Do wine critics have personal style preferences? Jamie Goode was inspired by a conversation on Twitter with a "respected wine critic from a major US publication" (James Molesworth from Wine Spectator) to write about the subject, concluding, "It’s a myth to think that there is some objective measure of wine quality that professional critics can tap into. Yet many critics choose to project this image of wine criticism to their readers."
Molesworth, however, begs to differ:
. @Will_Lyons Things of distinction usually do. Critics should judge quality first. Describe style second. Personal preference not a factor.— James Molesworth (@jmolesworth1) April 3, 2014
Goode, however, thinks shit wines with long finishes and good concentration are still shit wines.
Commenting on Goode's post, Paul Dove recalls Goode's take on one wine that seems to contradict his stance on unfine wines: "Err, Jamie, I seem to remember you describing the grotesquely synthetic and confected Apothic by Gallo as 'very well made in its style'. [Exact quote: "In its style it’s very well made."] Did you honestly believe that when you wrote those words? Or were you, as I suspect, trying to be the 'global arbiter' wine critic that you reject as a myth in this blog?"
So what's to come of all this? Will the world of wine criticism cling to objectivity or cop to subjectivity? Anthony Rose cheekily suggests how to resolve this debate:
Do you think of wine reviews as objective or subjective? And does it matter if they are one or the other? In other words, if you like what Goode or Molesworth likes is it a moot point? You can just gravitate towards the critic who is most aligned with your style preference.