Evaluating Wine – Food Friendly vs. Points, etc.

The place for all things wine, focused on serious wine discussions.

Moderators: Jenise, David M. Bueker, Robin Garr

Evaluating Wine – Food Friendly vs. Points, etc.

Postby Howie Hart » Tue Sep 26, 2006 9:35 am

There are a few threads open right now discussing points, Parker, etc. Some things about these discussions somehow seem to get lost. One in particular seems to be the winemaker’s goal in producing table wine. A winemaker has a choice in how the wine is made, balancing many variables. Producers could make table wines with any of the following objectives:
    - To adhere to a traditional style consistent with what has been produced in the past. This could include anything from Lafite to Gallo “Chablis”. What the customer expects, so to speak.
    - To make wines that are meant to stand on their own. This could include crafting a product for the purpose of impressing tasters and judges; chasing “points” or medals, but not necessarily.
    - To make wines that best pair up with foods.
The above are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Whenever wines are compared or rated, I believe one should try to discern the winemaker’s objective. The term “food friendly” is a term that is used in many TNs. It seems to me that many of the food friendly wines do not fare well when it comes to points and medals. I believe this is because wines are generally judged in the absence of food. A food friendly wine may have less alcohol, be dryer (less RS), have more acidity and perhaps more tannins. When tasted on their own, without food, such wines, while being sound, might not seem as good as wines made to stand on their own, but with food, enhace the entire meal or dish. Higher alcohol creates more aromatics in the glass, thus more bouquet. On their own, softer wines, with less acidity and more sweetness tend to taste better.
This, I believe, is one of the main reasons many of the experienced WLDGers here tend to minimize the emphasis on “Points”.
User avatar
Howie Hart
The Hart of Buffalo
 
Posts: 5944
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 5:13 pm
Location: Niagara Falls, NY

Re: Evaluating Wine – Food Friendly vs. Points, etc.

Postby Dave Erickson » Tue Sep 26, 2006 12:07 pm

You raise a most important point, which I would like to expand upon: No point system makes allowances for context. Wine is a sensory experience, and therefore subject to the sensory environment within which it is enjoyed. I'm sure that were I to taste that wonderful bottle of Pigato that I had with the bowl of baby octopus in the little dockside joint in Portofino now, it would not have the same impact as it did in context. Parker and his ilk never touch this issue.

And you're right, "food-friendly" wines don't get big points, and shouldn't get big points, because they are there in a supporting role--as an aid to the enjoyment of food.

Which leads to what some clever fellow at Decanter Magazine calls the distinction between wines drunk standing up and wines drunk sitting down. If I'm having a nice evening meal at home with something delicious my wife whipped up out of the fridge and her fervid imagination, I don't want to drink something big and showy; it would overly intrude on the blissful domestic experience. That's why I like so many middling Cote du Provence wines; they taste good, they don't show off, they get the job done. And they're still interesting--they're not factory wines.
User avatar
Dave Erickson
Wine guru
 
Posts: 832
Joined: Tue Jun 20, 2006 5:31 pm
Location: Asheville, NC

Re: Evaluating Wine – Food Friendly vs. Points, etc.

Postby James Roscoe » Tue Sep 26, 2006 12:11 pm

What about wines drunk lying down? I've had a few champagnes..... Oh, I keep forgetting, this is not that kind of forum.
.....we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. A. Lincoln
James Roscoe
Chat Prince
 
Posts: 10484
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 7:43 pm
Location: D.C. Metro Area - Maryland

Re: Evaluating Wine – Food Friendly vs. Points, etc.

Postby Dave Erickson » Tue Sep 26, 2006 12:12 pm

James Roscoe wrote:What about wines drunk lying down? I've had a few champagnes..... Oh, I keep forgetting, this is not that kind of forum.


Awww...tease! :D
User avatar
Dave Erickson
Wine guru
 
Posts: 832
Joined: Tue Jun 20, 2006 5:31 pm
Location: Asheville, NC

Re: Evaluating Wine – Food Friendly vs. Points, etc.

Postby Alejandro Audisio » Tue Sep 26, 2006 1:47 pm

Great points raised, Howie.

I cant count how many times I ask about food when Im asked to recommend a wine. Ratings and points are just one tool that comes in handy when deciding what wine to buy. Its also very interesting to see how opinions around a wine tasting table change after we bring out the finger food.
User avatar
Alejandro Audisio
Ultra geek
 
Posts: 419
Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2006 12:03 pm
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Re: Evaluating Wine – Food Friendly vs. Points, etc.

Postby Howie Hart » Tue Sep 26, 2006 2:12 pm

Dave Erickson wrote:...."food-friendly" wines don't get big points, and shouldn't get big points, because they are there in a supporting role--as an aid to the enjoyment of food.

Good point. This does, of course, lead us back to "Pairings". Sometimes the wine should be a complement to the food, if the dish is the primary focus. Sometimes the the opposite is the case, where the wine is showcased and the food is the complement. Does one choose the wine based on the dish or choose the menu to support the wine? In case of the latter, I would tend to choose simple fare.
User avatar
Howie Hart
The Hart of Buffalo
 
Posts: 5944
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 5:13 pm
Location: Niagara Falls, NY

Re: Evaluating Wine – Food Friendly vs. Points, etc.

Postby DebA » Tue Sep 26, 2006 2:18 pm

James Roscoe wrote:What about wines drunk lying down? I've had a few champagnes..... Oh, I keep forgetting, this is not that kind of forum.


LOL! James, and I mean this in the nicest way, you are a bit of a scamp! :cool:
User avatar
DebA
Ultra geek
 
Posts: 246
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2006 12:11 pm
Location: N. of the equator

Re: Evaluating Wine – Food Friendly vs. Points, etc.

Postby Paul B. » Tue Sep 26, 2006 3:00 pm

Howie Hart wrote:This, I believe, is one of the main reasons many of the experienced WLDGers here tend to minimize the emphasis on “Points”.

Howie, I think that you are right.

I also have a few reasons of my own as to why numerical ratings of wine are something I completely ignore. The main one, of course, is that neither taste nor enjoyment are universally quantifiable. We've all heard the cliché of beauty being in the eye of the beholder ... People experience things differently, and any numerical scale attempting to measure enjoyment in units is not something that can be taken as universally applicable. Such a measurement system, being wholly subjective, may find use among like-minded folks, but never can it claim the status of absolute truth.

Besides - wine to me is not about competition or quantification. I like to see wine as a subject that is as nuanced and complex as the reactions it provokes on the mind and soul.
Hybrid Wines Online:
http://hybridwines.blogspot.ca
User avatar
Paul B.
Hybrid Guru
 
Posts: 2024
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:38 am
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: Evaluating Wine – Food Friendly vs. Points, etc.

Postby Oliver McCrum » Tue Sep 26, 2006 4:00 pm

Howie,

Agree completely.

Another way to look at this it the 'empty bottle' test; the wine that comes first in a tasting is often not the one that gets emptied first if there's food on the table afterwards.

The 'points' model is mistaken, IMO.
Oliver
Oliver McCrum Wines
Oliver McCrum
Wine guru
 
Posts: 998
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 2:08 am
Location: Oakland, CA; Cigliè, Piedmont

Re: Evaluating Wine – Food Friendly vs. Points, etc.

Postby wrcstl » Tue Sep 26, 2006 5:27 pm

IN MY HOUSE the issue is what wine goes with the food. We drink wine most every night but it is always with food or while preparing the food. I used to go to a lot of tastings but that got tiring. You learn to know what you like and finaly give up on the wines you just don't understand. Last week we had a spicey mango salsa with grilled fish and my wife gives me "fill in the blank" for the '03 village Chablis not going well with the food. She said, "why didn't you open the NZ riesling we had last week, it would have been much better". It's a tough wine life at our house and the closest we come to wine with no food may be a rose on a hot summer evening outside before dinner. Points are absolutely meaningless to me and I don't even look at them. Very good point though, reviewers taste and rate the wines, not if they will compliment food.
Walt
User avatar
wrcstl
Wine guru
 
Posts: 886
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 3:20 pm
Location: St. Louis

Re: Evaluating Wine – Food Friendly vs. Points, etc.

Postby Thomas » Tue Sep 26, 2006 5:42 pm

Nothing anyone says or writes about any particular wine can do anything to make a meal better or worse. In this, there is nothing so good as on the job training.

To me, wine's calling is to make a meal complete. I suppose the day I start assigning points to food is the day I'll start assigning points to wine. Until that day arrives, however, I'd rather just enjoy what I like and discard what I don't like, on my very own.
Thomas
Senior Flamethrower
 
Posts: 3574
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 5:23 pm

Re: Evaluating Wine – Food Friendly vs. Points, etc.

Postby Victorwine » Wed Sep 27, 2006 11:10 pm

Absolutely, a still red or white table wine is at their best when accompanied with food and formal tasting does not do them justice.

Salute
User avatar
Victorwine
Wine guru
 
Posts: 1670
Joined: Thu May 18, 2006 10:51 pm


Return to The Wine Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests