the extremes in the way people perceive wine. Some like it straight ahead and some like a more indirect approach. I see no exact advantage of one school over the other, but one thing for sure is they don't see eye to eye. I suppose its like listening to Miles Davis or Ornette Coleman: they are certainly different, but both are considered great.

There can be little doubt that Robert Parker and his associates are of the straight on, or what I call linear style, of the wine pendulum. That's why there is little debate (on this side of the Atlantic anyway) over The Wine Advocate reviews of Bordeaux and new world cabernet sauvignon, but introduce wines that dance around your pleasure centers like Burgundy or Barolo and a firestorm of controversy breaks loose – even on Parker’s own forum. Cabernet takes a straight line to that pleasure button and creates less of a critical mess.

I think that for wines like Burgundy and Barolo/Barbaresco, the only reliable places to go to are specialists; like Allen Meadow's Burghound or Antonio Galloni's Piedmont Report. Mass publications trying to cover the entire world of wines can not handle the curves thrown by such elusive and constantly changing wines. As reliable as The Wine Advocate is for Napa and the Medoc, the coverage breaks down with it come to non-linear wines, which is just not their specialty. Not that there is anything wrong with that.