Friday, January 18, 2008

The Logic of Buying Wine

Or "Why I don't use a point system"
The people that score wine know wine. They know how it is made and they really do a very good job over all. The reader wants to know if the wine he is considering is going to be good or not. But the reader really wants to know whether he should buy a particular wine or not. I have used published points to help me get started when learning about new wine regions, so don't get the idea that I think points are bad.

Check this out. Forming a decision about a wine with Boolean two valued logic (yes or no, good or bad, right or wrong) is not how our decisions are formed. Even a three valued logic doesn’t quite describe the process either. "Yes, I want Merlot", "No, I don’t want Merlot" or "Maybe I want Merlot". And being stuck in a "Maybe" never gets anything done. Once you decide, “forget Sideways, I want Merlot”, you have flipped to a Yes state. If you decide No, then no it is.

I prefer an infinite valued logic, Yes at one end, No on the other and a full spectrum in between. For instance, you have a bottle of Merlot in front of you, you read the year, determine the producer and check for back for tasting notes. From your education and experience you conclude, “This is going to be good.” (High degree of Yesness.) Or you may say, “I don’t know, but I’m going to take a chance.” (More Yesness than Noness.) Or you may say, “I’m having flounder tonight, I think it will be too fruity, where is that Sauvignon Blanc?” (A high degree of Noness.) Or you may say, “Not even at gunpoint!”

In the end, you may do as I do… "Hey Taster B, what do you think of this one?” (Lots of Yesness, but need more data.)

And that brings me to topic:
Wine scores. I was just reading an article on large wineries producing small lots to tap into a growing market. “Robert Parker, Jr. rated the Louis Martini 2003 Lot No. 1 Cabernet Sauvignon 91 points, and Martini says the micro-winery's 2004 wines have also received high scores from Parker, though Wine Spectator rated the 2003 Lot No. 1 only 82 points.” “Holy subjective wine scores, Batman!”

Yes, I like Robert Parker, Jr. Yes, I pick up a copy of the Wine Spectator when I’m in the barber shop and read it cover-to-cover and think, “Why the hell don’t we get this?” And I really enjoy reading my fellow bloggers’ postings. Some score and some don’t.

Why don’t I score even a Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down? (You spotted that is Boolean logic, didn’t you?) It’s easy. I write about the wines that I care to share with people. If I have a wine that I didn’t like, I wouldn’t want to share it with my friends, which includes you for reading through this article which is drier than an Alsace Riesling. We work hard, life is too short to drink bad wine and it is certainly too short to blog about it.

In closing, I spend all day as an engineer assigning numbers to physical universe stuff. When I get home, I just want to enjoy my wine without pulling out the meters. Speaking of meters, you should see the cool wine thermometer Taster B gave me for Christmas! I wonder how the new loft cellar is working? Let's see, 2003 Chateau Carignan 61.8 deg F. 2003 Vendemmia Barbaresco, 61.9 deg F. Bergess Napa Valley Cab, 61.9 deg F...