Another oaky, buttery Chardonnay (a negative review)

This summer, when I asked “Should wine bloggers write about wines they don’t like?” the subsequent dialog and debate led to a lot of soul searching at casa Parzen.

In one of the threads that grew in the wake of a follow-up post, Eric the Red — the Solomon of wine writing and blogging in my view — wrote that:

    As for saying negative things, reporters, critics and bloggers cannot ignore them. Yes, in my wine panel columns we list our 10 favorite wines. But I always address problems that we found in the wines, even if I don’t go through them bottle by bottle. And I generally do mention particular bottles if they are well known and highly regarded.

I took his guidance to heart: yesterday, over at the Houston Press, I posted about a “well known and highly regarded” wine that made me gag (literally).

Of course, I couldn’t and didn’t say gag but I’ve taken the leap into negativity.

Snowcone, a wine blogger based in Houston, commented:

    Confession: I hate oaked Chardonnay. There are one or two that occasionally strike my fancy, but I look for unoaked wherever I go. (There’s a great one from Knapp Winery–in the FLX [Finger Lakes], natch!) My husband loves the stick o’butter/2×4 variety, and it’s the only place where our wine palates diverge.

Click here for the post. Thanks for reading!

9 thoughts on “Another oaky, buttery Chardonnay (a negative review)

  1. Interestingly, I read this post just after re-reading Emerson’s “Self-Reliance.” Everyone should know themselves. Since I’m not so good about knowing myself, let me help (?) you.

    Jeremy, you’re a genius of the positive and sing crystalline in the enthusiastic key, but your voice assumes a warbly falsetto in the negative note. Don’t be swayed by someone else’s notion of what a critic should be. Careful readers understand that if you praise only “x”, then “y” probably isn’t something you like, even if you don’t articulate that. There are critics aplenty who attack New World-style wine. Your psychic energy is far better spent elsewhere, I believe.

  2. Jar,
    Funny, I was just about to make the same point as bags. I remember your distinct advice over lunch at K&Z in Houston about being careful with the negative. I tend to believe your audience looks to you for inspiration, joy, and the moments of beautiful reflection you share so honestly and vividly.
    I have taken your advice and now believe my writing to be more focused on the things that bring joy to the reader and me. While I certainly am no averse to use of the negative as I tend to find much humor there, I just love DoBianchi for the great joy and info it brings me each day. I love your stuff and your experience teaches me each day.

  3. Bags and Bliss, thanks for the kind words and the support. You guys have my number: there’s really no place for this stuff over here at Do Bianchi. Strangely enough, they love it over at the Houston Press.

    Nosce te ipsum, right?

    Thanks so much for the time and the support here… they mean a lot…

  4. I agree with the previous comments, as a reader I prefer reading positive energy and enthusiasm for something that you like.

    Maybe you might say “I tasted this wine and I didn’t like it”, if you want to advise your readers not to waste their money in buying. But I think it should be the borderline, nothing more than this.

    I don’t like when bloggers say “I hate this wine”, “it’s bad, it’s awful”. I read opinions with great pleasure, I am annoyed from definitive and final judgement.
    It could be legitimate, but anyway it’s not adding any kind of positive value.
    Not your style, I would like to add.

  5. Great review Jeremy, I went over and read it. You are allowed to write about wines you don’t like, it’s your blog. Your strategy is fair, you called out the wine making style and the over manipulated approach to California Chardonnays.
    Now, where else did I hear that La Gioconda was indeed actually a man…

  6. I’m still conflicted about the whole negativity thing and I appreciate everyone’s comments here. Over at the Houston Press, they love the snarky stuff… but it doesn’t feel right here… But, then again, we’ve been tasting so many different kinds of wines for my “column” for the Houston Press… some of them really piss me off! ;)

    Seriously, thanks so much for all the comments and support here…

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