I was reading yet another excoriation of the 100-point rating scale by some blogger I hadn't heard of when I realized something:
1) Complaints for a change in the system come from nannies who want me to drink what they like.
2) The above is what American conservatives think of liberals in general.
Suddenly I saw the whole 100-point-scale debate in a different light. Are its opponents wine aficionados trying to more accurately capture the subjective experience of wine? Or are they taste police trying to outlaw other people's fun? Smug liberal elitists with a narrow band of approved pleasures who want everyone to have only the experiences they deem appropriate?
I submit, 100-point-scale haters, that you are all of the above.
Now before you go down to the Comments to flame me (if you stand behind your beliefs as I do, you'll put your name on it), here is my reasoning.
You don't have to follow the 100-point scale! Nobody is telling you to buy wines based on it.
What you're complaining about is the fact that other people like the scale. What business is that of yours?
The 100-point scale exists because a lot of American consumers -- and retailers -- like it. Wineries, as a whole, do not like it; it causes more problems than it solves, because not every wine gets 90 points from someone. But if consumers didn't like it -- if they preferred a four-star system or "recommended" wines or badges or gold medals -- then they would seek out and buy wines recommended under those systems, because all of them are available.
The marketplace chose the 100-point scale.
So when you rail against the scale, you're taking the side of producers against the will of the buying public. You don't trust people to make their own buying decisions.
In short, you look down on people.
I'm tolerant of, and frankly guilty of, a lot of liberal elitism when it comes to how other people's buying decisions affect society. I'm very pro-environment and think we should buy more organically raised products. I'm against excessive packaging. I think we should tax items based on their total cost, including such costs as CO2 emissions, dismantling and disposal.
What does the 100-point-scale have to do with societal good, though? It doesn't discriminate against biodynamic wines; it doesn't discriminate against anything. In fact, a progressive ratings organization could tweak its scale to give extra points for lightweight bottles or organic viticulture, and if the marketplace agreed with those values, that organization could be as successful as the Wine Advocate.
It's not the 100-point scale's fault that Jay Miller likes fruit syrup. It's like saying you don't like democracy because 48% of Americans decided George W. Bush would make a good president (in fact, I'll bet there are some liberals who think just that.) You don't like Jay Miller's ratings? Issue ratings of your own. Compete with him; don't grab the ball and say we're all going to play a new game based on rules you're making up on your blog.
I don't generally like the pejorative term "liberal elitist." When it comes to leaders, I want somebody who went to a good school, not a former wrestling impresario, to use one current example.
But I don't want to share a bottle of wine with a liberal elitist, nor do I want one in my ear when I make a buying decision. And I'm a lifelong Democrat. Imagine how liberal elitist wine-buying philosophy is received by the majority of this country, who are more conservative than I am.
Listen up, pretentious snobs: If you want to drink wine made from natural yeast with no added sulfites and extended skin contact and a bit of oxidation so that it's complex and has an aroma combining the Pacific Ocean, elderberry tea and your roommate's old shoes, that's fantastic. And if you can accurately describe the wine and its producers in an appealing enough way, maybe I'll want to try it too. I'm under your tent more often than not.
But don't tell the American consumer they can't simplify their rankings of wine into a democratic, anti-classist, easy-to-understand system that levels the playing field so that Argentinian peasant farmers and French hereditary land owners have the same chance at glory.
There's my rant. Now it's your turn. Go ahead and rate this post -- on the 100-point scale, please.