Consumer Distorts Wine
When was the last time you read a critics review of a movie, book, play, restaurant, television show or anything else for that matter that didn’t have an author’s name associated with the review? Better question is why would you read, let alone take seriously, an anonymous critique of a creative effort?
This is the problem with Consumer Reports wine reviews. They don’t list their "expert" critics.
In the latest issue Consumer Reports takes on wine, as they annually. It’s a pretty bod departure from their normal focus on Televisions, CD Players, autos and Dishwashers. The most obvious difference between reviewing wine and reviewing a dishwasher is that one can be objectively tested for it’s quality and features. The other really can’t be tested objectively. Yet, Consumer Reports lives and dies on its reputation for objective evaluations of products, yet wine reviews are anything but objective.. Is their review of wine any different than a Consumer Reports review of contemporary art? Would they ever review contemporary art? No and No.
I have to assume that the "two experts" Consumer Reports employed to pick the highest quality wines in their report have more experience than most in evaluating wines. But we don’t know for sure. They don’t name these "experts". They might as easily be the son and daughter of the editor who needed a job.
What needs to be understood is that wine reviewing is an aesthetic exercise more than anything else. It is the act of saying what appeals to you and why. A good reviewer should be able to put the object of their review in some solid historical, cultural and contemporary perspective. Yet the final judgment is personal. We learn a good deal as much about the reviewer when reading a review of a wine or film as we do the film or the wine.
I might not have brought up this subject or laid into Consumer Reports had their ratings not been so horrifically inappropriate. In creating a chart for identifying and communicating the different aromas found in the Pinot Noirs under consideration they list the following possible aromas associated with Pinot Noir:
1. Pencil Shavings
Where’s the fruit? I mean, the wine is made from fruit. Where’s the cherry, the berry, the strawberry?
Maybe I’m just in a cantankerous mood. Maybe I have respect for wine reviewers and wine publications that take seriously their responsibilities. Maybe Consumer Reports has no business reviewing wine.