Vail Daily letter: Why the jab at Wine Spectator?
Vail, CO, Colorado
I write in response to Suzanne Hoffman’s recent article, “Bureaucracy from vine to table,” in Vail Daily: I’m pleased your community is interested enough in wine to justify such coverage, and Ms. Hoffman is clearly an experienced guide to a complex subject.
I was puzzled, however, by her criticism of Wine Spectator, as delivered in this otherwise thoughtful paragraph: “And with this robust market comes consumers’ quest for knowledge about the wines: country of origin, varietal, appellation, vintage, flavors and aromas delivered to the nose and tongue, Wine Spectator rating (a useless parameter, in my opinion) and so on. Sommeliers and liquor-store sales reps often are quizzed on these things before a decision is made. And rightfully so, since enjoying wine is an experience that is unlike drinking a mere liquid such as water or Coke.”
As it happens, Wine Spectator has a paid circulation of 400,000 and a readership measured by independent sources at more than 3 million people. So clearly, many wine lovers find our reviews useful. And fundamentally, we agree that consumers have a “quest for knowledge” about wine, and that is exactly what we try to supply: authoritative, credible, independent and fair information and advice about the whole world of wine.
Perhaps the fact that some of the wines Ms. Hoffman was touting in her column received less than flattering reviews in Wine Spectator (information that should have been disclosed in the story, in the interest of balance) has tarnished her opinion. On the other hand, some of her wines received outstanding scores. In any case, it seemed an ill-tempered and irrelevant editorial intrusion into an otherwise balanced and useful article.
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