Guilty; As Charged. Should I Blame Parker?

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I love movies and I hate movie reviews. I’ve always scoffed at people who rush out to see the latest “thumbs up” or avoid the “thumbs down” flick.

Perhaps that came from growing up in a small town whose newspaper had a mediocre  “movie reviewer”. Because if “Reviewer Dave” loved it, it tended to be middle-of-the-road crap. And if he hated it; I loved it. So I prefer to ignore movie reviews and draw my own conclusions.

And for that I’ve always considered myself more highly evolved.

But I have a confession to make: I am influenced by the rating systems of Parker et al.  If I’m shopping for wines I have a really hard time paying over a certain price for wines scored under 90 points. Of course that price point tends to move depending on the size of my bank account at the time. When times are tough the price point is lower. When times are great; it goes up.

But here’s the weird thing. If I’m in one of my favorite wine bars and it is recommended by a trusted sommelier I can enjoy and recommend a wine that the heavy hitters have ranked in the solid “B average” numbers.

Why does this matter?  Because there are a number of wines I’ve really enjoyed and had no problem paying the wine bar mark up because I had no idea how they were ranked.

Last night Joe and I were tasting a sample someone had sent us. I really liked it. Joe liked it but wasn’t as convinced that we should review it. Because we tend to review only the wines we unanimously find “special” which can mean a great value or a fabulous tasting wine at any price.

Today I opened up my latest copy of one of the Big 3 to find the same wine with a decent score. So I have an even greater reason to review it because some other dude validated my own perception.

That’s all well and good if I taste before I see the score. Then I have a pretty valid and unbiased review. But it also leaves out a lot of good wine I might miss if I check the score first. I’m not quite to the point where I think scores don’t matter. But I think its high time that I adhere to the same logic I use for not looking at price before I taste a sample.

We already have a number of influences that can affect our perception of a wine. Why allow Robert Parker to tell us what we like before we’ve even tasted it?

Cheers!

The WineWonkette

About Amy Corron Power

A licensed attorney, Amy is a wine-lover, foodie, photographer, political junkie and award-winning author who writes about Wine, Food, Beer & Spirits. As Managing Editor & Tasting Director for Another Wine Blog, she travels all over the world's wine regions to share her experiences with her readers and nearly 10,000 twitter fans. Amy holds certifications through the International Sommelier Guild, and is also certified, with honors, as a California Wine Appellation Specialist (CWAS). She is a member of the Guild of Sommeliers, The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas and regularly attends Houston Sommelier Association events.
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  • RobBralow

    Cheers to that. I always taste before I look at the scores. Sometimes I'll even look at the notes (after I've made my own) to see if the way others describe the wine resonate. Without any reference point at a wine shop, I will almost always ask for a recommendation. and if there is no one to help me, then scores come into play. For no other reason than the thought that someone else liked it, so maybe I will too.

  • http://www.anotherwineblog.com Houstonwino

    That's pretty much my philosophy, Rob. Generally, if I know the score of something I am tasting for the first time it either because someone told me, or I looked it up when deciding whether or not to purchase it. Otherwise, like you, if I get curious, I will look it up after tasting.