I have noticed a backlash recently among writers passionate about wine against what might be termed the tyranny of the tasting note. In the view of these writers, the stilted language and the inherent subjectivity of the wine review is a distraction from the real business of telling a story about the people and the places which make up the world of wine. [One great example, quoted in a recent piece on Steve Heimoff's blog, was of writer Rod Smith, who in response to a question about what he thought about the wines in a group wine tasting, replied "I don’t review wines. I write about them".] And I understand this clearly: there is only so much writing you can do about flavors of berries, oak and minerals. And this is without getting into the whole debate about scoring wine.
Whether in response to the fustiness of the traditional wine review, or just a greater interest in the how and the why of wine rather than the what, I've had the pleasure to speak to several writers recently who weren't particularly interested in writing about the wines of Tablas Creek, but about the soul. One such writer is Wayne Kelterer, who a few months back started the blog "A Long Pour: Fifty-Two Weeks with California Wine". On this blog, he profiles one winery each week. The profiles are done on-site, incorporate his excellent photography, and include an in-depth interview with a principal or winemaker at each winery. I think that the care that he takes on these pieces is evident in the results.
Tablas Creek is fortunate to be the profiled winery this week, and in the profile Wayne includes a transcript of what might be the longest, most in-depth interview I've ever had published. If you're interested in not just where we are now, but how we got here and where we think we're going, then it's a must-read.
So, go read it: Tablas Creek: The Long Road to Success