Do you have adblock enabled?
If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(The New Yorker)   Wine snobs are full of shiat: blind taste test shows the French likes of Clos des Mouches and Château Mouton Rothschild are barely better than a Lavallette orange from New Jersey with its subtle notes of dead mafiosi, corruption and sulfur   (newyorker.com) divider line 28
    More: Obvious, New Jersey, blind taste test, Tyler Cowen, Lavallette, Bordeaux, Billy Beane, California's Napa Valley  
•       •       •

6809 clicks; posted to Main » on 15 Jun 2012 at 8:17 PM (3 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



Voting Results (Smartest)
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


Archived thread
2012-06-15 11:52:48 PM  
2 votes:

Enemabag Jones: StoneColdAtheist: Enemabag Jones: /Now excuse me while I enjoy my $32.00 bottle of cabernet sauvignon.
Two-Buck Chuck FTW!

Sometimes the quality is good, sometimes it is closer to the cheap rockgut wines.
/Winking Owl for the record, and it has a kick on it like a mule compared to the white wines at walmart.


"closer to the cheap rockgut"? Nah...I've drank a lot of TBC, and they never go that low. For those who don't know, Chuck buys its grapes...they don't grow them. And its all blended, so any of their varietals tastes the same year after year (with very small differences).

My CSB...

I live in the foothills east of Napa, and grow a few grapes, so it's fair to say I enjoy California wines. Anyway, a few years ago I was at a wedding of my wife's cousin in Sonoma (next to Napa), and had wandered over to peruse the wine selection and chat up the sommalier when I was accosted by two rather comely 40-ish women. One of them pointed at my name tag and said, "Hi, we're from the family of the groom, too. Where are you from?"

I pointed to the hills to the east and said, "Up one of those valleys.", whereupon one of them gushed that she'd been to Napa at least a dozen times, and thought I was luckiest guy in the world to live so close by.

"Everybody has to live somewhere", I replied, making small talk and reminding myself that I'd never hear the end of it if I was rude to a relative of my wife. About then the other woman asked if I did much winery touring. I haven't in years, but allowed that I was familiar with the region, whereupon they demanded to know my favorite winery. Charles Shaw, I stated with an unarguable certainty. The sommalier smiled slightly and busied himself rearranging glasses while the two ladies furrowed their eyebrows and muttered about never having heard of it.

Not to worry, I assured them, why just last fall a Charles Shaw Chardonnay had beat out more than 120 challengers to win the Gold Medal at a prestigious wine festival, and that the wine was worth every penny. Just then my late-80's MiL came along to rescue them from my evil designs (she's the French Catholic I've told stories about here...).

After the ladies wandered off with my MiL the sommalier asked if I really lived over east of Napa and drank Two-Buck Chuck. When I assured him I did he laughed and plied me with the fancy labels from the back shelf while we talked wine. It was a perfectly crommulent evening.

/CSB
2012-06-15 08:51:31 PM  
2 votes:

kd1s: I have wines I definitely like more than others. The average price per bottle - area you ready? $10. And it varies from producer to producer year after year. Maybe the grapes weren't stressed enough, maybe the soil nutrients were a tad on the depleted side. For example Chilean wines of the 2008 to 2010 vintage rock.

And it's interesting but wine isn't really something you just drink. It goes with food. Really salty dishes comprised of chicken or fish you can't go wrong with Pinot Grigio.

For meaty dishes of pork or beef, especially those with tomato based sauces you cannot beat a Chianti.


Only thing wrong with your post is that like all the 'experts', if I put a blindfold on you, you wouldn't be able to tell red from white.
2012-06-15 08:29:07 PM  
2 votes:

Fabric_Man: You don't buy wine; you buy the label.


So.. like buying an Apple product vs anything else then.

/getting the fark out of here
2012-06-16 10:08:07 AM  
1 votes:
Bah, even when I drank, I never enjoyed the taste of any wine, except maybe sweetened wines like Manischewitz. If you remembered the first time you had hard liquor, you probably remember throwing up from the nasty taste. Alcohol simply has a bitter/sour taste that's awful and basically any liquid with alcohol tastes like crap to me--hell, 99% of the art of mixology is covering up the nasty alcohol taste.

To me, the endless arguing over whether cabernets are better than sauvignons are as pointless as arguing whether purebred poodle shiat tastes better than purebred dachshund shiat. It's all awful so you might as well chug down that bottle of MD 20/20 because it's a lot cheaper than Maison d'Fromage at $2,000 a bottle.

/pot snobbery is better, BTW
//because indicas and sativas have different amounts of different cannabinoids and therefore you actually get a buzz that's different
///even at $300/oz., skunky buds are still cheaper than wine on a per-buzz basis
2012-06-16 07:13:11 AM  
1 votes:

Benevolent Misanthrope: I still contend, though, that wine snobs are, by and large, full of schitt, and their rhapsodic descriptions of jamminess, crushed red fruit, oak, truffles, hyacinths, hay, wet leather, wet dogs, weasels, hare's belly, faded tulips, old carpet, and vintage jock straps are nothing more than an affectation.


Agreed.

I will say, though, that I have had wines that had distinct flavors other than "crushed grape".
There were two bottles that I shared with 3 friends at a nice restaurant, and we each independently came up with similar descriptions (I did the "Hmm... tell me what you think this tastes like" test); one tasted of anise (my friends came up with fennel and licorice) and the other one had a sort of black pepper thing going on. That said, I'll bet the tasting notes listed all sorts of other bullsh*t that just wasn't there, and MOST wines I've had did not exhibit anything like that sort of distinctive character (even the more expensive ones, and I've had tastes of more than a few fairly pricey wines). Another bottle I bought from BevMo had a fairly distinct red raspberry flavor about it. The funny thing is that I thought that the BevMo bottle was nearly as good as those other wines and costed less than a quarter as much, so once again -- not a lot of correlation between price and quality / character there.

However, most wine DOES just taste like wine, and the most that can be said about them are very vague descriptions; whether is sweet or dry, smooth or harsh and astringent, "bright" vs. "earthy", or whatnot, but they go waaaaaay overboard with all the "lavender with a hint of tanned leather on the finish" BS.


Z-clipped: That polyphenols exist in wine in large number and variety is scientifically proven.


Sure.


Z-clipped: They impart flavor, and sometimes combine to create extremely interesting synergies that remind us of things we've experienced before


This part is NOT scientifically proven, and I think this article exposes this idea as being far more overwrought than wine snobs like to believe.


Z-clipped: Have you ever had a bartender make you a drink that tastes exactly like something you know isn't in the glass? It's the exact same idea, but it happens naturally in wines.


Except bartenders have a whole lot more to work with than just grape juice. I just really don't think that fermented grapes can develop that wide a variety of flavors, especially not all in one glass. After cross-referencing reviews of identical wines that are described very differently by "experts", and articles such as this one, I have to say it seems to me like they really do just pull this stuff out of their arses. Or, more precisely, their previous experiences and predispositions help them taste things that aren't actually there.
2012-06-16 03:03:33 AM  
1 votes:

Z-clipped: matthew_tray: /It's one of the finest wines of Idaho.

Would you like to smell the bottlecap?

foxyshadis: That's more of an average - there are great wines at $5 and great wines at $150, but sorting through all the crap to get there is what really makes people pick something high-priced and stick with it.

Because of the huge increase in demand by US buyers over the last few decades, wine has had to adjust to our economic model which, sad to say, is mostly fad- and fashion-based. Mediocrity chases popularity which chases value. Value used to take a while to build a following, but these days, prices can jump over 200% based on one review, if enough people see it. The good stuff gets expensive fast- usually faster than the public can keep up with- because the main job of any restaurant wine buyer is to snap that stuff up long before you or I get the chance to buy it. Most of the wine economy is unfortunately steered by Americans drinking mediocre versions of whatever they're told is "good" at the moment, with no real discrimination.

foxyshadis: I've never found the whole pairing culture to be anything other than manufactured BS, though. Good wine is good no matter what you eat with it, only cheap table wine has to be masked by food.

It's not BS, it's just an incredibly broad subject that can range from totally generalized ideas, like white wine with fish, red wine with beef, to incredibly specific, mind altering kung fu attacks, where someone serves you a hand-chosen, lighter red Chateauneuf with a daube that has a lot of basil in it, and all of a sudden, holy shiat, you're tasting star anise and currents in both the food and the wine, when there isn't any anise or currents in either one.

It's really hard to get a handle on how to do this, because it takes a lot of education about food and wine, including a shiatload of specific bottle knowledge. You also have to have a palate that's developed enough to know what you're working with in the first place.

The o ...


yeah, and you can say the same thing about orange juice. The difference is people don't pretend to be experts and they're not so goddam annoying when they talk about orange juice. And they don't pretend that it takes any education to say that different types of orange juice sometimes taste different. And they don't slop it around in their mouths and spit it back out into a bowl.
2012-06-16 02:54:55 AM  
1 votes:
I learned this lesson well from a French friend a few years ago (Merci Norbert!). He recommended a $7 bottle of Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon that came in a burlap bag but it tasted like it could have easily sold for $50. I've fooled many people with it. I don't see it around in stores much now, but here's the site in case you can find it in your area: Eyzaguirre(pops like a cork)

Also, the following two studies are well worth the read:

"In 2001, Frederic Brochet, of the University of Bordeaux, conducted two separate and very mischievous experiments. In the first test, Brochet invited 57 wine experts and asked them to give their impressions of what looked like two glasses of red and white wine. The wines were actually the same white wine, one of which had been tinted red with food coloring. But that didn't stop the experts from describing the "red" wine in language typically used to describe red wines. One expert praised its "jamminess," while another enjoyed its "crushed red fruit." Not a single one noticed it was actually a white wine.

The second test Brochet conducted was even more damning. He took a middling Bordeaux and served it in two different bottles. One bottle was a fancy grand-cru. The other bottle was an ordinary vin du table. Despite the fact that they were actually being served the exact same wine, the experts gave the differently labeled bottles nearly opposite ratings. The grand cru was "agreeable, woody, complex, balanced and rounded," while the vin du table was "weak, short, light, flat and faulty". Forty experts said the wine with the fancy label was worth drinking, while only 12 said the cheap wine was."


From 'The Frontal Cortex : The Subjectivity of Wine'
2012-06-15 11:55:38 PM  
1 votes:

Z-clipped: dig420: for all the idiots still talking about the ideal price range, grapes etc; clearly, you are retarded. If you rtfa you're clearly incapable of comprehending it. This study is one of many that proves that none of that matters. Price doesn't matter. Grape doesn't matter. Frederic Brochet proved that not only does price etc not matter, experts can't even tell the difference between red and white. The premier French experts, who you are most assuredly NOT more expert than.

So just stop. What is so hard to understand here? Stop giving wine advice or your cute little stories about how you get really good wine at a deceptively low price. It doesn't matter. Once you get above the level of mad dog, YOU CANNOT TELL the difference. It all comes down to what personally tastes good to you, and in no case does wine taste better than well made koolaid to begin with.

You're wrong. Nothing in the article offers definitive proof of this thesis, no matter how much you might want it to be true.

Bottle price is by no means the only, or even the best, indicator of the vague and generalized notion of "quality" that people in these threads seem so obsessed with, but the idea that no one can distinguish qualitative differences in wines is absurd.

The best analogy to wine I can think of is music. Music is subjectively experienced, but that doesn't mean there's no such thing as Good vs. Bad music. Some is well-executed, some is not. Some is played to the right audience, some is not. Some is an honest interpretation of the composer's intent, some is not. Sometimes, you know a pop song is complete crap, but you like it anyway for one reason or another.


No. Anyone who wants to sit around and tell me how I simply don't appreciate the sonic euphoria that is Rebecca Black because I haven't developed the audio palate for it is full of shiat, PERIOD. As is anyone who says they can tell great wine from bad or red wine from white, for that matter.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/02/opinion/02dolnick.html

"In 2002, for instance, a French wine researcher named Frédéric Brochet gave 54 experts an array of red wines to evaluate. Some of the glasses contained white wine that Mr. Brochet had doctored to look red, by adding a tasteless, odorless additive. Not a single taster noticed the switch.

"About 2 or 3 percent of people detect the white wine flavor," Mr. Brochet said, "but invariably they have little experience of wine culture. Connoisseurs tend to fail to do so. The more training they have, the more mistakes they make because they are influenced by the color of the wine.""

I know Homer can't read or google, but some of the rest of you might like this little snippet.
2012-06-15 11:16:47 PM  
1 votes:

dig420: oh sure, YOU can, because those 50 or so globally acknowledged experts Brochet used were clearly all charlatans, and the mix of French and American wine experts used by Spurrier at Princeton all walked in wearing clown shoes. However, it is SO OBVIOUS that YOU are the real thing!

Maybe you should send Brochet or Spurrier an email explaining their mistake?


Do gou have any citations for this? Maybe google is failing me, but I can only find two Brochet experiments, and none of them involve blind tasters not being able to tell red from white, and I can find nothing about how people cant tell the difference between grape vareitals. also drom what i read it was less "globally renowned experts" and more "wine study undergraduate students." it seems like for both the Brochet experiments it was all about how visual expecations can alter our perceptions and less about actual taste differences as you assert.

Whats interesting and Ironic is that as you start to embellish what you percieved the results of these studies to be because of your pre-concieced notions, you are actually exactly as guilty of the behavior that you are so intent on deriding.

You are what you hate.
2012-06-15 11:04:46 PM  
1 votes:

Avery614: Meez: Wine in general in the 70s was crap , no real governing or regulations, American wine was just as crap as French or Italian. The art of winemaking had slipped from previous generations and it was all about profit. Do the same test today and
it would fail miserably , the standards are so strict that an American wine stands out like an American tourist, fat bloated loud obnoxious


In the article they just barely beat NJ recently........That has to be like a pee-wee football team giving the Green Bay Packers a run for their money.


Wine in the US is made completely differently from wine in France. There is enormous variation from vintage to vintage in most of Europe because they almost all grow biodynamically. They don't, for the most part, use tricks like malolactic fermentation.

Almost no wines in the US are completely estate grown. Everybody trades juice and fruit, because they are allowed to. French vintners are not, by nature of the classification system there. American wines are blended for consistency, French are blended for character and style.

The article made no mention of what vintages, or level of quality they were comparing in the tasting. Yes, Mouton, Latour, and the like are ridiculously overpriced, but quality in wine is not the giant myth many laypeople would like to believe it is. It's just much more complicated than "wine x is better than wine y".

In short, saying "New Jersey beat France" in a wine tasting is complete nonsense. It's like saying that because a cricket batsman in Suffolk scored 300 runs in 2009, and Barry Bonds only scored 129, England beat the US in baseball.
2012-06-15 10:56:40 PM  
1 votes:

The Homer Tax: dig420: for all the idiots still talking about the ideal price range, grapes etc; clearly, you are retarded. If you rtfa you're clearly incapable of comprehending it. This study is one of many that proves that none of that matters. Price doesn't matter. Grape doesn't matter. Frederic Brochet proved that not only does price etc not matter, experts can't even tell the difference between red and white. The premier French experts, who you are most assuredly NOT more expert than.

So just stop. What is so hard to understand here? Stop giving wine advice or your cute little stories about how you get really good wine at a deceptively low price. It doesn't matter. Once you get above the level of mad dog, YOU CANNOT TELL the difference. It all comes down to what personally tastes good to you, and in no case does wine taste better than well made koolaid to begin with.

Why do you care so much?

Youre more annoying than the "wine snobs" you hate so much.

Let people like what they farking like and MYOB.


No. I may be annoying, but I'm nowhere near as annoying as wine snobs. I really can't think of anything more annoying than listening to someone use uber pretentious language about an uber pretentious subject AFTER it's been proven beyond a doubt that all they're doing is yanking their own crank and playacting. So allow me to annoy you even more: if you're sitting around talking about the 'jamminess' of some wonderful bordeaux, you are a dick with no sense of the absurd or any type of humility. There is something wrong with your personality. You are pretending to know and experience things you don't know and can't experience, and the whole time you're doing it you're looking around to see how many people appreciate your refined, exquisite sensibilities. And I hate you.
2012-06-15 10:38:11 PM  
1 votes:
for all the idiots still talking about the ideal price range, grapes etc; clearly, you are retarded. If you rtfa you're clearly incapable of comprehending it. This study is one of many that proves that none of that matters. Price doesn't matter. Grape doesn't matter. Frederic Brochet proved that not only does price etc not matter, experts can't even tell the difference between red and white. The premier French experts, who you are most assuredly NOT more expert than.

So just stop. What is so hard to understand here? Stop giving wine advice or your cute little stories about how you get really good wine at a deceptively low price. It doesn't matter. Once you get above the level of mad dog, YOU CANNOT TELL the difference. It all comes down to what personally tastes good to you, and in no case does wine taste better than well made koolaid to begin with.
2012-06-15 10:26:12 PM  
1 votes:
My (red) wine selection process:

while (bevMo5CentSale == true) {
 Grab a few bottles of the ones I like.
 Try a few others in the < $10 price range.
 Drink some.
 Too bitter or acidic? Wait 10 minutes and try again.
 Still? Drink anyway, but do not buy again.
 Headache in the morning? do not buy again.
}
2012-06-15 10:11:12 PM  
1 votes:
In all seriousness though I've drank the nastiest cheapo wine up to ridiculously expensive vintages. For the most part the more expensive stuff tastes better... but not so much better that it's worth the insane price jumps.

$15 will get you a decent bottle of GOOD wine that drinks well. You start spending more than that and it MAY taste just a LITTLE better but you are generally getting ripped off.

It's just crushed grapes after all.

Buying vintages as an investment is a different topic altogether.
2012-06-15 10:09:10 PM  
1 votes:
And stories like this are why Wine counterfeiting is such a huge problem in Asia most acutely but worldwide. Take a good bottle, put cheap wine in it, and it magically will be worth the good wine price because everyone thinks it is based on the label. There is no good way to tell the difference (unless they do something asinine like put a white in a red bottle) so its easy money. Just get what tastes good to you and screw the labels and costs. If 2 buck chuck is your thing, more power too you.
2012-06-15 10:04:23 PM  
1 votes:
There was an interesting piece a few years back that over the years wines have changed to get good scores in the rating system that's used. Problem is, it's the rating system of one person who insists that his preferences are the proper ones. And yeah he's a major d-bag.
2012-06-15 09:02:03 PM  
1 votes:

sid2112: [images.zap2it.com image 432x288]

Approves.


Are that a hint of...ammonia?
2012-06-15 08:53:20 PM  
1 votes:
This is why I buy the super cheap locally produced vodka. It's as good or better than the stuff that costs twice as much. I mean it's just alcohol and water, dammit.
2012-06-15 08:50:54 PM  
1 votes:
Black Stump Bordeaux is rightly praised as a peppermint flavored Burgundy, whilst a good Sydney Syrup can rank with any of the world's best sugary wines.
2012-06-15 08:46:02 PM  
1 votes:
I work in the wine industry.

This is an open secret. The reason people are willing to pay $1,000 for a bottle of Latour (in a "bad year." Latour in a "good year" is really, really expensive.) is basically because "the book says that Latour is one of the best, so the best are costly." Latour has history, they have a beautiful chateau... but I can't drink those. The reason a Bordeaux blend from New Jersey barely sells for $35 is because nobody thinks of New Jersey when they think of wine. I mean... it's freakin' Jersey!

The secret to finding a good wine for not a ton of money -- look for where people are looking at for good wine (France, Napa, etc). Eliminate those. Then look at what's left. Ask "what areas among those that are left grow lots of the type of wine I'm looking for?" and keep those. Then buy within your budget from what's left. That results in you buying sparkling wines from South Africa (Graham Beck at $17 trumps Veuve Cliquot at $40 IMNSHO), red blends from Argentina (Flichman Dedicado FTW at under $30!), Aussie Chardonnay from Padathaway, etc.
2012-06-15 08:44:09 PM  
1 votes:
I so enjoy posting links to this and all the other blind tastings that show the wine industry is complete BS to the wannabe wine snobs on salon or the huffpo. Not that it ever changes their way of thinking at all, but I do enjoy it.
2012-06-15 08:37:37 PM  
1 votes:
What can we learn from these tests? First, that tasting wine is really hard, even for experts.

That the notion of educated and refined palates for wine-tasting is pretty much a farce?
2012-06-15 08:34:11 PM  
1 votes:

Enemabag Jones: Before we all start talking shiat about wine snobs, are beer snobs any better these days?


Depends on the snob really. Most are just pretentious douche bags.
2012-06-15 08:34:03 PM  
1 votes:
who found that almost of all the wines were "statistically undistinguishable" from each other.

Did you mean: indistinguishable?
2012-06-15 08:29:15 PM  
1 votes:
Before we all start talking shiat about wine snobs, are beer snobs any better these days?
2012-06-15 08:24:47 PM  
1 votes:
Just like all beer tastes the same.
2012-06-15 08:22:28 PM  
1 votes:
You don't buy wine; you buy the label.
2012-06-15 08:21:52 PM  
1 votes:
Whine?

I like Sangrias...

;)
 
Displayed 28 of 28 comments

View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


This thread is archived, and closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »
Advertisement
On Twitter






In Other Media


  1. Links are submitted by members of the Fark community.

  2. When community members submit a link, they also write a custom headline for the story.

  3. Other Farkers comment on the links. This is the number of comments. Click here to read them.

  4. Click here to submit a link.

Report