The HoseMaster of Wine recently posted a piece questioning whether wine could be art. If you are not familiar with Ron Washam’s site, I suggest you rectify that immediately. He is a far better and more insightful writer than I could ever hope to be, not to mention way funnier.
The HoseMaster is not a fan of scores and argues that if one believes in the validity of a 100-point system then one couldn’t think that winemaking is art. The reasoning here is that “art isn’t measurable.” Truly, I’m not a fan of scores either, although I don’t hold that against people who do score wines and those who use those scores to help in their purchasing decisions. I just have always had trouble assigning numbers to what must ultimately be a subjective experience. I agree that there are definite indicators as to whether a wine is well-made versus flawed, but after that, I think the “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” or, in this case, the drinker.
And scores are confusing, at least to me.
I’ve always associated scores with letter grades, with a wine getting a score in the 90s being equivalent to an A, in the 80s a B, etc. But, I’ve seen so many wines getting scores in the 90s and when I would taste them I’d think “yeah, this is good. But is it excellent? Is it an A?” And recently I watched a video of a well-known wine personality totally bashing a wine he was tasting blind, saying he would not recommend it to anyone, and then scoring it an 85. So, I dunno. But, I really digress here.
If you read his article, you’ll see that ultimately Mr. Washam argues that wine is not art after all. In this case, I find I disagree. [I mean, what do I know?] Because, I feel that in certain cases, admittedly not often enough, wine does seem like art to me. I taste [okay, drink] a lot of wines, some good, some great, and once in a while the wine I am drinking can evoke the same kind of visceral reaction that art does. It might make me think of the vineyard it comes from, or bring back some long ago memory or just be so outstanding that it grabs my attention away from everything else. This is where wine can sometimes go, beyond being a merely tasty beverage but at least approach being an art form, in my humble opinion.
A great example of this just happened as I was putting this article to bed. I may have raved about The Scholium Project more often than Eve would like, but we just had the winery’s 2014 Prince In His Caves. 100% Sauvignon Blanc, this wine did not display the grassiness or high acidity that one might associate with this varietal. Instead, it was all about green apples and honey and I was instantly transported to a country meadow.
It is these rare bottles that help to keep my passion for wine going.
And it is that passion for wine that makes me want to keep seeking out new wine and wine experiences to share with the readers of Eve’s Wine 101. And, I’d love to get ideas from our readers as to what they’d like to hear more about. In fact, if you have any wine stories you’d like to share, we’re always looking for guest contributors.
Michael Perlis has been pursuing his passion for wine for more than 25 years. He has had the good fortune of having numerous mentors to show him the way, as well as a wonderful wife who encourages him and shares his interest. After a couple of decades of learning about wine, attending events, visiting wineries and vineyards, and tasting as much wine as he possibly could, he had the amazing luck to meet Eve Bushman. Now, as Contributing Editor for Eve’s Wine 101, he does his best to bring as much information as possible about wine to Eve’s Wine 101 faithful readers. Michael is also Vice President of Eve Bushman Consulting (fka Eve’s Wine 101 Consulting) http://evebushmanconsulting.com/ and President of MCP Financial. Michael can be contacted at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.