Friday, January 9, 2009

Just the facts, please

I’ve said this before, but after a recent experience I had on someone else’s blog, it’s worth saying one more time: opinions are fine, as far as they go, and we all harbor opinions. But my wider interest is in the facts.

I can’t count the many times over the course of my life when my opinion on some situation was shot down by the truth of the matter, or a small fact that I did not know existed. Over time, I learned that an opinion without accompanying facts isn’t of much use to others.

I recently had the experience of questioning the opinion of a blogger concerning pairing wine with chocolate. The blogger’s opinion is not only that red wine and chocolate do not pair well together, but also that a winery trying to persuade consumers that the pairing works is guilty of scamming.

The blogger’s opinions would at least seem credible if some evidence of a universal nature were provided to support the universal criticism. But the blogger provides none of that.

Other than chocolate is sweet and red wine is not, the blogger says nothing enlightening about the pairing—and of course, not all chocolate is sweet and not all red wine isn’t.

Even still, it would be nice to know what there is to stop a sweet chocolate from pairing with the right dry red wine? Wine and food pairings rely on texture and components. In my experience, the fruit in wine and the tannin in chocolate are often the key to whether or not there can be a marriage of the two. Blanket condemnation is off the mark.

In addition, the blogger accuses wineries of scamming consumers when they pour red wine with chocolate in their tasting rooms because consumers have been drinking. Following the logic, one can make the claim that wine tasting rooms are a big scam, because consumers are drinking and that is why they like the wine that they buy.

The blogger admitted to not having tried some of the wine and chocolate pairings that some mentioned in their comments. In my book, that doesn’t lend credibility to the blanket opinion, and I hope the blogger tries some of the suggestions.

When posting my comments on that blog I did something that I have never done before: I posted under anonymous. When I called the blogger on the assumptions of the opinion, my motive was questioned. Coming from this particular blogger, that’s an interesting allusion:

I posted anonymously because the blogger does not divulge his or her identity, claiming that the opinions might get the blogger into trouble at work.

I’m sorry to say, but the blogger's defense for anonymity does more to raise suspicion than to build confidence; the blogger proves that by suspecting my motive for commenting anonymously (which was my way of making a statement about the blogger's anonymity).

Aside from what I think of the red wine and chocolate opinion that comes without factual back up, a person must take responsibility for his or her words. If for whatever reason that isn’t possible, then that person ought to re-evaluate the leap he or she has made, and the reader ought to take the opinions with a grain of chocolate—and a glass of wine!


If you are reading this entry anywhere other than on the vinofictions blog, be aware that it has been lifted without my permission (and without recompense), and that’s a copyright infringement, no matter that the copyright information appears with it.

Copyright Thomas Pellechia
January 2009. All rights reserved.


  1. I think you really miss the point, both of the original post you criticized and in your advocacy of wine and chocolate pairings.

    Today's SF Chonicle notes "the Monterey Public Library's annual Chocolate and Wine Tasting is your chance to catch up...Chocolate will pour from a fountain and appear in the guise of chicken mole and chocolate beer, as well as in more traditional cakes, cookies, and candy; wine will flow courtesy of Bargetto Winery, Pianette, Hahn Estates and other benefactors....

    Is this really what you want to encourage?

  2. Steve,

    What is the issue in anonymous' original post? That much of marketing and promotion is disgusting? No argument from me there.

    My issue is with the outright and direct statement that wine and chocolate do not pair, with no proof to back it up.

    I happen to disagree: technically, there are reasons that the two can pair, and I've run classes to prove that it can work. But if someone can prove to me that I'm wrong--I'm open to debate on the issue. A definitive condemnation without evidence is not persuasive.

    Further, there is a blanket statement in the post that reads as if every winery that tries to sell the consumer on the wine and chocolate pairing is scamming them. Again, where's the evidence?

    All I'm saying is that making claims or definitive pronouncements requires a fact or two to back them up.

    The blogger and I have emailed privately about this matter. He (or she) says we know each other. If so, he (or she) also knows that I love a good debate, but I am not a fan of opinion just for its sake. I like to discuss the things behind the opinions--the facts, the evidence, the first-hand experience, et al.

    Consumers are supposedly adults. They can make their own decisions about what they want to participate in and what they do or don't like. We should try to give them the facts.