Wednesday, December 30, 2009

End of year thoughts

Here it is, the close of 2009. The interminable “best of” lists are everywhere, and as it is with individual wines, the many lists face agreement as well as disagreement. It’s all a great testament to the subjective tastes of people—which of course leads to wine.

Now that we are in the last stages of the “best of” blogs will certainly rack up their 2009 wine picks, and I will yawn with Jack at Fork & Bottle, as I can hear him all the way across the country.

Having said that, I particularly like Fredric Koeppel’s end of year list at his blog, Bigger Than Your Head—it’s a 12 days of Christmas list of sparkling wines, and it’s among the original-thinking lists to come around at this time of year. If I were so inclined to create a “best of” list, Fredric would be in the top few—he not only has things to say that don’t drip with self promotion; he can write.

In any case, it is the end of my third full year of blogging and I’ll be damned, I am running out of things to say.

One way to develop material for writing is to scan the Internet and pick stories that might appeal to readers. The problem with that method is that there are so many wine blogs these days that any good story that pops up seems to gain more coverage than is necessary. What’s worse, so many stories are the same stuff wrapped in new packages, as are so many online discussions.

So, on the eve of 2010, I am left not with something to say, but with questions.

How many times can the shortfalls of critics be discussed?

How many times can we cover the way wine producers (and critics) try to fool consumers into a false sense of security?

Is there a wine retailer conspiracy, as so many suspect?

Can the Commerce Clause ever be over-invoked?

How big can one wholesaler actually get?

How long will it take for consumers to learn to understand the messages found on a wine label? Will they ever?

In how many variations can one talk about the relationship between acid and sugar?

Is there such a thing as too much wood, or too many wood chips?

Do fruit-forward wines last in the bottle?

How many gallons of water does it take to add back to wine to make it palatable because the grapes were overripe and the wine was over the top in alcohol?

How many stupid wine gadgets can we laugh at, and how many do we have waiting for us in 2010?

Must we endure armchair winemakers alongside armchair wine philosophers?

Can we ever measure the amount of philosophy contained in one bottle of wine?

How many arguments must we engage in before (or if) one of us on either side admits to having learned something?

Do people really understand subjectivity, or do they care to understand it?

How many terroir-driven wines get requisite accolades, no matter their orange color?

While we are at it, can we define terroir to everyone’s liking?

Must we face the same worn arguments in 2010 that we faced in 2009, 08, 07 and before?

Finally, is there anything that someone can say in 2010 that will hold our interest and maybe even break new ground?

Let’s hope so.



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
December 2009. All rights reserved.


  1. Triple-Screaming Yawn. - J.@F&BdotCOM

  2. Feeling magnanimous today, so I'll let this anonymous in...

  3. I'll drink to those questions, Tommaso. Happy New Year!

  4. Many thanks, Thomas, for the mention and vote of confidence. I enjoy the sparkling wine and champagne series, especially discovering new products (I mean new to me). Have to say though that I will be doing a Best Wines of 2009, just because, well, I guess that's what journalists do; they list things.

    thanks again and Happy New Year

  5. One of the best lists I have found so far - and so "you"

    Happy New Year, you old dawg.

  6. Old dawg!

    Alfonso, you must be reading my mail...