Chorus of Booze

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12x75 Wine BlogWhile flicking through websites today for interesting news articles that might inspire me for this blog, I got somewhat bogged down in all the Margaret Thatcher news.  Some people love her, some people hate her, and those people really loathe her, WE GET IT.  I decided to take a break from the more serious websites and went onto one of the tabloid sites to see what perpetual comedy moron Justin Bieber has been up to recently.  Evidently he’s finally apologised for upsetting all of his fans by showing up late for his own concert.  Perhaps all the booing finally got to him, who knows.  Something else caught my eye on Yahoo, it seems business magnate and serial hair criminal Donald Trump was also booed at his recent induction into the WWE hall of fame.

For those of you less familiar with WWE, it stands for World Wrestling Entertainment and it is the fake yet physically demanding sport that launched the careers of such legends as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.  The reasons for Donald Trump being inducted in the hall of fame are not that interesting but it was really more the booing aspect that I was interested in.    Thatcher.  Bieber.  Trump.  Has the whole world gone pantomime now?  If a colleague arrives back from their lunch break, should the rest of the staff express their discontent by unleashing a chorus of boos as they walk in?  Certainly it might have more impact than a verbal warning from HR.  I’ve tried it with one or two of my colleagues and while they certainly didn’t appreciate the booing, it is hard to express a high level of discontent through booing if no one else joins in.

Which takes me to today’s topic… one of my friends is a winemaker and recently received a downright vitriolic review of one of his wines from an online wine blogger that I hadn’t come across before.  Being a good-natured sort, my friend posted a link to the blog on twitter with the note ‘I suppose any publicity is good publicity!’  I was quite shocked by the review, not least because I know the wine well and it is a cracking good wine that never disappoints.

We’ve asked the question before “Do wine writers lack balls?”.  It’s true that you don’t often see a wine writer giving a bad review – so in the interest of honesty should we do as this fellow did when he reviewed my friend’s wine and give the wines we don’t rate the online equivalent of a chorus of boos?

I’m sorry, but I still don’t think so.  Where’s the joy and fulfilment in pulling apart something that the winemaker has invested time and effort and love and care into, on the basis that you didn’t enjoy it?  This fellow openly said he hated Grenache and wines with a high alcohol content, and then went to pull apart a Grenache based wine with a high alcohol content.  He said upfront he knew he wasn’t going to like it, and as he went on to list the reasons why he didn’t, I was thinking, “well, duh.”  Had I tasted something that I thought I was going to dislike, I would at least try to taste it with an open mind, and perhaps my response would be “Not for me”, but I wouldn’t give it any more of my time on that basis.

With this in mind I have put together a scale in order to help wine reviewers to better identify wines that might actually deserve a chorus of boos:

  1. Things that make us cheer out loud – eg, Britain winning gold medals at the Olympics.  A three legged puppy learning to walk again.
  2. Things that make us cheer inwardly – eg, really great wines that blow our socks off.
  3. Things that we are indifferent to that make us neither cheer nor boo either inwardly or outwardly.  There are plenty of wines that I feel this way about.
  4. Things that make us boo quietly to ourselves but not out loud – for me, this would be certain cheap Merlots that taste like Blackcurrant squash.  I don’t like them.  So I don’t drink them.
  5. Things that definitely deserve to be booed out loud – Justin Bieber, Donald Trump, other pantomime villains.

Now, you don’t have to use my scale, you can insert your own cheering/booing criteria into it if you prefer.  If a wine falls anywhere between 4-5 in my scale, I might consider booing it in the privacy of my own home.  I might consider writing a review of it on my blog admitting that I didn’t love it.  But I don’t want to use my position to tear apart wines that I don’t like in a pantomime fashion, I don’t think I would be very comfortable with that no matter how limited my influence might be.

Having made my peace with this, I went back to the internet and typed “professional wrestler turned winemaker” into a Google search to see if I could use this as a topic for a future blog.  Sadly, you’ll be waiting a while for that one though….