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When good advice goes bad

Or, why do some recommendations make a great wine go sour? Plus other wine criticism that leaves a bad taste in your mouth . . .

In January, a lean month with only three posts and no tasting notes at all, I received one piece of fanmail. With fanmail like this you don't need hatemail.

"After trying the two Cahors that you recommended on your blog, I thought that perhaps my enjoyment of wine had left me."

Cahors, which I wrote about last December, is sometimes known as the black wine. I didn't mention that at the time. Black mark!

Futhermore, when I had correspondence with the writer above, I realized that he happens to be really fond of Beaujolais and Canadian Gamays, but is adventurous enough to try out new wine regions. Again here I should have better prepared him for the dramatic change my advice carried. My bad.

Could I have really turned someone off wine entirely by making the suggestion I did? Could I actually be encouraging the disenjoyment of wine?

I guess I should've known not to go recommending Cahors to just anyone, though I think a lot of these South American bargain wine aficionados could make the switch easily if they adhere to a simple commitment to drink less vanilla-ed oak. But still I have learned an important lesson about foisting new wines on people.

I haven't given up on wine myself -- far from it. Of course, I'm still into exploring it, noting it and sharing great bottles with like-minded friends. But I think I might take step back from making recommendations on it. At least for a while. I have a bunch of notes from the last couple of months; I expect I'll eventually get to them sometime. But I might be putting them out differently or on a different schedule.

In the meantime, everything about this blog is soaking up most of my time.

2 comments:

Joe said...

Sounds like your reader was only marginally more kind than Barry was when I recommended the Bouzeron by de Villaine. I am sure that writer was being clever, and the enjoyment of wine has never left him...don't let that discourage you. Besides, I need you to write up about Raclette at Joe's!

Marcus said...

My writer was being clever I think. In a way, his exaggeration can accentuate both how much he typically trusts my advice and how little he gravitated towards Cahors on this occasion. On reflection, I don't think he meant to disparage Weingolb or wine advice in general. But it can definitely read that way. Another reading is that emphasizes the extent of his discomfort with a different style of wine.

I remember that the first Bourgeuil I tasted was so leathery and astringent I proclaimed that this could not be wine, not the produce of fruit. It was in reaction to tasting other wines, and more a statement about the power of context than about any one bottle of wine.

I was going to say something else profound but now I forget...