Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #51  Postby H Wallace Jr » May 13th 2010, 8:46am

Al Osterheld wrote:As far as her book, I certainly don't like the title, "The Battle for Wine and Love: or How I Saved the World from Parkerization". First, it defines the book by a negative. Second, while she complains that producers and retailers seek and use Parker points to sell more wine, she's guilty of using Parker's fame to sell more books. Third, it's rather clear she hasn't saved the world from anything. Lastly, it makes the book sound rather personal, as much about the author as about wine. That approach can make a book fascinating or tedious depending on how one reacts to the author's psyche. I'm guessing, for me, it would be the latter. -Al

I'm not a big fan of the title "Star Wars"- but dang that shiz was off the chain! Who would have thought they had a Wookie in there w/ a title like that?!? ;)

I have bought more copies of her book (to give away as gifts) than any other book... I don't agree w/ everything in there, but it is an eye-opener for a lot of people.
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #52  Postby ChrisBeacham » May 13th 2010, 9:01am

I, for one, hope she makes it over here and gives her views. Hey BigJay came over didn't he? Or was it just Jeff L?
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #53  Postby Eric Keating » May 13th 2010, 9:07am

"an aromatic array of sandalwood, pencil lead, (PENCIL LEAD AS AROMATIC? SEND THE BOY BACK TO 101)"

Pencil lead can be an aroma. In fact, anything can. I know it's more commonplace to pick up pencil shavings, but pencil lead is definitely something I have picked up in wine before. In fact, when people mention 'pencil shavings' sometimes they are really smelling 'pencil lead'. Since when is there a regimented gamut of adjectives one is allowed to use anyway?

"Back to 101"... makes me picture a teacher with a ruler, "California Pinot can ONLY smell like barnyard, strawberry, or cola. NOTHING ELSE!!!" Sounds like she believes we have to be told what aromas a wine can give off, and there is no room for personal opinions.

Pretty funny at times I guess, but that article came across as bitter. There is no scientific method of scoring a wine, it's always personal. If someone wants to give 98 points to a wine, let 'em.
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And

Post #54  Postby TomHill » May 13th 2010, 9:08am

H Wallace Jr wrote:I have bought more copies of her book (to give away as gifts) than any other book... I don't agree w/ everything in there, but it is an eye-opener for a lot of people.


Have you read Patrick Matthew's "Real Wine" book, Hardy??? Highly recommended. Much the same message as Alice's book, but w/o the drama-queen delivery.
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Re: And

Post #55  Postby Eric Keating » May 13th 2010, 9:11am

TomHill wrote:
H Wallace Jr wrote:I have bought more copies of her book (to give away as gifts) than any other book... I don't agree w/ everything in there, but it is an eye-opener for a lot of people.


Have you read Patrick Matthew's "Real Wine" book, Hardy??? Highly recommended. Much the same message as Alice's book, but w/o the drama-queen delivery.
Tom

Sounds interesting. I am going to look into your recommendation. I love a new wine read.
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Re: And

Post #56  Postby H Wallace Jr » May 13th 2010, 9:15am

TomHill wrote:Have you read Patrick Matthew's "Real Wine" book, Hardy??? Highly recommended.
Tom

No- Thanks for the tip. I need a new book- I'll order it today.
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #57  Postby James Sanders » May 13th 2010, 9:31am

Alice Feiring. Alice Feiring. Alice Feiring. Alice Feiring. Lyle Fass.

Just nice to type the names and not have them ****** out.
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #58  Postby Mary Baker » May 13th 2010, 10:09am

Mark Larson wrote:Recognizing this thread is about one particular criticism, I do wish those who are negative with Alice, read her book and then formulate opinions. I do believe her approach to wine will increasingly reflect the attitudes and mores of a growing percentage of consumers.


I read her book, and was utterly dismayed by the number of gross errors and misrepresentations. And I had actually looked forward to reading the book. See this discussion for full details. The full book review is post #15.

Some excerpts:
  • Feiring rolls her luggage off the plane in Paso Robles, and before she has left the tarmac she mentions controlling winemakers and Clark Smith at Vinovation in Sonoma—a controversial man and a controversial firm that promote making wine by the numbers, a concept that riles more than a few winemakers in Paso Robles. Feiring apparently visits only one winery, which she describes as a megacommerical, ultramodern winery that uses acid additions, tannin additions, wood chips, enzymes, and pretty much everything Feiring considers evil. And then . . . apparently . . . she gets back on the plane and leaves. She then visits UC Davis, where she learns more about topics of which she disapproves.
  • On one page she says, “sustainable agriculture is based on chemical farming,” which is categorically untrue.
  • “Modern wine folk like fast ferments—a week, maybe two weeks at most,” she says. Which kind of fermentation? Which modern wine folk? Everyone? We are all pretty much under the age of 60, as it gets harder and harder to move barrels around with age. Why do winemakers prefer faster fermentation? Is she aware that many California productions frequently ferment for six months or more, if you include malolactic conversions and finishing those last few points of primary? Does she even understand the properties of fermentation well enough to comment?
  • Among the evils of modern wine processes, she includes fining with gelatin, or as she calls it, “finishing.” But she doesn’t mention that in France, as elsewhere in Europe, the use of bull’s blood, eggs, milk and Irish moss have been used as finishing agents for centuries. Nor does she mention that gelatin is produced from bones and is completely natural.
  • Feiring loves “authentic” old wood tuns, and continually disparages wineries that have brought in “new, small barriques”. She also adores thick, black mold growing on the cellar walls and surfaces and considers it a sign of an “authentic” wine cave. But there is no mention of brettanomyces in the book, and no mention of anisoles infecting the wineries and barrels. At all.
  • Regarding a 1987 Tondonia, “[Parker] said the wine had ‘early maturity,’ meaning it got old before its time.” But the Wine Advocate indicator ‘early maturity’ means the wine is in a stage of early maturity. This error invalidates her criticisms of Parker’s views on this wine, and shows a gross ignorance of her nemesis’ scoring system.
  • In the next to last chapter, “My Date with Bob,” Feiring gets all prickly when Parker simply won’t converge to her point of view. Parker points out that more wine is actually being made naturally today, and that there are many more organic and biodynamic vineyards than when he began reviewing wine. But Feiring will have none of that, referring back to the Paso Robles winery that claimed on its website all grapes were hand-harvested and handled as little as possible, but according to Feiring then corrupts their production with tannins and acids, as if this is proof that all Paso Robles wineries, and by extension the entire New World, are liars and cheats.
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #59  Postby G. D y e r » May 13th 2010, 10:56am

Eric Keating wrote:"an aromatic array of sandalwood, pencil lead, (PENCIL LEAD AS AROMATIC? SEND THE BOY BACK TO 101)"

Pencil lead can be an aroma. In fact, anything can. I know it's more commonplace to pick up pencil shavings, but pencil lead is definitely something I have picked up in wine before. In fact, when people mention 'pencil shavings' sometimes they are really smelling 'pencil lead'. Since when is there a regimented gamut of adjectives one is allowed to use anyway?


I tend to agree with Alice Feiring pencil lead is one of the more suspect descriptors. Lead is a misnomer, first off, as it's graphite that's in pencils. The graphite is decidedly non-aromatic: it's just sheets of carbon. After some length and heated discussion elsewhere, it basically came down to pencil lead consisting not just of graphite but clay as well. The China clay has kaolin in it which apparently does have a metallic aroma and I think I have smelled this in some Pinots and Cab Francs, among other wines.

But of course the kaolin smell is probably mixed up with the cedar smell from pencil shavings. I think you can and do find both the cedar and pencil lead aromas (both independently and together) but I really think many people misuse the terms. They are incredibly specific smells, yet are broadly applied. Hence the tendency to see them show up in pretentious purple prose like the note Feiring tore apart.
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #60  Postby LColhouer » May 13th 2010, 11:11am

Eric Keating wrote:Pretty funny at times I guess, but that article came across as bitter.



FYI, this is not from an article. It's a small blurb/commentary on her website. The URL shows it as the "wine cop" section. Those more familiar with her site could tell us if this is a regular feature.

For those of you not familiar with Alice, as in, actually read her stuff, reading her homepage will provide some context to her comments on Jay's note. I am neither fan nor foe, but I do think she has a legitimate point of view. This isn't a Parker or Miller issue, per se, it's a wine style issue and she is very outspoken on this. FWIW, I think Jay's note typifies the wine making style she is most against, and, in that context, drawing attention to it in her blog is on topic. You may disagree with her, but it's her consistent view.
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #61  Postby Ken Zinns » May 13th 2010, 11:48am

Cris Whetstone wrote:Well said Tom and Al.

I haven't read her book but after reading some of her work online I have zero desire to read her book. If its anything like her articles and blogs then it sounds like a less than pleasant exercise.

I've read a couple of her articles that I thought were pretty good, but I've also read other pieces she's written that I didn't think were worth much. As Al pointed out, she too often defines her position by what she doesn't like than by what she does - I'm not much interested in that, and I think that's taking the easy way out. I also haven't read her book, but between the title and some of the other things she's written, I don't have much desire to do so. To be blunt, I have little to no interest in what she (or anyone else) thinks about Parker, Miller, etc. As I mentioned before, I suspect she's capable of better but has found an easier way to notoriety.
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #62  Postby Eric Keating » May 13th 2010, 12:58pm

G. D y e r wrote:
Eric Keating wrote:"an aromatic array of sandalwood, pencil lead, (PENCIL LEAD AS AROMATIC? SEND THE BOY BACK TO 101)"

Pencil lead can be an aroma. In fact, anything can. I know it's more commonplace to pick up pencil shavings, but pencil lead is definitely something I have picked up in wine before. In fact, when people mention 'pencil shavings' sometimes they are really smelling 'pencil lead'. Since when is there a regimented gamut of adjectives one is allowed to use anyway?


I tend to agree with Alice Feiring pencil lead is one of the more suspect descriptors. Lead is a misnomer, first off, as it's graphite that's in pencils. The graphite is decidedly non-aromatic: it's just sheets of carbon. After some length and heated discussion elsewhere, it basically came down to pencil lead consisting not just of graphite but clay as well. The China clay has kaolin in it which apparently does have a metallic aroma and I think I have smelled this in some Pinots and Cab Francs, among other wines.

But of course the kaolin smell is probably mixed up with the cedar smell from pencil shavings. I think you can and do find both the cedar and pencil lead aromas (both independently and together) but I really think many people misuse the terms. They are incredibly specific smells, yet are broadly applied. Hence the tendency to see them show up in pretentious purple prose like the note Feiring tore apart.

Semantics aside, it does have a smell and I have picked it up in wines. So I just don't see the need to rip him apart for referring to it.

By the way, did she taste the wine herself?
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #63  Postby Milos Cam-Robb » May 13th 2010, 1:24pm

Al Osterheld wrote:I've read some of her short pieces and a few interviews when she was making the circuit when her book came out. I haven't read her book. I may, but from reading some reviews I'm not sure I would enjoy it.

I don't disagree with her approach to wine, much of it resonates with me. But I'm not fond of her approach to writing about wine which, for me, focuses too much on what she doesn't like rather than what she likes. She also seems guilty of the same sort of absolutist, if you don't agree you're wrong and clearly haven't ascended to the same higher plane of wine appreciation, type of opinions she (and others) have complained about in Parker's writing. As far as the blog piece that started this thread, it's as if she woke up one day, wanted to add to her blog but either didn't have anything new to write or didn't have the time, so she takes the easy route of mocking a Jay Miller tasting note. There is a difference between writing and heckling. If JM's tasting notes represent, for her, much of what's wrong with the wine world, that particular blog piece represents, for me, much of what's wrong with wine blogs or internet blogs in general.

As far as her book, I certainly don't like the title, "The Battle for Wine and Love: or How I Saved the World from Parkerization". First, it defines the book by a negative. Second, while she complains that producers and retailers seek and use Parker points to sell more wine, she's guilty of using Parker's fame to sell more books. Third, it's rather clear she hasn't saved the world from anything. Lastly, it makes the book sound rather personal, as much about the author as about wine. That approach can make a book fascinating or tedious depending on how one reacts to the author's psyche. I'm guessing, for me, it would be the latter.

-Al



Al says it best...it isn't the message, its the method of delivery...why can't she be a champion of natural wines instead of a critic of critics?
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #64  Postby Tim Burnett » May 13th 2010, 1:53pm

I think Alice Feiring’s shtick is, first, a shtick created to make a living doing something many people would love to do for a living. Second, I think it is far more damaging to enjoying wine than what RP, the 100 point system or Jay Miller have ever done combined. I’d say someone needs to save the wine world from Alice Feiring, but that would be an overly hyperbolic cheap shot, stated in the hope that someone would read what I’m writing.

Alice Feiring’s writings have more in common with Glenn Beck, Keith Olbermann, Rush Limbaugh, Rachel Maddow, etc., than they do Jancis Robinson, Robert Parker, Matt Kramer, etc. (I’m not sure what the politics rules are here, and I hope I haven’t gone a foul. My beef here is with talking heads’ style, not their opinions or ideology.)

Everything is us vs. them (who are not only wrong but pushing an evil agenda), 0 vs. 1, black vs. white, 24/7/365. Unfortunately, based on recent more incendiary than normal communications from Parker (re: ’97 Harlan, Aussie pricing and the anti-taste elite, and white burg), I tend to think he is following suit.

While my preferences differ much ot the time, I have no problem with Alice Feiring’s crusade to promote natural winemaking (as she chooses to define it) or backward wines, or whatever she’s crusading for. How she goes about that crusade is, IMHO, counterproductive and self-serving.
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #65  Postby Steve M c C a l l » May 13th 2010, 1:58pm

Tim Burnett wrote:I think Alice Feiring’s shtick is, first, a shtick created to make a living doing something many people would love to do for a living. Second, I think it is far more damaging to enjoying wine than what RP, the 100 point system or Jay Miller have ever done combined. I’d say someone needs to save the wine world from Alice Feiring, but that would be an overly hyperbolic cheap shot, stated in the hope that someone would read what I’m writing.

Alice Feiring’s writings have more in common with Glenn Beck, Keith Olbermann, Rush Limbaugh, Rachel Maddow, etc., than they do Jancis Robinson, Robert Parker, Matt Kramer, etc. (I’m not sure what the politics rules are here, and I hope I haven’t gone a foul. My beef here is with talking heads’ style, not their opinions or ideology.)

Everything is us vs. them (who are not only wrong but pushing an evil agenda), 0 vs. 1, black vs. white, 24/7/365. Unfortunately, based on recent more incendiary than normal communications from Parker (re: ’97 Harlan, Aussie pricing and the anti-taste elite, and white burg), I tend to think he is following suit.

While my preferences differ much ot the time, I have no problem with Alice Feiring’s crusade to promote natural winemaking (as she chooses to define it) or backward wines, or whatever she’s crusading for. How she goes about that crusade is, IMHO, counterproductive and self-serving.


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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #66  Postby James Sanders » May 13th 2010, 2:45pm

Tim Burnett wrote:I think Alice Feiring’s shtick is, first, a shtick created to make a living doing something many people would love to do for a living. Second, I think it is far more damaging to enjoying wine than what RP, the 100 point system or Jay Miller have ever done combined. I’d say someone needs to save the wine world from Alice Feiring, but that would be an overly hyperbolic cheap shot, stated in the hope that someone would read what I’m writing.

Alice Feiring’s writings have more in common with Glenn Beck, Keith Olbermann, Rush Limbaugh, Rachel Maddow, etc., than they do Jancis Robinson, Robert Parker, Matt Kramer, etc. (I’m not sure what the politics rules are here, and I hope I haven’t gone a foul. My beef here is with talking heads’ style, not their opinions or ideology.)

Everything is us vs. them (who are not only wrong but pushing an evil agenda), 0 vs. 1, black vs. white, 24/7/365. Unfortunately, based on recent more incendiary than normal communications from Parker (re: ’97 Harlan, Aussie pricing and the anti-taste elite, and white burg), I tend to think he is following suit.

While my preferences differ much ot the time, I have no problem with Alice Feiring’s crusade to promote natural winemaking (as she chooses to define it) or backward wines, or whatever she’s crusading for. How she goes about that crusade is, IMHO, counterproductive and self-serving.


The stridency may be off-putting, but IMO it's a rational response to the pervasive dominance of Parker's palate. Inasmuch as I tend to share Feiring's wine flavor preferences, I'm glad she and others are out there. For too many years, there was no voice to counter Parker. Once some semblance of balance is restored, voices like Feiring's will move on to something else.
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #67  Postby Mark Larson » May 13th 2010, 3:19pm

James Sanders wrote:
Tim Burnett wrote:I think Alice Feiring’s shtick is, first, a shtick created to make a living doing something many people would love to do for a living. Second, I think it is far more damaging to enjoying wine than what RP, the 100 point system or Jay Miller have ever done combined. I’d say someone needs to save the wine world from Alice Feiring, but that would be an overly hyperbolic cheap shot, stated in the hope that someone would read what I’m writing.

Alice Feiring’s writings have more in common with Glenn Beck, Keith Olbermann, Rush Limbaugh, Rachel Maddow, etc., than they do Jancis Robinson, Robert Parker, Matt Kramer, etc. (I’m not sure what the politics rules are here, and I hope I haven’t gone a foul. My beef here is with talking heads’ style, not their opinions or ideology.)

Everything is us vs. them (who are not only wrong but pushing an evil agenda), 0 vs. 1, black vs. white, 24/7/365. Unfortunately, based on recent more incendiary than normal communications from Parker (re: ’97 Harlan, Aussie pricing and the anti-taste elite, and white burg), I tend to think he is following suit.

While my preferences differ much ot the time, I have no problem with Alice Feiring’s crusade to promote natural winemaking (as she chooses to define it) or backward wines, or whatever she’s crusading for. How she goes about that crusade is, IMHO, counterproductive and self-serving.


The stridency may be off-putting, but IMO it's a rational response to the pervasive dominance of Parker's palate. Inasmuch as I tend to share Feiring's wine flavor preferences, I'm glad she and others are out there. For too many years, there was no voice to counter Parker. Once some semblance of balance is restored, voices like Feiring's will move on to something else.


+1

I view the stridency as pure schtick and can get passed it. Too much good information to be shared. For years I couldn't figure out what happened to WA and much of the wine world. Not anymore.
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #68  Postby Jim Brennan » May 13th 2010, 3:24pm

Tim:

Parker has been incendiary for quite a while, and in many ways is as much an ideologue as Alice (go read his ESJ reviews from 2 or 3 years back), just from a different angle and with far more influence.

That said, developing arguments supported by sloppily-checked facts ends up being unpersuasive and probably a net negative for her cause.
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #69  Postby H Wallace Jr » May 13th 2010, 3:35pm

Milos Cam-Robb wrote:why can't she be a champion of natural wines instead of a critic of critics?

Most people that read more than sound bites would agree that she is a champ. of 'natch wines first, and a critic of critics 2nd. Even if the anti-parker thing was her main bag, why aren't critics (not just JM and RMP) fair game?
Tim Burnett wrote:I think Alice Feiring’s shtick is, first, a shtick created to make a living doing something many people would love to do for a living. Second, I think it is far more damaging to enjoying wine than what RP, the 100 point system or Jay Miller have ever done combined.

You are kidding, right?
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #70  Postby Tim Burnett » May 13th 2010, 3:42pm

James Sanders wrote:
The stridency may be off-putting, but IMO it's a rational response to the pervasive dominance of Parker's palate. Inasmuch as I tend to share Feiring's wine flavor preferences, I'm glad she and others are out there. For too many years, there was no voice to counter Parker. Once some semblance of balance is restored, voices like Feiring's will move on to something else.


I gues it's not just the stridency, but the consistency, and the conclusion-based "investigation." She's an activist as much as she is a writer.

But if you're right and she moves on with time, great. I have no idea what that will be, as she's something of a one-trick pony in my experience.

What I am concerned is more likely, given that it’s a trend I see in other areas of media beyond politics and wine (i.e., sports), is that Parker, Miller or others will more explicitly and consistently take on the opposite position. We’ll have weblogs and podcasts where two blowhards debate spoofulation vs. anti-taste nonsense, to go with internet and hard-copy publications that are all but explicitly on one-side or the other.

I don’t think media organizations and personalities are doing this because they want to, but I do think it’s intentionally so because it sells. It’s what many have come to enjoy watching, and as pure entertainment it can be fun (i.e. ESPN’s PTI), but as actual discussion, it blows.

I still think wine appreciation is different, or maybe wine nerds are different (variety is key to many of us). But Feiring’s writings, as well as Parker’s recent antagonist bent, are not a good sign. This is a particular peave of mine in all areas of life. So I’m probably projecting a little. Or a lot.

** I’ve read the ESJ stuff (wasn’t there also something with an Aussie winery), and while perplexingly rude, I didn’t interpret it as part of this wino identity politics I see going on now – I’ll have to go back. Nope, wait. That was in the eBob archive.
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #71  Postby LColhouer » May 13th 2010, 3:49pm

Jim Brennan wrote:Tim:

Parker has been incendiary for quite a while, and in many ways is as much an ideologue as Alice (go read his ESJ reviews from 2 or 3 years back), just from a different angle and with far more influence.

That said, developing arguments supported by sloppily-checked facts ends up being unpersuasive and probably a net negative for her cause.


Interesting that you bring this up because I was reflecting on this as I wrote my post earlier. How is it that I can generally ignore her delivery style when his version (quite similar) bothers me so much? Hypocrisy is the likely answer, but I do not care for that style of interaction from anyone. FWIW, it reads attention-getting theatrics from each of them.

As to such delivery detracting from the message, I am skeptical. That would imply that if the delivery were more decorous, the message would be heard. Consider Gilman. In his case, the issue IMO is clearly the message, not the delivery style. And so, even with Alice, the real issue is the message.
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #72  Postby Tim Burnett » May 13th 2010, 3:55pm

H Wallace Jr wrote:
Milos Cam-Robb wrote:why can't she be a champion of natural wines instead of a critic of critics?

Most people that read more than sound bites would agree that she is a champ. of 'natch wines first, and a critic of critics 2nd. Even if the anti-parker thing was her main bag, why aren't critics (not just JM and RMP) fair game?
Tim Burnett wrote:I think Alice Feiring’s shtick is, first, a shtick created to make a living doing something many people would love to do for a living. Second, I think it is far more damaging to enjoying wine than what RP, the 100 point system or Jay Miller have ever done combined.

You are kidding, right?


Nope. Serious, probably overly so.

I think your response to Milos Cam-Robb made my point better than I did--she writes the way she does (snarky, patronizing and incendiary, all about either natural vs. spoofulated wines or RMP/JM/whomever else) because if she wrote measured critiques of various wine topics (a la Matt Kramer), she’s not sure anyone would pay attention.

I have no idea if she’s right because I’ve never read anything else out of her.

Anything is “fair game,” what I’m saying is it’s not a good idea, as in bad for wine enjoyment. This is supposed to be fun.

See this discussion, where many of us disagree and feel strongly, but aren’t insulting each other’s tastes or wine intelligence, is not something Alice Feiring is capable of, at least not the Alice Feiring that writes books and blogs.
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #73  Postby Cris Whetstone » May 13th 2010, 4:06pm

We should all note that we are talking about her and her delivery rather than a subject she brought up. In this day and age many are only after that and their content is secondary. I'm hoping in the narrow world of wine that this is not her objective and that she will take note.
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #74  Postby DCowell » May 13th 2010, 4:09pm

This is one of the more interesting threads in a while as people are criticizing Feiring for defining herself by what she does not like - exactly what this board has done from the start!

Irony is beautiful.
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #75  Postby H Wallace Jr » May 13th 2010, 4:23pm

Tim Burnett wrote: I have no idea if she’s right because I’ve never read anything else out of her.

See this discussion, where many of us disagree and feel strongly, but aren’t insulting each other’s tastes or wine intelligence, is not something Alice Feiring is capable of, at least not the Alice Feiring that writes books and blogs.
How can you say this if you haven't read anything else from her?
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #76  Postby M. M c C a l l » May 13th 2010, 4:35pm

An odd addendum to the original post:

... mostly in from the WineBeserker site where I think there's some Alice bashing going on. I'm not sure people would do this if I were a guy, but that's besides the point.



I don't think Ms. Feiring has seen the Parker bashing thread in the asylum. [wink.gif]
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #77  Postby Brian Loring » May 13th 2010, 4:52pm

M. M c C a l l wrote:An odd addendum to the original post:

... mostly in from the WineBeserker site where I think there's some Alice bashing going on. I'm not sure people would do this if I were a guy, but that's besides the point.



I don't think Ms. Feiring has seen the Parker bashing thread in the asylum. [wink.gif]

Wow - defensive much? Seriously, does she think it has anything to do with her being a woman? As if that's the only reason anyone could possibly have an issue with what she says.

I made a couple of posts over there earlier, but I can't seem to now. I've tried multiple times and it won't "take". Very frustrating. Maybe I got banned... probably because I'm a man.
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #78  Postby James Sanders » May 13th 2010, 5:00pm

Brian Loring wrote:
M. M c C a l l wrote:An odd addendum to the original post:

... mostly in from the WineBeserker site where I think there's some Alice bashing going on. I'm not sure people would do this if I were a guy, but that's besides the point.



I don't think Ms. Feiring has seen the Parker bashing thread in the asylum. [wink.gif]

Wow - defensive much? Seriously, does she think it has anything to do with her being a woman? As if that's the only reason anyone could possibly have an issue with what she says.

I made a couple of posts over there earlier, but I can't seem to now. I've tried multiple times and it won't "take". Very frustrating. Maybe I got banned... probably because I'm a man.


I don't have a shred of doubt that much of the Alice bashing is gender motivated at least in part. Before she was banned from Squires board there was a slew of misogynist posts on one string from different posters and Squires was very slow to stop it.
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #79  Postby Cris Whetstone » May 13th 2010, 5:05pm

James Sanders wrote:I don't have a shred of doubt that much of the Alice bashing is gender motivated at least in part. Before she was banned from Squires board there was a slew of misogynist posts on one string from different posters and Squires was very slow to stop it.

Please point to one post that shows any hint of gender bias.

I think that such a quick claim in her response to the activity is a sign of weakness. Discuss and challenge everyone's arguments instead of claiming that all only have issues due to sex. Disappointing at the very least.
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #80  Postby Wes Barton » May 13th 2010, 5:33pm

Eric Keating wrote:Pencil lead can be an aroma. In fact, anything can. I know it's more commonplace to pick up pencil shavings, but pencil lead is definitely something I have picked up in wine before. In fact, when people mention 'pencil shavings' sometimes they are really smelling 'pencil lead'.


I use "graphite" for the former. For "pencil shavings", it would be the combination of the graphite, wood and paint, that I sometimes pick up in a wine.
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #81  Postby Wes Barton » May 13th 2010, 6:08pm

James Sanders wrote:The stridency may be off-putting, but IMO it's a rational response to the pervasive dominance of Parker's palate. Inasmuch as I tend to share Feiring's wine flavor preferences, I'm glad she and others are out there. For too many years, there was no voice to counter Parker. Once some semblance of balance is restored, voices like Feiring's will move on to something else.


Look at Mary's examples above. Or her broad slam of CA wines I noted. (She made it sound like ESJ and maybe 3-4 others were the only worthy wineries in the whole state.) Her vision is so clouded and thinking so absolutist that she's simply not a reliable source of information. She disregards facts and only shows a sophomoric level of knowledge.

If anything, her extremist approach makes the producers she supports look like they shouldn't be taken seriously.
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #82  Postby Eric Keating » May 13th 2010, 6:14pm

Wes Barton wrote:
Eric Keating wrote:Pencil lead can be an aroma. In fact, anything can. I know it's more commonplace to pick up pencil shavings, but pencil lead is definitely something I have picked up in wine before. In fact, when people mention 'pencil shavings' sometimes they are really smelling 'pencil lead'.


I use "graphite" for the former. For "pencil shavings", it would be the combination of the graphite, wood and paint, that I sometimes pick up in a wine.


You know, that really is the most accurate description (graphite). Maybe I will start doing that. Pencil lead to me is more specific and sensory-invoking than graphite, and that's why I've used it in the past.
To me, pencil shavings is the paint and wood only, the graphite really avoids most of the grinding in a pencil sharpener.
Sorry... that last sentence made me chuckle a little as I was typing it. I never thought I would get into a discussion about pencil shavings and pencil lead/graphite. Sensory in wine is a funny thing.
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #83  Postby Anthony Lombardi » May 13th 2010, 7:01pm

Idiocy knows no barriers. If you come off like an idiot, it doesn't matter about your gender, race , religion etc. Her post is sophomoric nonsense and further disinterests me from her book. Congratulations, you like austere wines, Jay likes big muscular wines and there is enough wine in the world to ignore both of them.
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #84  Postby G. D y e r » May 13th 2010, 7:43pm

Cris Whetstone wrote:
James Sanders wrote:I don't have a shred of doubt that much of the Alice bashing is gender motivated at least in part. Before she was banned from Squires board there was a slew of misogynist posts on one string from different posters and Squires was very slow to stop it.

Please point to one post that shows any hint of gender bias.

I think that such a quick claim in her response to the activity is a sign of weakness. Discuss and challenge everyone's arguments instead of claiming that all only have issues due to sex. Disappointing at the very least.


On one hand, the wine board world is decidedly male centered. Lots of egos smashing and clashing and so on. I could see it being a less than inviting place for women given the testosterone-charged environment.

But then you might say Parker is bashed because he is a man. Really it's his male ego, stubborn belief in the superiority of his palate, and boorish attitude that offend people. Most of the bashing is, uh, man on man, so to speak. Maybe there is some gender related component involved in Feiring bashing, but that would then also be true of Parker bashing.

The reality is she is not all that thick skinned. She's quick to dish criticism, often in broad strokes, but takes it personally if it comes back at her.
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #85  Postby M. Dildine » May 13th 2010, 8:37pm

James Sanders wrote: I don't have a shred of doubt that much of the Alice bashing is gender motivated at least in part. Before she was banned from Squires board there was a slew of misogynist posts on one string from different posters and Squires was very slow to stop it.


Yes James, you're absolutely correct. It's all misogyny.

That and the fact that she writes like a pretentious, egotistical twit.
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #86  Postby Al Osterheld » May 13th 2010, 9:39pm

people are criticizing Feiring for defining herself by what she does not like - exactly what this board has done from the start!

Actually, if you read the bashing thread you'll see that some of us leveled the same criticism over the past year at that aspect of this board. At this point, for most of the contributors, the board has now moved well beyond that beginning.

As far as the speculation that she's being bashed because she is not a man, the target of her piece (JM) has been bashed here much more frequently, and more rudely. The same holds for Parker, Squires, or Leve. I don't even think that many of the posts in this thread qualify as bashing. Certainly few if any of them qualify as bashing as much as her blog piece about Jay Miller. Why should he be fair game but she should have immunity?

If this thread has greatly increased the traffic to her blog, more power to her and I hope that she writes interesting pieces that retain her new readership.

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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #87  Postby jcoley3 » May 13th 2010, 10:04pm

James Sanders wrote:I don't have a shred of doubt that much of the Alice bashing is gender motivated at least in part. Before she was banned from Squires board there was a slew of misogynist posts on one string from different posters and Squires was very slow to stop it.


James,

Wow. So it's impossible to disagree with Alice Feiring without being sexist, as she implies?

I remember RMP suggesting anyone who disagreed with him did so out of a hatred of pleasure. It was a nice way to demonize and thereby never have to confront the merits of his critcs. Usually he would go for a bike ride afterwards.

Flip side. Same coin.
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #88  Postby James Sanders » May 13th 2010, 10:30pm

My comment was more directed towards prior attacks. Hence the reference to the Squires thread, which was a few years ago. Nor did I say that I thought bias was the sole reason or that everyone harbored it. I do think it's a factor in the level of venom. If you disagree, you're entitled to your opinion.
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #89  Postby GregT » May 14th 2010, 5:00am

Easiest claim in the world to make - they hate me because I'm a woman. Or because I'm four feet tall. Or have red hair. Or whatever other issues she has. And there's no way to disprove that, so anyone who criticizes her is a sexist pig.

And yet her own obsession with Parker is because of what?

Oh right. He's a man.

She hates Parker because he's a man. And an influential man. And a pretty big guy too. That's what it's all about.

I get how this works now. He only has influence because he's a man. And he's NEVER criticized by men because men stick together. So it takes someone with her courage, determination, fortitude, and intelligence to take him on. I wish I could find some criticism of Parker that was written by a man. Oh if only it existed somewhere.

FWIW, I did have the misfortune to read her horrible book. I didn't want to dislike it only because of the title, which was an attempt to cash in on someone else's name and to inflate her own importance. Now I can genuinely say that I disliked it because of the content.

We know that Jay has problems with his reviews. That's not news. His problem was that he liked a wine that she didn't. Or maybe she didn't like it because he did.

I guess it's sexist to say that her writing was neither clever nor informed. But she's not altogether that knowledgeable, at least from what she writes, and certainly her style isn't particularly clever.
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #90  Postby WvanGorp » May 14th 2010, 5:31am

I viewed it in a bit of a simplistic way and kind of thought it was funny.
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #91  Postby ChrisBeacham » May 14th 2010, 5:34am

Does anyone know where I can send a bill to Alice for driving all that traffic her way? Never did I think this would go where it went, but perhaps I didn't think enough.

Brian: I hope the inability to post more comments is a computer system glitch. I thought the back and forth between you and Alice was very informative -- both on the topic of the role of oak but also in explaining her take on wine.

I do wish she had left out the "would the attack had happened if I weren't female?" bit.

I still think her original post had validity. It wasn't earth shattering or particularly new but still....the absurdity of much of the glorious and over-the-top self-promotion of dubious winemaking techniques (special stainless steel tanks....rigggght) makes me [where is the rolling eyes smiley?] Special stainless steel tank + racked into new oak three times + small production + massive ego = $750/btl.

Case in Point Charlie Fu's thread on Georgeff Vineyards new $384 CA Pinot. viewtopic.php?f=1&t=22791
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #92  Postby Faryan Amir-Ghassem¡ » May 14th 2010, 5:51am

To veer back on topic, it appears that Ms. Feiring is fuming her frustration with the prototypical Parker style note. On its own, the criticism seems overzealous and unfounded. But perhaps if one reads the voluminous amount of TNs such as that which is being discussed, one would find a repetitive syntax and language used for wines that tend to score in the upper most quintile (opulent, ink, camphor, concentration, all the usual suspects...). I believe Ms. Feiring is lashing out at the compounding effect this has, as new startup boutiques (which this winery appears to be), blessed with undeniable talent at forging exceptional wine (as evinced by Mssr. Loring's experience with said wine*) tend to focus on certain stylistic approaches to appease a narrow band of the critic's rubric.

While I do not approve of the post as rational or meritorious, it seems to personify a trending sense of backlash towards these practices (as stated above).


*I have noted throughout the years that Mssr Loring gives laudatory tasting notes to big wines and am not surprised, when reading Dr Miller's note to find a confirmation of quality on Mssr Loring's end.
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #93  Postby Frank Drew » May 14th 2010, 6:08am

Mssr Loring? Mssr? Monsignor Loring? Monsieur Loring??

When did Mssr replace the simple old Mr.?
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #94  Postby Nathan V. » May 14th 2010, 6:13am

Brian Loring wrote:
H Wallace Jr wrote:I'm sure this is what gets her goat more than anything...
"Vina Sastre is a benchmark estate in Ribera del Duero. It is committed to organic farming and biodynamic principles with the wines naturally made"...

Why? While the "benchmark" comment is arguable (but I happen to agree), the rest is a statement of fact. I'm not a proponent of biodynamic farming, but it seems to works for Sastre and their Pesus. And just because a wine is big and bold, it doesn't mean that there was any "spoof". If someone wants to point at the 200% new oak as "un-natural", I disagree. It may be a bit extreme, but given that DRC uses 100% new oak on Pinot Noir, I don't see that 200% on incredibly (naturally) concentrated Tempranillo is that big a deal. And certainly within the bounds of natural winemaking (IMHO).

To me, it just seems that Alice doesn't like this style of wine. Nothing new there... she can get in line behind Eric Asimov, Matt Kramer, etc.


I've met Jesus Sastre a couple of times and like him quite a bit.

While the Pesus isn't my favorite of his wines (he makes an old school style riserva that I like much more) I don't think it is a dishonest wine. The price thing, well, what should it be? There really isn't much difference between a $500 bottle and a $750 bottle. The people that buy one would buy the other. I wouldn't buy either.

I'm not surprised that Alice hates it. It is a wine designed for her to hate as much as it is designed for a palate like Jay Millers.

RMP and JM don't even need to be mocked anymore, they are engaged in some sort of avant garde self referential performance art.
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #95  Postby wade g i d d e n s » May 14th 2010, 6:20am

Nathan V. wrote:RMP and JM don't even need to be mocked anymore, they are engaged in some sort of avant garde self referential performance art.


Hear, hear!
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #96  Postby Tim Burnett » May 14th 2010, 6:39am

H Wallace Jr wrote:
Tim Burnett wrote: I have no idea if she’s right because I’ve never read anything else out of her.

See this discussion, where many of us disagree and feel strongly, but aren’t insulting each other’s tastes or wine intelligence, is not something Alice Feiring is capable of, at least not the Alice Feiring that writes books and blogs.
How can you say this if you haven't read anything else from her?


I’ve read parts of the book, a bunch of columns (LA Times??) and check on the blog when it’s linked in bb threads like this one. By “anything else” I meant I’ve never read anything that wasn’t the same old shtick to know if she could command attention without it.

**
And the “if I were a man” comment = cop out.
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #97  Postby Michae1 P0wers » May 14th 2010, 7:02am

Like many here I have checked out Alice's writing from time to time because of a shared preference for certain styles of wine, but her overall tone is far too caustic. Of course, that has served her well in the publicity department. I mean here we all are talking about it. I thought it rude how RP throws stones in what should be rational discussions. I find it equally churlish from those who take the opposing view. Perhaps she saw this as a necessary means to battle the "establishment" but had she taken a longer view she could have simply sat back and waited for the Juggernaut to run out of steam I think.

Then you get to that gender comment. Really? So ridiculous. Redolent of a sort of uber-injurious view of feminism that is so passe. My whole advice for Ms. Feiring would be to take the heart of her message, her world wine-view, and remove it from the artifice of injury and insult, and that she would be far better served by the result.
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #98  Postby Bruce Leiser_owitz » May 14th 2010, 7:05am

The real issue I have with what she wrote is that it is essentially snark without substance. It is very, very easy to mock tasting notes, and JM certainly presents a juicy target. But as far as I can tell, Ms. Feiring has not tasted the wine in question, so her ALL CAPS snarky attack on the tasting note really isn't very substantive. Just as an example, why focus on the word "emit" and worry about whether JM learned to use that word from RP? Really, much ado about nothing.

I do find her "us versus them" mentality to be tiresome. It doesn't really promote an intelligent discussion of wine, and it makes the unwarranted assumption that either you like THIS style of wine or you like THAT style of wine. The real world is a lot more complicated.

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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #99  Postby GregT » May 14th 2010, 1:09pm

Thank you Michael and Bruce. That's the point isn't it. Whether it was written by a male or female or neutral is irrelevant.
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Re: Moral: Don't piss off Alice Feiring!

Post #100  Postby Mark Golodetz » May 14th 2010, 9:28pm

The original note is so ludicrous, it really did not need any parodying, but I did enjoy Alice's commentary. Caustic, mean spiried... absolutely. But always fun to read.

There is nothing new here; an inaccurate note by Miller, which even Brian Loring who gives gentle support to the critic, noted. Parker has given up a lot for his friend, Big Jay. Plenty of credibility, not to mention a valuable BB. Seems to me that so long as he writes this kind of crap in the Advocate, he is fair game.
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