follow QRW on facebook

QRW Wine Diary


People continue to worship at the altar of numbers, still believing that one can put a numerical rating to something as abstract and nuanced as wine . . . Wine ratings satisfy the lazy and bring out the philistine . . . Ratings have killed wine education: consumers give themselves over to rating not reading . . . What numbers can’t do that fine words can do is excite the imagination. But consumers believe this less and less and worship more and more.

Wine tasting notes have become as passionless as wine ratings.

Passionless to the pathetic: when did wine become “bejeweled life” or “iconically unique?” Wine writing should be a sphere of scholarship made sociable and engaging.

An old refrain: if wine isn’t rated at least 90, no one wants it; if it is 95 or higher, no one can buy it. . . . Question: why are wines rated a mere 87 and lower being advertised?. . . Desperation? Wine PR people, whose influence at wineries is only slightly higher than the cleaning crew, love wine by the numbers, until the numbers turn on them.

Wine Investors, like wine ratings, seriously inflate the cost of wine. Restaurants do the rest marking up wine three and four times the wholesale price. And diners don’t seem to mind . . .

This is the first Autumn issue in which we have not covered the new Bordeaux vintage. Why do it? Who beside the very wealthy can afford them? What have we done to deserve the current prices of Bordeaux? $2,200 a bottle for 2009 Ch√Ęteau Latour. Ditto for California cult wines: buy expensive grapes, make a few hundred cases, tell the press it’s wonderful, sell it via private subscription, and you have the 2008 Screaming Eagle selling for $2,000 a bottle, which will ultimately be sold by the purchaser on eBay!

It’s autumn already and one of the most uneventful wines in the world, Beaujolais, will be upon us.

Gin, Vodka, Tequila, and blended whisky are for people who need alcohol, not wine.

May six o’clock never find me alone without a glass of wine. And the only wine at six o’clock is Champagne, which allows us to survive the nightly news and economists. It’s the only wine that can change a mood, offer salvation, and save a day that has unraveled and gone to hell.

China, China, everywhere. Will there be a drop for us to drink? China dominates the wine market. Will we be able to read wine ads when they appear in Mandarin?. . . In the 1980s, it was Japan that drove the wine market; today, it’s China. Soon Albania . . .

I detest mundane toasts. . . . I shall remember to toast myself, if for no other reason than having survived wine publishing for 35 years.

— Richard L. Elia

(Article reprinted from QRW Autumn 2011.)

More...

Is Dining Dying?

Château Margaux at Blantyre

29th Annual Best of The Best: Best of Show Winners

29th Annual Best of The Best: California Chardonnay

29th Annual Best of The Best: California Zinfandel

Photo Feature: A Nostalgic Look Back

29th Annual Best of The Best: California Cabs and Bordeaux Blends

29th Annual Best of The Best: California Pinot Noir

All Things Grape and Small, Winter 2012/13

QRW Vintage Wine Chart [PDF]

Gaia and Gaja: Italy’s First Wine Family

29th Annual Best of The Best: Champagne Tasting

Wine’s Decline: Wither Romance?

Aristocrats of the Table: Julia Child, Eating, and Dining

Whining about Downton Abbey

Cellar For A Lord: Downton Abbey, Part II

All Things Grape and Small, Autumn 2012

Best of The Best: California Cabs

Best of The Best: California Pinot Noir

Best of The Best: California Zinfandel

Wine Scene

Best of The Best: Vintage Champagnes 2008–09

Best of The Best: Non-Vintage Champagnes 2011

Wining and Dining at WGBH Studios

QRW Covers by Photographer Jim Scherer

Wining & Dining in Morocco

Wine Quiz: Varietal Variations

An Afternoon at Caymus

Shafer Vineyards: Treasure Trail; Wine, Love and Rock and Roll

Blending Buzz at Rutherford Ranch

QRW Wine Diary

Wines of the Quarter: Two Great Reds

Dernier Cri: What’s a Good Wine?

Style Doyenne: Profile & Book Reviews on Mireille Guiliano

Hugh Johnson Praises QRW and Publisher Richard Elia in the Boston Globe

Hear Publisher Richard Elia on NPR