This famous saying ”there are no great wines, only great bottles of wine” becomes more profound each time I consider it. Not only in the way that raises concerns about bottle variation, but in the way that acknowledges the variables which lead us to remember one wine over another. It gives significance to the subjectivity of any wine experience, and subsequently the subjectivity of how we communicate about wine; and how the wine industry communicates with us.
I’ve always been fascinated about the ways in which consumers connect to the wine industry, and in the last couple of years the rise and rise of wine blogs has simultaneously confused, and impressed the hell out of me. Wine is obviously a difficult subject, given its sensory nature – so when I say confused, I mean that the drier, critical, technical style of wine writing is something I find difficult to connect with. The classic ”red fruits, medium tannin and lingering finish” tasting note is technically appropriate, but how many of us drink wine to technically engage with it? For me personally, I need more padding around the technical notes: the character, the stories, the origin, the food and the occasion are all important to me.
So I wanted to try and shed some light on some great people who are writing great wine blogs which take wine writing to the next level. So here are my top handful of wine blogs – each very different but all wonderful in their own right:
Andrea Frost writes about wine on her New Ruby Press site, but not as you know it. Here there are beautiful stories about wine culture, people and producers. Andrea is incredibly talented, humble and has a sense of whimsy that personally I think is quite inspiring. I’m not her only fan either – Hardie Grant has just published Andrea’s first book Through A Sparkling Glass: An A-Z of the Wonderland of Wine, which is a fine tribute to the wine world seen through a different colored lens than most.
For short-and-sweet bursts covering all kinds of things, Pete Leckie’s Like This Blog That is is part entertainment, part educational, part tasting note with a few music/band/gig posts thrown in for good measure. Pete is a full time engineer who moonlights as a personal wine buyer – solving your first world wine problems with neatly wrapped, home delivered, delicious solutions. Pete is a talented writer and seems to answer all those questions you keep forgetting to ask, with sensible explanations.
For wine reviews without a points scale, sales pitch or press release – there are some great options. The key here is independent writers – who are still given samples from producers but are not in anyones pocket. The lovely Krystina Menegazzo writes under her La Donna Del Vino guise – reviewing a nimble selection of wines, telling some great stories and being in general quite charming. Also in this category is Max Allen, Wine Without BS, Wine Will Eat Itself and GenXY Wines – which may be a little dense for some, but for those who love the details, these are the top independent review based sites around.
For a little more technical focus, and a more international flavour, Vino Freakism is a super sleek and sexy blog focused on authentic wines and the people behind them. No points here either but Dave has one hell of a palate and a knack or doing serious things not-too-seriously. He gets to travel the world tasting and reviewing the best wines on the planet – lucky he’s so likeable otherwise we’d probably all ignore him.
I’m always interested to hear what your favourite sites are so jump onto the facebook page and leave a comment.