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"A Vine Romance," by Joanna Simon


ulysses
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I went to a Spanish wine tasting along with about 150 others at the Madison hotel last Saturday evening. I tasted about 100 reds in a two hour period of time. For the first 90 minutes I swallowed very little, doing my best to spit out as much as possible. In the last 30 minutes I had probably narrowed my choices down to 8 or 10 wines, then 4 or 5 with these last being swallowed.

I was reasonably loaded when I left.

As I type this, because I bought futures, I have no confirmation that all four of the wines that I bought a case each of where, in fact, my best choices. Of the 96 that I did not buy I am fairly certain that at least 50 of them were not as good for the price and "for my taste" with the result that my judgment was accurate for them. Still, I am certain that I made some mistakes.

Nobody went out of business because of a mistake of mine, nobody made a fortune because of a mistake of mine. I do feel that I identified several very good wines for the money or for my purposes. But there were probably a number of wines equally worthy that for whatever reason I did not recognize.

As much as I am interested in Robert Parker's opinions I wonder if he, at times, feels the way that I did a week after a massive tasting. As much as I trust my own judgment and taste I am still not infallible. I believe that many could, within reason, pick out their favorite wines as I did. But to assign a score to each of the 100+ wines based only on several tastes which are spit out is a stretch for me. I use Parker and the Wine Spectator as a "guide" just as a trusted sommelier or wine consultant or salesman. I am certain that the evolution of his power has been a result of his politics as well as his taste. In fact I am certain that the former in combination with timing and luck played the greatest roles.

For what it's worth: 2004 Clos Figueras ($51) and 2004 Font de la Figuera ($22) were each outstanding at their price points as was 2004 Leva Daniel ($26). Dollar for dollar the wine of the event, for me, was 2003 Tinto Pesquera, already superior to any other Pesquera that I've ever tasted. This is a $22 future which drank like a $60+ wine. My priority was a wine or two in the $20-25 range and in the $50 and under range (as futures). Several wines ranged to $100+ per bottle but I did not consider them. The vast majority fit into the above two price points.

Edited by Joe H
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