01438 741177         thewinesociety.com

Members' Reviews - do you use them?


This was the route by which I found salvation.


Yes that a great idea.


I think this one was particularly widely shared:

Fair play, that’s more or less how I got wind of the Wine Society. Any other word of mouth would never have reached me, as I know almost nobody else remotely as interested in wine as I am. It’s my dirty secret.


But also an innocent pleasure, surely? I also find it amazing that more people aren’t as interested in wine as me - I have on one occasion found it difficult to give away a free ticket to a wine tasting that I could no longer make.

Sometimes I think I am obsessed, but it is a happy, dirty secret!


Indeed, and thank the stars for you lot!

This is the place where I can riff away happily, full geek mode engaged, while the rest of my day is spent around people with a more normal level of interest in wine, i.e. almost none.


Well done for posting the George V review.
I laughed out loud at the bit’s about the nieces, the condom and the nettles!!
When a journalist can insert such images into one’s consciousness, they are a master of their art!!:grinning:


The late A A Gill was the master of this kind of review. I didn’t much care for his work personally, but even I have to admit that his review of L’Ami Louis had a certain dark transgressive allure.

L’Ami Louis - AA Gill


Fascinating thread. I do look at consumer reviews of wine but have to admit that I do not take a great deal of notice until I can calibrate (a) their taste compared to my own and (b) their ability to record in a fair way the characters of a wine. Both these come with a track record of multiple notes (and preferably one or two that are for wines I already know).

On press reviews I really don’t want pro reviews of bad wines (as much as I enjoy Jay Rayners reviews both good and bad - and a classic bad one is his review of Beast). They seldom have room for many wines, more and more so these days with reducing column inches given to wines, and I like pointers to wines I might like to try. Interestingly the only one I really trust wasn’t mentioned in Ewan’s post but is in a national Sunday paper.


The validity of neverending praise from reviewers is a topic not limited to wine, but I can’t see the point of the alternative. I remember sending loads of samples out every week to press when working in wine pr, in the hope of getting them featured, and assuming many more agencies were doing the same then the reviewer, with only 3 spots to fill, isn’t really going to waste one of them telling the readers which ones they hated. Besides it doesn’t benefit anyone - most people don’t look at a wine column wondering which wines they should avoid, they look to see which wines they might like to buy, so naturally the only ones reviewed will be the ones the writer really liked.

I’d be more inclined to follow praiseworthy professional reviews than ‘honest’ members ones, because I can assume they got into the column with stiff competition and came out near the top. Conversely, the member whose tastes, knowledge and circumstances are unkown tells me next to nothing, until a critical number of reviews is reached.


I think that’s right, @tom. Even so, there is on occasion something that can be extracted from such reviews.

For example, a red Burgundy may have received a low opinion from somebody if they tried it during its closed-down phase. But if the tasting note explains why it disappointed, that could be useful information, even if the reviewer has no idea what is going on.


Oops - I was on a train coming back from a gig (well that’s my excuse, anyway!). Duly edited to include David Williams.


No worries. I like his recommendations and trust his palate which is pretty well aligned with mine (I must be honest though, through the pro bono work I do for a wine magazine I do know David).


One of the nicest guys.


I think you will find Richard food critics have expense accounts that pay for their meals, I recall last year I think when Giles Coren, son of Alan who had talent, sister of Victoria who is better at poker than anything else she does, get the picture, stated he was at the limit of his expense account at a particular restaurant, though it has to be said the account is extremely generous.

And at least the restaurant critic occasionaly gets his come uppance as here…

and Ramsay also famously called Giles Coren a pompous prick, so no love lost there, perhaps the wine world could do with a bit more ‘front’ it would liven up the sometimes tedious reviews.


Good point. That’s why I prefer Andy Hayler, who does pay his own way.


Apologies I should have added this…