Transparency in wine journalism
Overall, it feels like wine is being made more approachable with countless websites, books, and indeed, people trying to distill down what is ironically a very simple thing to make. Despite this, at the top-end there is has grown a ridiculous luxury level to wine and most likely due to the prices, it has attracted fraud and many dishonest practices. The Rudy Kurniawan saga was the most well-known to date but there have been countless others such as the collapse and now FBI investigation of the wine shop, Premier Cru in Berkeley.
I’m not sure if it’s the amounts of money trading hands or the fact that wine prices are arbitrary given that a $1,000 bottle of wine doesn’t cost 100x more to produce than a $10 bottle of wine. Or that there has become a “lifestyle” around wine and skeezy segments of society find that they want to be part of it, such as shown in the Kurniawan case.
It’s for this that I’ve been enjoying The Wine Doctor lately because he writes honestly and has put up a Disclosures posting on his website. This may seem pedantic or unnecessary but I would argue that in this day and age, it’s crucial to anyone who wants to be taken even the slightest bit seriously in terms of wine writing. Lord, even at the level of Master of Wine there have been fraudsters. I feel disclosing everything you can helps to give context and depth to someone whose opinions you’re deciding to trust in terms of wine to buy.
Inspired by Dr. Chris’s posting, I’ve included a new Disclosures page on this site. Again, this may seem over the top, but I’m often finding that a lot of people don’t know where I derive my income from and may look at me in a strange light due to this. That’s a fair thing to wonder and in the interest of transparency, I have this page and intend to update it as things change.
I hope others out there see it as worthwhile because it allows anyone with pause to fact check who you are and what your background is as far, far too many people pop out of the woodwork one day and decry themselves an “expert” in wine with either financial or personal gain in mind. Ultimately, we should arrive to a point where if no one has a page outlining this on their site, then they should be immediately suspect. Even if you’ve mentioned it in bit and pieces, you really need to have it consolidated in one single post that’s easy to find and read.
That’s my two centims on the matter. Anyone with more questions can always ask me anything.
Álvaro Palacios - L’Ermita 2016
Very light red cherry, raspberry, tea leaves, dried fennel, light touch of anise, bay leaf, dried flowers, touch of fig compote, truffle. Exceptionally light and delicate on the palate, very very fine red fruits, integrated tannins, plush with a slightly buttery, velvety aspect, very long finish.
85% Grenache 14% Carignan 1% "Others" · 15% · 1160EUR
Ancestral Wine Cellar - Khikhvi 2014
First harvest of Khikhvi. Light apricot notes, peach skin, lemon peel. Citric in the mouth, fresh, lively acidity, vibrant. Very holistic, full and deliciously good.
100% Khikhvi · 12% · 30GEL
Álvaro Palacios - Les Aubaguetes 2016
Linear plum and dark cherry notes, powdery cocoa, orange peel and blossom, raspberry at the base along with minor vanilla and dark spice touches. Delicate on the palate, light touches of dark fruit, good wealth of tannins yet held in check, medium plus acidity, very long finish. Needs much more time in the bottle.
77% Grenache 21% Carignan 1% Grenache Blanc 1% Macabeu · 14.5% · 455EUR
Petriaant Marani - Khikhvi 2015
Bruised red apple, touch of lemon peel, limestone minerality, and some white pepper notes at the back of it. High acidity and full in the mouth. Luscious, involving, elegant wine.
100% Khikhvi · 14% · 25GEL
AA Badenhorst - Secateurs Red Blend 2012
Forest bramble with ripe red fruit, touches of cherry, ripe red plum, tiny bit of prune, cumin, anise, black licorice, wet cement mineral note, underlying fig jam. Crisp medium plus acidity, medium tannins, medium plus length, medium alcohol, overall medium plus body that’s ripe and lively but super fresh and balanced at the same time. Bit of rugged wildness to it but doesn’t get out of hand. Easy to drink but with just enough underlying complexity so that it stays interesting.
56% Syrah 27% Cinsaut 6% Grenache 4% Cabernet Sauvignon 7% "Others" · 13.5% · 12EUR
Domaine Treloar - Motus 2015
Dark ruby, minor rim. Big, mighty bouquet of red cherry and other brambly forest fruit, vanilla, almond blossom, orange peel, and cocoa. Rich and full on the palate with a wealth of tannins still integrating, leading into a crunchy, lingering finish.
80% Mourvèdre 10% Syrah 10% Grenache · 14% · 14EUR
Terroir Sense Fronteres - Guix Vermell 2017
Crisp red cherry fruit, touch of spice, flecks of pepper, baking spice, compacted, wet earth. Delicate on the palate, stays fresh, surprising high wealth of tannins, long finish.
100% Grenache · 13% · 250EUR
Tchotiashvili - Khikhvi 2014
Apricot, yellow peach, orange peel, and a touch of honey. Quite complex aromatically. Orchard fruit much more prevalent in the mouth with young apricot notes. Rich and elegant, touch of astringency in the finish.
100% Khikhvi · 13.1% · 28GEL
Domaine of the Bee - Cuvée 2015
Ruby with minor garnet rim. Rich red fruits with an underpinning of ripe plum, orange peel, licorice, cocoa. Broad, round tannins with a touch of toast and sweet cocoa in a long finish. Manages to stay very light on the palate despite the higher alcohol.
50% Grenache 50% Carignan · 15% · 25EUR
Aquila del Torre - Primaluce 2015
Bruised yellow apple, bit of fig compote, chalky mineral notes, and hazelnut. Light oxidized touches that work to embellish the wine. Rich palate that carries lovely texture with the age of the wine.
100% Sauvignon Blanc · 13.5%