Winebits 280: “Value” wine, blind tasting, wine scores

? Missing the point:The Wine Curmudgeon does not like being cranky all the time. I would much rather be happy, secure in the knowledge that the wine world ?s foolishness is a thing of the past. And then I run across stuff like this, which explains why a $200 bottle of wine can be a value. So can a Ferrari, I suppose, if it ?s the previous year ?s model with low mileage. The point, of course, is that blog posts and stories like these scare the hell out of most wine drinkers, and particularly those wine drinkers who are just getting started or haven ?t really started yet. They see advice to buy $200 wine and run, in panic-stricken terror, for the soft drink aisle of the supermarket.

? The power of blind tasting: Mike Veseth at the Wine Economist talks about several recent tastings, where ?where the wines easily fooled us (or perhaps we just fooled ourselves). .. ? The point being that the tastings were done blind, and the results did not jive with what was expected. Wrote Veseth: ?Our perception of wine is sometimes less about truth and more about  context and expectations than we might want to think. That ?s not the conclusion I thought I would find when I set up this tiny experiment. ? He also writes interestingly about the power of cheap wine (in this case, Two-buck Chuck) to skew the results. This is why blind tasting is the most powerful tool the reviewer ? or any wine drinker, for that matter ? can use.

? Coffee-flavor those wine scores: W. Blake Gray, who isn ?t thrilled with wine scores but long ago made his peace with them, can offer a much more refreshing take on the subject than those of us who think scores are the spawn of the devil. He analyzed the scores that 29 California cabernet sauvignons and red blends received in a recent Wine Spectator, and found that that the wines that mentioned mocha in the tasting notes got at least 92 points; those that didn ?t didn ?t break 89. Yes, it ?s a small sample size, and so on and so forth, but telling nonetheless.

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