Paul Gregutt, The Passive Aggressive Nature of the Egotistical Wine Critic.
When I read Paul Gregutt’s wine blog piece to read it click here entitled,“why making wine is making me a better critic” my interest was piqued. Could it be? Can one of those typically pompous wine critics who proclaim to know more than anyone else who happens to drink wine actually have an epiphany?
Don’t hold your breath. The title is only one of those 6 O’Clock News teasers to get you to watch when after waiting until the end of the program you find out there wasn’t a story there in the first place. Mr. Gregutt’s idea of making wine is going to a commercial winery and performing blending trials. This seems to be his new found deep understanding of making wine. If he wasn’t so serious about it, the entire affair could be a satirical Saturday Night Live routine. He waxes on about his blends and actually considers making a real acid adjustment. Let the Heavens Open! The Critic performing a titration or would the lab hand the new winemaker the results? We are all mesmerized , Not, when reading about his challenge of having 14 barrels of finished wine presented to him to come to a decision about his wine. We are impressed at the profundity of his blending awareness skills when he proclaims, “You just dive in at that point, and make a blend. And another and another and another. Happily, a wine started to take shape. The blending became more subtle. Add a couple more percentages of this, take away a couple of that. Try and try and try.” This is hysterical, this is how you make wine blends with 14 barrels.
But with all this blending and toiling over subtle changes to the blends only a Wine Critic could discern, the following words of wisdom we can all carry with us from now on due to Gregutt’s discovery is… “Another lesson – wine making is a bit like movie making. There is a whole lot of hurry up and wait.” A lesson? From a guy who on a regular basis tells others a wine needs to lay down for another few years?
But then the Critic throws winemakers a bone and says , “But I promise you, I am approaching them with more appreciation, heightened sensitivity, and a much broader understanding of all that goes into making any wine before it is released. I have always been respectful of the talent required to make good wine. Now more than ever.” Wow you might get duped into thinking there could be some hope for this guy. Don’t.
I will admit even I think this guy may be mis-guided in his winemaking thinking but maybe he has redeemed himself. Not so fast Fellows here is how he ends the piece, “Could I have learned as much as an amateur winemaker? I don’t think so. The commercial wine business is the big leagues. As the Mariners are finding out, it’s a lot different from spring training.”
So there you have it. The Pompous Snobby Wine Critic exposes himself completely. Even though he states he no use for Amateur Winemaking, he must have no idea of artisanal made wines either. If he did he would understand that Serious Amateur Winemakers employ the most artistic methods in their winemaking. He also would understand the hand crafting and small volume methods which in many cases produces a better wine from the same grapes as the Big Commercial Winery can produce. We can prove that over and over again. He also needs to talk to his big league friends about all the compromises they have to take when making wine the small lot winemaker never has to take.
Yes Mr. Gregutt learning how making wine could make you a better critic but you need to go to the minors before you write an article like this. You also might want to do a little fining and filtering before you talk about Amateur Winemakers too. Besides being a better critic it could make you a better person.