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.


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...