My latest and greatest appearance in this role was last weekend at Taste Washington, where I was the only sap the organizers could dig up who would sit in front of a room and defend the 100-point scale for wine ratings.
|It's true: I don't have the cash|
* With the notable exception of Allen Shoup, perhaps the most important man in Washington wine history, who supported me. Thanks, Allen!
I crushed their arguments like bugs.
I really enjoyed typing that. No, what actually happened is that I agreed with about 90% of the complaints people have -- about wine criticism. I just don't think you can blame a rating scale for those complaints. Not that any number of self-appointed Internet censors who hate the First Amendment* haven't tried.
* As I told Steve Heimoff this week, there's nothing I hate more than Guy No. 1 telling me that I can't give Guy No. 2 information that he wants.
I'm going to list some of the complaints I remember, and my rejoinders. Forgive me if I don't get to them all, as I was too busy parrying to take notes.
* White wines don't do as well in ratings as red wines
That's a critic's personal choice; there's no inherent reason this must be so. Wine Spectator might believe that only oaky Sauvignon Blancs are worthy of scores higher than 91 points, but another critic or organization (and I'm one) can say a crisp, balanced, delicious Sauvignon Blanc without oak is totally capable of scoring as high as any wine.
I have only gone to 100 points once, and that was for a white wine; I went to 99 last month, and that was for a white wine.