A Connoisseur's Guide to Wine Collecting

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A Connoisseur's Guide to Wine Collecting

Postby Jenise » Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:16 pm

Nestled in a recent issue of Wine Spectator is this pull-out gem that promises to help you "build your dream cellar, one bottle at a time". Ostensibly it's a pull-out because you'll need to refer to it until it's tattered, or even give it to a friend, although you don't have to part with your copy. "If you'd like to share...with a friend, it can be found on the Web at http://www.winespectator.com/collecting" along with ohter "useful tools to compare and shop for wine", like the "Wine Spectator Dealer Locator". Not that you'll need to find your own dealer, since they next handily recommend "one convenient source" and offer the web address.

Anyway, so you get the picture: this is a Wine Spectator publication. The cover promises these featurettes: Five Winning Cellar Strategies, Auction Ins and Outs, How to Store Wine, Tips for the Investor, and 36 Wines to Buy Now (7-8 for each of the strategies). On the face of it, there is nothing that indicates it's actually a total shill for (mostly, or maybe all) Beringer Wolf Blass. But witness:

Strategy No. 1: The Balanced Cellar. Brace yourself for this bit of news: "...it might be said that there are only two types of wine: those that are ready to drink and those that are not." Five paragraphs of stating the obvious lead to "Our balanced cellar suggestions: This mix of age-woorthy and ready-to-drink wines is a great starting pint for your cellar." Here they are, conveniently minus vintage information: Beringer Knights Valley Cab, Greg Norman Chardonnay, Stags Leap Merlot, Chateau St. Jean Pinot, Beringer PR Chard, Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz, St. Clement Oroppas, Gabbiano Chianti Classico.

Nine more Beringer labels get recommended in the next four strategies, and Etude, Ch. St. Jean, Stags Leap Wolf Blass, Penfolds, Greg Norman and Rosemount get multiple nods, too. No other American producers are mentioned, and I presume the two or three singletons, which are all Oz and one NZ are actually Wolf Blass products, too.

I remember when Harvey Steiman used to hang out in our forum and vigorously defended his magazine against any and all suggestions that advertising dollars played any role in ratings and recommendations.
I'd love to hear how he'd defend this piece of crap.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: A Connoisseur's Guide to Wine Collecting

Postby Howie Hart » Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:28 pm

I clicked on your link and ended up at their Home Page, so I re-typed the address in the address bar and found what you are referring to. However, right above the link it clearly states "Advertisement".
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Re: A Connoisseur's Guide to Wine Collecting

Postby Hoke » Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:39 pm

Jenise: I don't have the mag handy, but I believe if you check it out you'll probably notice (in suitably discreet fine print) that this is a paid-for insert---in short, an advertisement, probably executed by the WS, but not necessarily, and paid for by the mega-company.

This kind of stuff is done rather frequently. Some is more carefully disguised than others, true, but it's done all the time.
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Re: A Connoisseur's Guide to Wine Collecting

Postby Bill Buitenhuys » Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:45 pm

Funny how all of the "cellar suggestions" can all be purchased through the wine club that is noted on the back of the pull-out. Or that this same club has copyright on the pull-out. Yup, this is clearly an ad in the guise of useful guide.
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Re: A Connoisseur's Guide to Wine Collecting

Postby Jenise » Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:48 pm

Hoke, I read every word of it and once I got the hang of what was going on, I combed through this thing three times looking for some admission that it was an advertisement and found none--I didn't want to embarrass myself. Believe me, if it's there, it's buried under the staple.
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Re: A Connoisseur's Guide to Wine Collecting

Postby Bill Buitenhuys » Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:51 pm

Hoke wrote:Jenise: I don't have the mag handy, but I believe if you check it out you'll probably notice (in suitably discreet fine print) that this is a paid-for insert---in short, an advertisement, probably executed by the WS, but not necessarily, and paid for by the mega-company.
This one is as blurry as can be, Hoke. There is interview with a WS columnist and clear directions to winespectator.com to download the guide.
The back page states "Here you'll also find useful tools to compare and shop for wine, Like the WS Dealer Locator and the WS Auction Index"

but then goes on to say "One convenient source for many of teh wines recommended here (and hundreds of other premium bottles) is (fill in specific wine club here). It sure looks an ad for specifc wines (and wine club) with WS-approved plastered all over it.
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Re: A Connoisseur's Guide to Wine Collecting

Postby James Roscoe » Mon Jun 26, 2006 4:33 pm

Let's get some marshmallows and sauternes and have a bonfire! I'll bring my copy. We'll meet at Robin's place Saturday. I'll skip the marshmallows.
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Re: A Connoisseur's Guide to Wine Collecting

Postby Jenise » Mon Jun 26, 2006 4:53 pm

Bill Buitenhuys wrote:This one is as blurry as can be, Hoke. There is interview with a WS columnist and clear directions to winespectator.com to download the guide. The back page states "Here you'll also find useful tools to compare and shop for wine, Like the WS Dealer Locator and the WS Auction Index"

but then goes on to say "One convenient source for many of teh wines recommended here (and hundreds of other premium bottles) is (fill in specific wine club here). It sure looks an ad for specifc wines (and wine club) with WS-approved plastered all over it.


Right-o. And then there's a big picture of a bottle of Grange, and then below that in a big black area, two web addresses: the Spectator's, and then the "one convenient source" wine sale site.

And the thing is, wine consumers who have been around a bit will recognize this for what it is. But there are thousands who won't. It crosses the line, IMO, more than just a little bit.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: A Connoisseur's Guide to Wine Collecting

Postby Robin Garr » Mon Jun 26, 2006 5:03 pm

Jenise wrote:I remember when Harvey Steiman used to hang out in our forum and vigorously defended his magazine against any and all suggestions that advertising dollars played any role in ratings and recommendations.
I'd love to hear how he'd defend this piece of crap.


Harvey's a fine fella, Jenise, and I remember well when he used to visit and contribute to the old forum. I've shared a bottle or two with him back in the old days and had a lot of respect for him as a wine guy and as a journalist. (He, too, was a real ink-on-paper journalist back in pre-wine days, I believe.)

Once The Speck belatedly stumbled onto the Web, though, I got the strong impression that he and other Speck writers were "strongly discouraged" from participating ... I've had the same impression from Matt Kramer, despite frequent E-mail invitations. Sad.

I'm sure this is advertorial material, and not surprised that they felt no need to disclose that information in any easily visible form.
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Re: A Connoisseur's Guide to Wine Collecting

Postby James Roscoe » Mon Jun 26, 2006 5:11 pm

You guys are getting all that rightous indignation up, but what about the bonfire idea? Maybe we should meet at Jenise's place. I hear she's got a pretty good cellar and a nice view of the ocean to boot. (Is it really worth the rant?)
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Re: A Connoisseur's Guide to Wine Collecting

Postby Clinton Macsherry » Mon Jun 26, 2006 5:14 pm

Robin Garr wrote:Once The Speck belatedly stumbled onto the Web, though, I got the strong impression that he and other Speck writers were "strongly discouraged" from participating ... I've had the same impression from Matt Kramer, despite frequent E-mail invitations. Sad.


I suspect that the strong discouragement is stronger than ever now, since all the regular writers (Steiman, Sucking, Laube, et al.] have just started blogging on the paid access portion of the WS website. It irks me to no end that Shanken and crew, despite the 40 bucks per year they collect from print subscribers, use the magazine content to pitch the idea of spending even more for web access.
FEAR THE TURTLE ! ! !
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Re: A Connoisseur's Guide to Wine Collecting

Postby Bill Buitenhuys » Mon Jun 26, 2006 5:14 pm

I'm all for the party at Jenise's, James. S'mores on the Beach. (Isn't that a Phillip Glass opera?)
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Re: A Connoisseur's Guide to Wine Collecting

Postby James Roscoe » Mon Jun 26, 2006 5:16 pm

Bill Buitenhuys wrote:I'm all for the party at Jenise's, James. S'mores on the Beach. (Isn't that a Phillip Glass opera?)


And Joe Perry is the one in the dress!
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Re: A Connoisseur's Guide to Wine Collecting

Postby Steve Edmunds » Mon Jun 26, 2006 5:49 pm

I kept tripping over "great starting pint for your cellar, and all I could think of was Guiness! :lol:
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Re: A Connoisseur's Guide to Wine Collecting

Postby Jenise » Mon Jun 26, 2006 5:58 pm

James Roscoe wrote:You guys are getting all that rightous indignation up, but what about the bonfire idea? Maybe we should meet at Jenise's place. I hear she's got a pretty good cellar and a nice view of the ocean to boot. (Is it really worth the rant?)


James, worth the rant? Probably not. But it's fun to rag on them nonetheless. I would also like to rant on Kermit Lynch's love letter to Marvin in the same issue--somehow, a bit unexpected. But hey yeah re the bonfire, we do good bonfire here--mother nature washes up the firewood and no cops can come tell us to put it out. Y'all come! And bring fireworks!
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Re: A Connoisseur's Guide to Wine Collecting

Postby James Roscoe » Mon Jun 26, 2006 7:00 pm

Jenise wrote:James, worth the rant? Probably not. But it's fun to rag on them nonetheless..... But hey yeah re the bonfire, we do good bonfire here--mother nature washes up the firewood and no cops can come tell us to put it out. Y'all come! And bring fireworks!


Rants are always fun and a good way to let off a little steam, as long as you know what you're doing.

We'll all be up next Tuesday. Make sure there is plenty of salmon on the grill and some good SB in the cooler. I'll have the marshmallows. What's everyone else bringing?
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Re: A Connoisseur's Guide to Wine Collecting

Postby Jenise » Mon Jun 26, 2006 7:08 pm

James wrote:
as long as you know what you're doing.

We'll all be up next Tuesday. Make sure there is plenty of salmon on the grill and some good SB in the cooler. I'll have the marshmallows. What's everyone else bringing?


Whether or not I know what I'm doing is entirely debatable. But just in case someone and enthusiastic about wine was around who hasn't yet discovered that at the Spectator, every day is pay day, I figure I've done a public service.

Next Tuesday? Okay, noted <scribble>. I'll get the fish. Oh, and how about some fresh crab, too?
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Re: A Connoisseur's Guide to Wine Collecting

Postby James Roscoe » Mon Jun 26, 2006 7:12 pm

Let's not start the crab debate. I'm from Maryland!
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Re: A Connoisseur's Guide to Wine Collecting

Postby Hoke » Mon Jun 26, 2006 7:19 pm

James Roscoe wrote:Let's not start the crab debate. I'm from Maryland!


Crab debate? What crab debate?

That was settled a long time ago. You DelMarVa folks do have some nice Blue Crab, and Soft Shell can be pretty good. Florida does rock crab okay. We all can agree that Alaska King Crab is usually overrated.

And West Coast Dungeness is clearly the best crab in the world. What's to debate? :mrgreen:
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Re: A Connoisseur's Guide to Wine Collecting

Postby James Roscoe » Mon Jun 26, 2006 7:23 pm

Only lazy people will not agree that the Chesapeake blue crab is the world's tastiest crustacean and maybe the greatest food treat this side of the afterlife. It is not even a contest when it comes to flavor. But I would not expect a bunch of impatient yokels to understand. There Hoke, you totally hijacked this thread!
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