Blogging forward? Moving forward indeed, but perhaps it is more like leaving blogging behind. Years of blogging has left its calluses. “Been through the wars have we,” as Monty Python said. However you phrase it, as you will see from the gap between my last post and this, it was clear that for me blogging about wine had become, there’s no other word for it, boring.
There seemed to be real wine wars in the past and they made my blood boil. Boil and rant I did about the ridiculous idea of giving points to wines, the destruction of terroir by those same critics giving the points and the sad dulling of the American palate by the wine mass marketing machine using those points. At some point in the last year I realized I no longer cared about slaying these windmills and once that happened trying to hammer out three or four blog posts a week became more a burden than a creative outlet.
I’ve decided the only creative outlet that matters to me anymore is to create an environment where I can craft meaningful wines. By meaningful wines I mean wines that mean something to me. Then it is up to me that find people that share my vision and take pleasure in what we have created at Cornerstone Cellars in the Napa Valley and at Cornerstone Oregon in the Willamette Valley. I’ll take points when we get them, you’d have to be an idiot not to, but achieving those ratings is not my goal. My goal is to make wines that light up people’s eyes when they drink them. I believe that there are more than enough like-minded people out there that will love what we do and buy our wines. So points be damned and we’ll follow our own vision instead of theirs.
I’ll take one last shot at the 100 point wine rating system just for old times sake. I don’t care who the taster is, but if you take twenty-five wines from the same place, variety and price range and have someone taste and score them, then repeat the same tasting five days in a row changing the order of the wines every day you will get statistically different results. The results you get will only prove one thing: that such ratings produce statistically unrepeatable results. As the results can’t be repeated they are worthless - except for one thing. Points are very valuable for selling wine publications, which is the only reason for their existence. As with any database: garbage in, garbage out. Humans are not infallible tasting machines - no one, nowhere, no how.
One reason to be less upset about the big print wine magazines is that they’re doomed. Not to pick on wine magazines, but they are unlikely to escape the fate that is going to change that entire industry. My guess is within five years they’ll be more-or-less exclusively online publications and will have had their power diluted by online publications that may not even exist yet. Kicking them on their way down seems like a waste of energy. It’s time to admire them for what they were and what they achieved, not rant against them for what they have become.
There is also the natural passing of time that is changing things. A recent departure from The Wine Spectator found several beats replaced by more sensitive voices notably that of James Molesworth. Over at The Wine Advocate the contributions of Antonio Galloni, Neal Martin and David Schildknecht have transformed dramatically the range of wines receiving attention and high scores. Perhaps balance is being restored to The Force after all.
So as I move this blog forward you’ll find no more rants here. Hopefully you’ll find thoughtful commentary on my experience in trying to create compelling terroir-driven wines on the west coast of the United States and my feelings on other wines that inspire me and compel me to put the feelings they give me to words. Instead of shorter posts and wine tasting notes you’ll find longer pieces appearing three to four times a month instead of the more blog-like staccato of that many a week.
What you’ll also find heavily featured is my wine country photography. There is no better way to bring the feeling of making wine to you than images of the experience itself. High resolution images from my Nikon will be mixed with on the spot iPhone snapshots and videos that I feel will help bring the world of wine alive to you.
There will also be a lot more food on Wine Camp. While wine is my profession, cooking is my avocation. Like most passionate hobbyists I can’t talk, or write, enough about the object of my affection. Cooking to me is both pleasure and therapy as nothing takes away stress like preparing and enjoying a meal.
What will be gone from Wine Camp is criticism, there are more than enough Grinches out there in the wine blogoshere already. The critics role will be replaced by that of a wine lover. There are a lot of new bloggers out there whose blood is boiling and they can have the job. Last night’s dinner was a garden fresh caprese followed by pan-roasted duck breast and Cowgirl Creamery Red Hawk washed down with 2005 Domaine Forey Nuits-Saint-Georges - now that’s an interesting story and the only kind of story you’ll find at www.winecampblog.com.