Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Looking for affirmation from critics can be infuriating


Last Friday, the new erobertparker issue was released. I quickly scanned through it,as this part of my job. I had ups and downs throughout the issue. Some reviews I agreed with, some I disagreed with, and some just confused me. But I actually had an epiphany reading through these. Frankly, I may be slow to figure this out, the reason why we're all over critics-because they don't automatically affirm what we think we know.
When we scan the reviews in Spectator, or Parker, we already have a predisposed opinion about many wines. Of these wines, we have taken the time to determine how we feel about them, sometimes our bias is thrown because we have skin in the game i.e.: money or income. Sometimes it's simply because we have developed an affinity for a producer. When we see a review that doesn't go along with what we think they should be, it's tremendously frustrating.
Think about when one of the wines you love gets a great review. You all of a sudden feel redeemed. You feel like you picked out this diamond in the rough before anyone could discover. It's like you're frickin' Magellan. Feels awesome. What about when you taste a wines that you've never had before that one of the rags had dropped a 94 on? You're hypercritical, unless of course it winds up in your portfolio and you get to sell it.
Ultimately, we're all human. Try not to let your bias (you do have one whether you know it or not) get in the way. The reality is a review is just one person's attempted unbiased opinion (James Laube aside). In most cases, if this was a jury, you wouldn't make the cut, you have too much prejudice about the matter. If you really want to bag on the critics, take the truly biased ones to task first.

Isn't there some sort of line about judging not lest ye be judged? Yeah, this applies.

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