My Top Ten Wine Peeves

After a couple of glasses of pinot noir, these pet peeves come to mind … so consider the context.

  1. Wax bottle closures. These are the devil in disguise. They charm you with their sexy look, but the ensuing hassle when you try to open the wine negates the glamorous appearance. And who enjoys wax fragments in their wine? Haute couture with a vengeance.
  2. Overpriced wines. Winemakers claim they have to charge a lot for their wine or people won’t think it’s good (admittedly, there’s a little truth to this). I recommend equating desirability with quality, rather than price.
  3. Scores. The only scores that matter are in sporting events where the winner proves his mettle. Why is it that those who can’t make wine, score it? Be more concerned with differences and unique qualities than what is good or bad.
  4. Limited production. Since when does this equate with high quality? It usually means the production was limited by the amount of grapes the producer was allocated by a famous grower, or reduced by the amount of wine that was crappy and had to be declassified.
  5. Hard-to-get cult wines. Cult wines are of great interest to wine geeks, but others have given them disparaging titles such as “monuments to elitism” and “toys for millionaires.” Wines like Marcassin Pinot Noir (pictured) and Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon are impossible to find, absurdly priced on the secondary market, and more often sold on the auction market than consumed.
  6. Magnum depression. Wine tastes better from magnums, particularly Champagne. Magnums of wine age longer and are also celebratory. So why are they rarer than Elvis sightings? What’s the BIG deal?
  7. Heavy wine bottles. These behemoths don’t fit into wine racks, are unwieldy to pour, and they’re a snub to environmental consciousness. Their popularity is loosely based on the perception that consumers will consider the wine contained therein of higher quality and worth the higher price.
  8. Touted new labels. Would you buy a builder’s first house? Or hire a surgeon who’s done only one operation? Better to pursue a producer with a broad work of excellence.
  9. Hackneyed wine descriptors. I’ve had enough of superlatives like “great,” “classic,” “profound,” “exciting,” and “pretty.” Does anyone own a dictionary anymore?
  10. Back label BS. These labels should inform, not bore us with trite verbiage. For example, a recent chest-pounding one noted, “Our tried-and-true winemaking techniques produce wines of amazing consistency.” Instead of insulting me, please give me a description of your wine’s aroma and flavor, recommended food pairings, how it was vinified, and where it came from.

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