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A taste of Tuscany
Fruit of the Vine - An Extraordinary Blessing!
Six Things You Need to Know About Kosher Wine
Maurie’s Rating System
Cover Art
A Wine Critic
Billionaires Vinegar
Maurie's Chemistry Lesson
What makes wine kosher?
Veblin Goods in Wine and Whiskey.
Drip Irrigation
In the beginning, there was God. God was the founder.
Notes from 9/11
Wine and Health
Kosher Wineries in Israel
Wine and Cheese Pairing Chart
Kosher Wine Pasteurization and Mevushal
Winery Profiles
A Spirited Trip to Scotland
Food Paring


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A Wine Critic



I prefer to see criticism as an opportunity for feedback and growth rather than ridicule, pretense or scorn. I think that is where much wine snobbery originates, or other snobbery for that matter. It is another one of those metaphors that make wine so interesting in that you can learn behaviors from which we can grow in other areas of our lives. Also I think that discovery is part of the adventure. I am much more interested in identifying and celebrating those wines that present outstanding value. I get real naschas when I can find a wine that is twice as good at half the price. And they are out there.

I understand that “feedback” and “ridicule” are both polar opposite variations of “criticism” which is essential for growth and relationship building. Few people respond well to ridicule. It is not generally offered with the intent to be constructive. Just imagine if we could temper the judgment we want for others with a bit of the mercy we want for ourselves. It is far simpler to condemn or complain but not nearly as useful.

There is a Talmudic wisdom that states: Who is wise? He who seeks criticism. And we know how to do it. Was it good for you? What did you think? Did you like it? We spend billions of dollars every year to get feedback. We conduct focus groups, do surveys as solicit advise, reaction, and evaluation when want to improve, focus or refine our products or services.

I will likely never cease to be astonished at how judgmental one needs to be in order to judge another as judgmental. We should rather focus on ideas or behaviors as good or bad, not people. "Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people." - Eleanor Roosevelt

What a different world we could have we could somehow replace our inclination to blame for the purpose of fault and penalty with an analysis of cause for the purpose of remedy and improvement. Blame is regressive. Cause is progressive. That of course, is my bias for a preference in the Science of Management showing. It is so much more an objective process.

I should mention that I don’t put quite as much emphasis on the scoring of wine as some others do. There are people and organizations that excel in that activity as well as sources for in depth reviews of individual wines. I prefer to see wine appreciation as a personal experience that is enhanced by a sophisticated sensory ability to perceive the attributes we can taste and develop a fragrance memory to appreciate the nuanced notes produced by the naturally occurring volatile organic compounds that evaporate from the surface. The power of suggestion has been shown to be a huge influence here. We look to see and largely succeed in perceiving what we expect to sense.

I use a simplified rating system that consists of only four rating scores and is based on the 100 point system where an 8 is roughly an 80 and 9 is roughly equivalent to a 90. I also use 8+ and 9+. So it is basically: good, very good, excellent and really outstanding; I describe this in more detail elsewhere under "Maurie's Rating System" but I do not rate anything lower than 8. I have no interest in being pejorative, scornful or insulting. There is an enormous personal preference component in play. I have no doubt there are wines I consider mediocre that others would like and I firmly believe in a guiding principal that: “Good wine is wine you like”.

Which wine is better is often like which car is better or which dog is better. The answer is: It depends. It begs the classic cultural preference to answer a question with a question. For what purpose?

When I review a restaurant I want to influence a set of expectations so prospective diners can be prepared and make an informed decision. If there are factors that might predict disappointment there is opportunity to improve.

Here is an inconvenient truth: without problems there are no opportunities.