Censorship by Huet?

Tasting notes, varietals, grapes - anything related to wine
Message
Author
Panos Kakaviatos
Posts: 1178
Joined: July 6th, 2009, 11:36 am
Location: Strasbourg, France

Censorship by Huet?

#101 Post by Panos Kakaviatos » February 19th, 2014, 3:09 am

Let me join the chorus to sing praise of both Jim and Chris as excellent writers and critics of wine.
They are passionate, measured and informative in their writing.
As for the team at Huet, much less can be said for them in their move here other than to call this a very clear case of terrible PR.
Wine writers always get their share of wineries getting peeved with them when they write negative reviews. But winery reps could send an e-mail to invite the writer in question to re-visit the wine. Or to question the writer's conclusions. Or even post on their own website about the critique(s).
But to ban evidently highly qualified people like Jim and Chris always backfires.

[smileyvault-ban.gif] NON!
I am mainly based in Europe, and thanks for reading wine-chronicles(.)com

User avatar
Bill Klapp (deactivated)
Posts: 5039
Joined: June 27th, 2009, 12:50 am
Location: Neive, Italy and Burgundy, France

Censorship by Huet?

#102 Post by Bill Klapp (deactivated) » February 19th, 2014, 4:08 am

Jay Miller wrote:
Bill Klapp wrote:
Brad Kane wrote:
For clarification, upon the sale of the domaine in 2003, Pinguet retained all the stock from 1921-1975 as well as the '89s. The Hwangs own everything else.
Then the Hwangs do not own much worth drinking and need to redouble the focus and effort on keeping Huet among the world's great wine estates. And avoiding pissing people off along the way. Richard, that news blows my mind. From where I sit, the Hwangs got their pockets picked...
I must disagree with this. Vintages such as 1990, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2002 (when not premoxed) are classics.
I am inclined to recant on this (but only for you, Jay, since I see that Brennan has been given a timeout above :) ) , having noticed that I have the 2009, 2005, 2002 and 1997 Cuvee Constance in my cellar!

I could probably quibble about use of the term "classic" for the vintages mentioned, save the Constance, as I would have trouble putting anything post-1989 in the pantheon of the great Huet moelleux from the last century, and there is clearly no pressing demand for even the best Huet wines from any of those vintages, but it does go too far to say that the wines are not worth drinking. My point, better stated, would be that I would let the wines of the 5 vintages that you mention go in a heartbeat if I got to keep the 1989s and everything pre-1975, especially since there were no legendary Huet wines produced between 1989 and 1971 (something that should not go unnoticed by the new owners as they go forward and experience some hard vintages). Seems to me that one 1989 Constance or 1947, 1945 or 1935 Le Haut-Lieu moelleux figures to be worth case quantities, if not pallets, of some post-1989 Huet sec and demi-sec wines. Also, for the secs and demi-secs, I am not sure that Huet has made wines as good as Chidaine's for a good while, although both, along with Foreau, are surely competitive at the top of the sec and demi-sec heaps. For those of you old enough to remember "Hill Street Blues"...Huet, let's be careful out there!

User avatar
D@vid Bu3ker
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 33146
Joined: February 14th, 2009, 8:06 am
Location: Connecticut

Censorship by Huet?

#103 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » February 19th, 2014, 4:46 am

Jim Brennan wrote:
Todd F r e n c h wrote:Jim and Zach, take your quibble offline - it doesn't belong here. You've both reported each other, and while they are not actually personal attacks, it's a fight, and doesn't need to be hashed out here.
Fair enough Todd. I would hate for this to turn into a thread about spelling, grammar, and pedantry. :)
Exactly - there's an entirely different wine board for that! ;)
David Bueker - Rieslingfan

Michae1 P0wers
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 4118
Joined: March 6th, 2010, 1:47 pm
Location: St. Louis

Censorship by Huet?

#104 Post by Michae1 P0wers » February 19th, 2014, 4:50 am

To apologize for Huet when they punish two of the leading critics of the region, at least for the english-speaking markets, by pointing at the Baumard fiasco, makes it no less of an affront to journalistic integrity. Compared to that story this was, if anything, a chance for Huet to take an even clearer step away from Baumard. Baumard was clearly using manipulative technique in a bad vintage to produce large quantities of wines that would reasonably pass for their top wines as they used to be. No one hinted that Huet had done any such thing. If anything, this move makes them look far more suspect in that regard. It raises the specter that they have more to hide. Or at best they just punish any critic who doesn't like a couple of their wines in a single vintage, in which case they just look like fools and as***oles.

Peter Hirdt
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 229
Joined: February 6th, 2011, 6:56 am

Censorship by Huet?

#105 Post by Peter Hirdt » February 19th, 2014, 5:30 am

Michael Powers wrote:To apologize for Huet when they punish two of the leading critics of the region, at least for the english-speaking markets, by pointing at the Baumard fiasco, makes it no less of an affront to journalistic integrity.
Of course this is true. To take it one step further, why should Huet need an apologist in the first place? They have a web page, a Facebook page, and a Twitter feed (although the latter has been dormant for a while). Until a few days ago, I would also have assumed they have a media relations representative on staff, but as we have seen that part is somewhat in doubt.

Regardless, Huet can surely speak for itself on this matter if it so chooses. The silence speaks as loudly as the initial wrongheaded actions.

User avatar
Brad Kane
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 5173
Joined: March 4th, 2009, 6:24 pm
Location: NYC

Censorship by Huet?

#106 Post by Brad Kane » February 19th, 2014, 7:54 am

Bill Klapp wrote:
Jay Miller wrote:
Bill Klapp wrote:
Then the Hwangs do not own much worth drinking and need to redouble the focus and effort on keeping Huet among the world's great wine estates. And avoiding pissing people off along the way. Richard, that news blows my mind. From where I sit, the Hwangs got their pockets picked...
I must disagree with this. Vintages such as 1990, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2002 (when not premoxed) are classics.
I am inclined to recant on this (but only for you, Jay, since I see that Brennan has been given a timeout above :) ) , having noticed that I have the 2009, 2005, 2002 and 1997 Cuvee Constance in my cellar!

I could probably quibble about use of the term "classic" for the vintages mentioned, save the Constance, as I would have trouble putting anything post-1989 in the pantheon of the great Huet moelleux from the last century, and there is clearly no pressing demand for even the best Huet wines from any of those vintages, but it does go too far to say that the wines are not worth drinking. My point, better stated, would be that I would let the wines of the 5 vintages that you mention go in a heartbeat if I got to keep the 1989s and everything pre-1975, especially since there were no legendary Huet wines produced between 1989 and 1971 (something that should not go unnoticed by the new owners as they go forward and experience some hard vintages). Seems to me that one 1989 Constance or 1947, 1945 or 1935 Le Haut-Lieu moelleux figures to be worth case quantities, if not pallets, of some post-1989 Huet sec and demi-sec wines. Also, for the secs and demi-secs, I am not sure that Huet has made wines as good as Chidaine's for a good while, although both, along with Foreau, are surely competitive at the top of the sec and demi-sec heaps. For those of you old enough to remember "Hill Street Blues"...Huet, let's be careful out there!
Bill, I think you're perhaps waxing a bit poetic about vintages of old and not giving the vintages post '89 their due. The Moelleux and sweeter from '90, '95, '96, '97, '05, '08 and '09 are stellar and I would easily include the '09s right up there in the top ten, maybe top eight, of the past 100 years. The '08 demi-secs, along with '02s prior to premox, were certainly in the top tier of demi-secs. The secs, admittedly, are in a very different style than they have been in the past as their sugar levels tend to be more in what was traditionally considered demi-sec range and their alcohol levels are much higher. While Chidaine and Foreau have also been making great wine and I'm big fans of both, I think saying they've been making better wine than Huet lately is a bit of an overstatement, but ymmv.

Btw, a word about Huets '89s. While, I too, find them absolutely stellar, indeed the '89 Cuvee Constance may be my favorite wine of all time, as has been reported frequently, they're a minefield due to an unfortunate high rate of tca taint. My personal experience with them has been over 30% corked. Some have reported a higher rate.
itb.

User avatar
Bill Klapp (deactivated)
Posts: 5039
Joined: June 27th, 2009, 12:50 am
Location: Neive, Italy and Burgundy, France

Censorship by Huet?

#107 Post by Bill Klapp (deactivated) » February 19th, 2014, 8:01 am

Brad, you could be right, but with some of the wines in question, I am one of those guys who needs the jury to stay out a while on wines that have demonstrated the capacity to age 50-100 years. (Not surprising for somebody whose cellar is half Nebbiolo!) I am sure that I am right about relative availability and pricing of young vs. old. And as to the secs and demi-secs, i am not saying that Huet has gone to hell, but rather, only that Chidaine and Foreau are making wines every bit as good as Huet's, and surely sometimes better. I do not welcome the Huet shift in sec style, although I am sure that many do...

Michael Lewis
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 1109
Joined: June 11th, 2011, 11:05 am
Location: Washington DC

Censorship by Huet?

#108 Post by Michael Lewis » February 19th, 2014, 8:07 am

Bill Klapp wrote:I do not welcome the Huet shift in sec style, although I am sure that many do...
Noel Pinguet doesn't either! [stirthepothal.gif]
Michael Lewis
Twitter: @MichaelLewisDC
Instagram: michaellewisdc

User avatar
Brad Kane
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 5173
Joined: March 4th, 2009, 6:24 pm
Location: NYC

Censorship by Huet?

#109 Post by Brad Kane » February 19th, 2014, 8:14 am

Bill Klapp wrote:Brad, you could be right, but with some of the wines in question, I am one of those guys who needs the jury to stay out a while on wines that have demonstrated the capacity to age 50-100 years.
I think the jury is out on this one simply because the wines aren't sulfured as heavily as they used to be.
itb.

User avatar
Z. A c s a n
Posts: 313
Joined: December 19th, 2012, 11:26 am

Censorship by Huet?

#110 Post by Z. A c s a n » February 19th, 2014, 9:05 am

Michael Powers wrote:To apologize for Huet when they punish two of the leading critics of the region, at least for the english-speaking markets, by pointing at the Baumard fiasco, makes it no less of an affront to journalistic integrity. Compared to that story this was, if anything, a chance for Huet to take an even clearer step away from Baumard. Baumard was clearly using manipulative technique in a bad vintage to produce large quantities of wines that would reasonably pass for their top wines as they used to be. No one hinted that Huet had done any such thing. If anything, this move makes them look far more suspect in that regard. It raises the specter that they have more to hide. Or at best they just punish any critic who doesn't like a couple of their wines in a single vintage, in which case they just look like fools and as***oles.
The Baumard fiasco was mentioned because of the comment from Chris that reflected his puzzlement at being asked whether he had taken photographs of the Huet estate. Was the quizzing about photos really nonsensical, when framed in the biggest local drama of the past year? Given the fact that the Baumard witch hunt began with Jim Budd using a series of vineyard photos to make his case against Dom. Baumard, and this story took place just last year in the very same small region, and it appears that only the two journalists that gave the Baumard story legs are being singled out here; are those facts all just coincidental to Chris being asked if he had taken photos of the Huet estate?

Maybe, maybe not. But when everyone here seems to be scratching their collective heads about the 'why', it seems reasonable to step back and look at what exactly caused such a strong reaction from Dom. Huet. Fear can certainly be a cause of irrational and ill-considered behavior. If the Dom. was truly concerned about managing critic's comments, why single out just these two journalists? Other writers that attended the same event were allowed to taste the wines and comment as they pleased.

It wasn't just any critic two critics being punished here, it was the two critics most closely associated with what may have felt to some locals, like an unrelenting campaign to knock one of its best known Domaines down a peg or two. A Domaine, likewise at the top of the local food chain, very well may harbor fears that they will be the next victim of such treatment. Such fear would likely be amplified for a foreign investor, in a place where outsiders aren't always welcomed with open arms.

I'm certainly not apologizing for what Dom. Huet did, as there can be no doubt this was very poorly handled. I am trying to understand what elicited such a strong reaction from Dom. Huet. Perhaps if you had just spent a lot of money to buy a legendary brand and you were handed a couple of challenging vintages to start, you might very well be hyper-vigilant in trying in trying to protect your investment? Absent clarification from the Dom., or some solid investigative reporting, we are all left to speculate and wonder why these two journalists were snubbed.
Either way, it sounds like Z e e

User avatar
Chris Blum
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 9244
Joined: October 10th, 2009, 1:40 pm
Location: Home of the Mayo Clinic

Censorship by Huet?

#111 Post by Chris Blum » February 19th, 2014, 9:54 am

Z. A c s a n wrote: . Was the quizzing about photos really nonsensical, when framed in the biggest local drama of the past year?
Yes, it was nonsensical and paranoid. And pointless -- If memory serves, anyone can drive 300 meters up past the winery and take as many vineyard pictures as they want.

Z. A c s a n wrote:....the Baumard witch hunt
hmmm. I would not describe the reporting in those terms.
Z. A c s a n wrote:Fear can certainly be a cause of irrational and ill-considered behavior.
I think we all agree on this. Glad to see you think this is "irrational and ill-considered behavior" Totally agree.
Z. A c s a n wrote: If the Dom. was truly concerned about managing critic's comments, why single out just these two journalists? Other writers that attended the same event were allowed to taste the wines and comment as they pleased.
I'm forced to assume that it is because she does not understand how ham-handed her efforts are.
Z. A c s a n wrote:I'm certainly not apologizing for what Dom. Huet did, as there can be no doubt this was very poorly handled.
Glad you are making this clear because most people would read your earlier postings and assume you were being an apologist.
Z. A c s a n wrote: I am trying to understand what elicited such a strong reaction from Dom. Huet. Perhaps if you had just spent a lot of money to buy a legendary brand and you were handed a couple of challenging vintages to start, you might very well be hyper-vigilant in trying in trying to protect your investment? Absent clarification from the Dom., or some solid investigative reporting, we are all left to speculate and wonder why these two journalists were snubbed.
To mutilate a quote..."hyper-vigilance in the defense of moelleux is no vice"? neener Sometimes smart people do stupid things. This was a stupid thing. The reasoning behind it ultimately doesn't matter. It shows a glaring lack of maturity and wisdom on the part of Ms. Hwang.
"Well, wine only turns into alcohol if you let it sit" -- Lucille Bluth
"The Packers f'n suck" -- Todd French

User avatar
John D. Zuccarino
Posts: 1002
Joined: February 8th, 2009, 12:43 pm
Location: Finger Lakes Seneca Lake NYS

Censorship by Huet?

#112 Post by John D. Zuccarino » February 19th, 2014, 10:09 am

I admonish the reviewers if they did not taste blind before they went polemic ...

To taste blind to resolve issues is the highest form of resolution I know of ... The truth in blind tastings ...

So to be fair I would like a response from the new owners before I throw daggers at them ... I also would like to say that to complain publically lamenting about the snub without submitting your skills to tasting blind over the vintages in question ... Is premature to judge, when the true fault may be in fact the reviewer -s at hand and their biased opinion to the new owners... I truly do believe we need to temper judgement until all the facts have been taken into account ...
"if I cannot move heaven I will raise hell"

Virgil's Aeneid...Hell must have frozen over, somehow I am a Donor


John D. Zuccarino

Silver Springs Winery L.L.C.


AKA Don Giovanni Wines tm.

User avatar
Peter Tryba
Posts: 3145
Joined: March 25th, 2009, 6:55 pm
Location: Newton, MA

Censorship by Huet?

#113 Post by Peter Tryba » February 19th, 2014, 12:18 pm

Z. A c s a n wrote:My prediction is that a year from now none of this will matter at all and Dom. Huet will still be considered an elite winery - even if they did snub two journalists.
More like next week.
ITB
kidney fund: youcaring.com

User avatar
Jim Brennan
Posts: 4553
Joined: April 17th, 2009, 6:10 pm
Location: People's Republic of Illinois

Censorship by Huet?

#114 Post by Jim Brennan » February 19th, 2014, 12:46 pm

Chris Blum wrote:
Z. A c s a n wrote: . Was the quizzing about photos really nonsensical, when framed in the biggest local drama of the past year?
Yes, it was nonsensical and paranoid. And pointless -- If memory serves, anyone can drive 300 meters up past the winery and take as many vineyard pictures as they want.
It was pointed out multiple times in the thread that the photos weren't all that relevant. I can only imagine that he's continued to beat that horse because he thinks it's a good distraction from the weather data, other QdC producer yields, etc, that indicates that it was highly unlikely that Baumard achieved the required yields.

User avatar
Peter Metzger
Posts: 835
Joined: June 19th, 2009, 7:09 pm
Location: NYC

Censorship by Huet?

#115 Post by Peter Metzger » February 19th, 2014, 2:30 pm

Not sure if it's kosher to copy from another wine board (not erp), but here are Neal Martin's somewhat contrary thoughts on this issue (if this is inappropriate, I ask the "powers that be" to delete this please):

I agree that Huet should have acted more professionally towards Chris, who has always had a level-headed view towards Huet and indeed other growers. From a PR perspective, why not arrange a blind tasting of offending wines to see if Chris came to the same conclusions and if so, to accept and act upon them. Chris obviously cares about the domaine and wants them to do well - he's not in the business of trashing for publicity. They should recognise that.

At the same time, I respect the right of a winemaker not to show their wines to whoever they choose. No wine-writer has a divine right to taste whatever they want, myself included. Some writers (not Chris I might add) appear to believe that is the case. I've witnessed a couple of infantile strops down in cellars when (insert well-known scribe) has been politely informed that the wine is not available for tasting.

It's easy to chastise Sarah Hwang for the way she acted but supposing she put her heart and soul into those wines that are subsequently disparaged. Is it so easy to put your emotions to one side and act rationally on the spur of the moment? Remember when you yourself might have been on the wrong end of criticism, even if, as I think it was in this case, well-founded. What was your reaction?

I'm not defending the way she acted, but I can understand it. I hope that she is given the chance to put her side of the case forward. At the end of the day, the truth will be in the wines.

Rgds
Neal
Peter

User avatar
Z. A c s a n
Posts: 313
Joined: December 19th, 2012, 11:26 am

Censorship by Huet?

#116 Post by Z. A c s a n » February 19th, 2014, 2:35 pm

Jim Brennan wrote:
Chris Blum wrote:
Z. A c s a n wrote: . Was the quizzing about photos really nonsensical, when framed in the biggest local drama of the past year?
Yes, it was nonsensical and paranoid. And pointless -- If memory serves, anyone can drive 300 meters up past the winery and take as many vineyard pictures as they want.
It was pointed out multiple times in the thread that the photos weren't all that relevant. I can only imagine that he's continued to beat that horse because he thinks it's a good distraction from the weather data, other QdC producer yields, etc, that indicates that it was highly unlikely that Baumard achieved the required yields.
You still don't get it. The point was not made to hash out the details previously debated during the whole Baumard debacle, but rather, it was to hazard a guess as to what the Ms. Hwang was getting at with her pointed quizzing of Chris about taking photos of the Huet vineyard. The photos of Dom. Baumard vineyards (closeup shots of the fruit - not tourist photos) by Jim Budd were not the entirety of the case he was trying to make, but it was one very important and visually impactful element that seems possibly related to why she might have felt compelled to ask Chris about taking photos. Why else would she care about such things?
Either way, it sounds like Z e e

User avatar
Chris Blum
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 9244
Joined: October 10th, 2009, 1:40 pm
Location: Home of the Mayo Clinic

Censorship by Huet?

#117 Post by Chris Blum » February 19th, 2014, 2:44 pm

With respect to Neal; I think he gets this one a bit wrong.

First, this was not an emotional spur-of-the-moment action. She had months to talk herself out of this silliness.

Secondly, putting your wine out there and having people comment is a universally accepted part of the deal. You don't get to enjoy the praise in good times and avoid the criticism in bad times. She needs to put on her big boy pants and understand that she is running (badly) a flagship winery and international brand.

Finally, nobody is putting a gun to Sarah Hwang's head and forcing her to provide samples to a critic. But this was a "public" tasting wherein all of the other folks who were invited got to taste the wines. This just smacked of petulance and amateurism.
"Well, wine only turns into alcohol if you let it sit" -- Lucille Bluth
"The Packers f'n suck" -- Todd French

Richard Malloy
Posts: 601
Joined: May 24th, 2011, 11:20 am

Censorship by Huet?

#118 Post by Richard Malloy » February 19th, 2014, 3:31 pm

Peter Tryba wrote:
Z. A c s a n wrote:My prediction is that a year from now none of this will matter at all and Dom. Huet will still be considered an elite winery - even if they did snub two journalists.
More like next week.
Peter and Z., I haven't purchased Huet since the 2010 vintage. Since then, I've only been buying Huet library releases (95s and 96s most recently), more '10 demis and secs when I can find them, as well as more '09 moelleux. I even passed on Noel's last vintage, preferring to spend my clams on his last "great" vintages. Again, let me repeat: Huet remains my second largest holding.

But as far as I'm concerned, Huet at this stage is a very large question mark. I think Bill's comments regarding Giacosa are instructive, though I suspect the impact here is somewhat mitigated due to Huet being (arguably) better known, having wider distribution, producing a greater volume of wine (even in the lean years), and having more moderate pricing. So the fall certainly couldn't be as quick and dramatic, but that's a far cry from being an impossibility.

Add in the Hwang's much publicized intent to concentrate on Secs, even if that doesn't seem to have occurred as yet (and which I think is the accepted reason for Noel's departure, or at least among the most important factors), and many of we longtime buyers have been harboring some serious questions about the trajectory of this domaine for some time now.

If I'm not mistaken, I believe Muller-Catoir took more than merely a critical hit when Hans-Gunther Schwarz retired, though I have no idea if their sales were actually impacted. Again, all the mitigating factors (MC is smaller, less distribution, etc.), but transitions like this strike me as being incredibly significant.

I'd argue this episode has intensified all these concerns, at least in the English speaking wine world. And having read Chris rather religiously over the years - prior to the paywall - I recall reading his own expressions of concern about Huet's direction. Interesting intrigue about the photographs, Baumard, etc., but it seems to me that the Hwangs simply don't like the public expression of doubt regarding their stewardship and direction.

And instead of addressing those doubts, they attempt to stifle them? Like I said, my concern is only intensified. My doubts have only grown. And if this little episode is intended as a warning shot to wine critics, then one can rest assured that I'll be reading all future reviews by the "non banned" reviewers with more than a little suspicion. I won't trust them, just as I don't trust the Hwangs.

Which brings us to Neal Martin, who seems to have misread the whole situation. Nothing at all spur of the moment here that I can see. Rather pre-meditated by all accounts. I'm not familiar with Neal's writing and so haven't developed any degree of trust in him as a wine reviewer, but I suspect he's an intelligent guy who can read these accounts as well as any of us, so I'm inclined to file his statements under the category of "Sucking up to the Hwangs".

User avatar
John D. Zuccarino
Posts: 1002
Joined: February 8th, 2009, 12:43 pm
Location: Finger Lakes Seneca Lake NYS

Censorship by Huet?

#119 Post by John D. Zuccarino » February 19th, 2014, 3:34 pm

Peter Metzger wrote:Not sure if it's kosher to copy from another wine board (not erp), but here are Neal Martin's somewhat contrary thoughts on this issue (if this is inappropriate, I ask the "powers that be" to delete this please):

I agree that Huet should have acted more professionally towards Chris, who has always had a level-headed view towards Huet and indeed other growers. From a PR perspective, why not arrange a blind tasting of offending wines to see if Chris came to the same conclusions and if so, to accept and act upon them. Chris obviously cares about the domaine and wants them to do well - he's not in the business of trashing for publicity. They should recognise that.

At the same time, I respect the right of a winemaker not to show their wines to whoever they choose. No wine-writer has a divine right to taste whatever they want, myself included. Some writers (not Chris I might add) appear to believe that is the case. I've witnessed a couple of infantile strops down in cellars when (insert well-known scribe) has been politely informed that the wine is not available for tasting.

It's easy to chastise Sarah Hwang for the way she acted but supposing she put her heart and soul into those wines that are subsequently disparaged. Is it so easy to put your emotions to one side and act rationally on the spur of the moment? Remember when you yourself might have been on the wrong end of criticism, even if, as I think it was in this case, well-founded. What was your reaction?

I'm not defending the way she acted, but I can understand it. I hope that she is given the chance to put her side of the case forward. At the end of the day, the truth will be in the wines.

Rgds
Neal

+1
Peter Metzger wrote:Not sure if it's kosher to copy from another wine board (not erp), but here are Neal Martin's somewhat contrary thoughts on this issue (if this is inappropriate, I ask the "powers that be" to delete this please):

I agree that Huet should have acted more professionally towards Chris, who has always had a level-headed view towards Huet and indeed other growers. From a PR perspective, why not arrange a blind tasting of offending wines to see if Chris came to the same conclusions and if so, to accept and act upon them. Chris obviously cares about the domaine and wants them to do well - he's not in the business of trashing for publicity. They should recognise that.

At the same time, I respect the right of a winemaker not to show their wines to whoever they choose. No wine-writer has a divine right to taste whatever they want, myself included. Some writers (not Chris I might add) appear to believe that is the case. I've witnessed a couple of infantile strops down in cellars when (insert well-known scribe) has been politely informed that the wine is not available for tasting.

It's easy to chastise Sarah Hwang for the way she acted but supposing she put her heart and soul into those wines that are subsequently disparaged. Is it so easy to put your emotions to one side and act rationally on the spur of the moment? Remember when you yourself might have been on the wrong end of criticism, even if, as I think it was in this case, well-founded. What was your reaction?

I'm not defending the way she acted, but I can understand it. I hope that she is given the chance to put her side of the case forward. At the end of the day, the truth will be in the wines.

Rgds
Neal

In agree with Neal and on that BB noted that ... His idea the resolution of the wine done blind is what I have come to preach this very year ... Blind tastings, especially with regard to poorly scored wines-vintages need to be given this one last honest chance to show if biased disdain is seeping into the scores-reviews as I suspect ...


This sums it all up and I agree with this statement as the purest form of truth ...
__________________
Mauss Francois

GJE

"Whatever is said about the necessity to avoid sometimes blind tastings, most of the time the reasons behind are simply to "protect" our tiny confidence in our own capacity to judge clearly a wine and accepting the results".
"if I cannot move heaven I will raise hell"

Virgil's Aeneid...Hell must have frozen over, somehow I am a Donor


John D. Zuccarino

Silver Springs Winery L.L.C.


AKA Don Giovanni Wines tm.

User avatar
Nowell Karten
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 682
Joined: April 29th, 2010, 1:12 am
Location: Los Angeles

Censorship by Huet?

#120 Post by Nowell Karten » February 19th, 2014, 3:52 pm

I'm disappointed by the lack of outrage from other professional wine critics, regarding Huet's granting access to only those who praise. If, in solidarity, significant critics/publications boycotted reviewing Huet's wines, would Huet's position change?

Of course, if Huet's position did not change, then the readers/subscribers to these boycotting-publications would be left without reviews on which they might previously have based buying decisions; if these readers then cancelled their subscriptions, it might suggest that the publications, at least in the short term, need access to the wines more than a famous producer needs professional reviews.
In the little moment that remains to us between the crisis and the catastrophe,...

User avatar
A S K R O B A C K
Posts: 2562
Joined: June 3rd, 2009, 9:44 am
Location: NYC

Censorship by Huet?

#121 Post by A S K R O B A C K » February 19th, 2014, 3:58 pm

Z. A c s a n wrote:
Another comment by Chris caught my attention:

"In the culmination of what felt like a long conversation, but which probably lasted mere minutes, I was accused (after stating that I will always write for my subscribers first and foremost) of “using” Domaine Huet merely to build Winedoctor subscriber numbers."

..... Chris may be not be "using" the winery with anything but the noblest of intention, but it still remains true that having Huet content available has driven readers (now subscribers) to his site. There is nothing nefarious about such actions, but is it really completely unfair to say he used the Domaine to help build subscriber numbers? Given Huet's elevated status in the Loire, is it hard to imagine some are even willing to pay Chris just for his Huet coverage?

Intentions and perceptions are often two very different things.
Seriously? All due respect, but that seems incredibly specious. By that argument, every critic "uses" what they review. Roger Ebert - that bastard! Silly argument.
d r e w s k r o b a c k

User avatar
Jim Brennan
Posts: 4553
Joined: April 17th, 2009, 6:10 pm
Location: People's Republic of Illinois

Censorship by Huet?

#122 Post by Jim Brennan » February 19th, 2014, 4:52 pm

Z. A c s a n wrote: You still don't get it. The point was not made to hash out the details previously debated during the whole Baumard debacle, but rather, it was to hazard a guess as to what the Ms. Hwang was getting at with her pointed quizzing of Chris about taking photos of the Huet vineyard. The photos of Dom. Baumard vineyards (closeup shots of the fruit - not tourist photos) by Jim Budd were not the entirety of the case he was trying to make, but it was one very important and visually impactful element that seems possibly related to why she might have felt compelled to ask Chris about taking photos. Why else would she care about such things?
Possible... yes... but ultimately, but it's just a wild assed guess on your part. As evidenced by the Baumard thread, virtually everyone immediately discounted photographic evidence as purely anecdotal and pretty much meaningless in the first few posts. Hence, I think Chris Blum put it as well as anyone... Sarah Hwang's inquiry about whether Chris took photos seems nonsensical and paranoid.

User avatar
Brian G r a f s t r o m
Posts: 18182
Joined: February 3rd, 2009, 12:54 am
Location: westside

Censorship by Huet?

#123 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m » February 19th, 2014, 5:04 pm

Chris Blum wrote:With respect to Neal; I think he gets this one a bit wrong.

First, this was not an emotional spur-of-the-moment action. She had months to talk herself out of this silliness.

Secondly, putting your wine out there and having people comment is a universally accepted part of the deal. You don't get to enjoy the praise in good times and avoid the criticism in bad times. She needs to put on her big boy pants and understand that she is running (badly) a flagship winery and international brand.

Finally, nobody is putting a gun to Sarah Hwang's head and forcing her to provide samples to a critic. But this was a "public" tasting wherein all of the other folks who were invited got to taste the wines. This just smacked of petulance and amateurism.
[thumbs-up.gif]
Los Angeles Workers' Compensation and Personal Injury

“All these characters spend their time explaining themselves, and happily recognizing that they hold the same opinions … how important they consider it to think the same things all together.” --- A.R.

CT handle: grafstrb

Ian Fitzsimmons
Posts: 2900
Joined: August 3rd, 2010, 7:17 am

Censorship by Huet?

#124 Post by Ian Fitzsimmons » February 19th, 2014, 5:10 pm

Sarah seems rather young; '12 was her first year, and she's filling big boots. I agree with the consensus that her behavior was wrong-headed, but it's an easy mistake for a young person to make, especially when under a lot of pressure. There's really only so much you can say about it. I hope she learns from the experience and finds a way to repair the situation.

Chris and Jim are big boys and not seriously harmed, though some act of contrition towards them would help make things right.

Tom G l a s g o w
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 4696
Joined: February 19th, 2010, 2:01 pm

Censorship by Huet?

#125 Post by Tom G l a s g o w » February 19th, 2014, 5:34 pm

John D. Zuccarino wrote:I admonish the reviewers if they did not taste blind before they went polemic ...

To taste blind to resolve issues is the highest form of resolution I know of ... The truth in blind tastings ...

So to be fair I would like a response from the new owners before I throw daggers at them ... I also would like to say that to complain publically lamenting about the snub without submitting your skills to tasting blind over the vintages in question ... Is premature to judge, when the true fault may be in fact the reviewer -s at hand and their biased opinion to the new owners... I truly do believe we need to temper judgement until all the facts have been taken into account ...
This was an open tasting, how can you taste blind at the wineries table? You and Ascan are confused they aren't new owners.

Tom G l a s g o w
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 4696
Joined: February 19th, 2010, 2:01 pm

Censorship by Huet?

#126 Post by Tom G l a s g o w » February 19th, 2014, 5:50 pm

Jim Brennan wrote:
Z. A c s a n wrote: You still don't get it. The point was not made to hash out the details previously debated during the whole Baumard debacle, but rather, it was to hazard a guess as to what the Ms. Hwang was getting at with her pointed quizzing of Chris about taking photos of the Huet vineyard. The photos of Dom. Baumard vineyards (closeup shots of the fruit - not tourist photos) by Jim Budd were not the entirety of the case he was trying to make, but it was one very important and visually impactful element that seems possibly related to why she might have felt compelled to ask Chris about taking photos. Why else would she care about such things?
Possible... yes... but ultimately, but it's just a wild assed guess on your part. As evidenced by the Baumard thread, virtually everyone immediately discounted photographic evidence as purely anecdotal and pretty much meaningless in the first few posts. Hence, I think Chris Blum put it as well as anyone... Sarah Hwang's inquiry about whether Chris took photos seems nonsensical and paranoid.
Huet only needs to paranoid about grape photos if they're taking demi-sec or moellux grapes and making sec wine.

User avatar
Humberto Dorta
Contributor
Contributor
Posts: 3004
Joined: February 4th, 2009, 11:55 am
Location: Meadville, PA

Censorship by Huet?

#127 Post by Humberto Dorta » February 19th, 2014, 6:02 pm

They should be more paranoid about dumb decisions by the new owners....
--Berto

Tom G l a s g o w
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 4696
Joined: February 19th, 2010, 2:01 pm

Censorship by Huet?

#128 Post by Tom G l a s g o w » February 19th, 2014, 6:20 pm

Humberto Dorta wrote:They should be more paranoid about dumb decisions by the new owners....
They're not new owners. They are new at being in total control of the winemaking.

Nathan L
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 53
Joined: May 11th, 2011, 7:07 pm

Censorship by Huet?

#129 Post by Nathan L » February 19th, 2014, 6:43 pm

In response to Neal Martin: She is a businesswoman, so yes. She should not react to a professional based on her emotions. I imagine each of us at the top of any sort of business have had people questions us/our business. If you react in the way that Ms. Hwang did, to a fellow professional non-the-less, you should expect the kind of public discontent expressed in this thread. The validity of Ms. Hwang's emotions are not the point here (despite the fact that based on the current evidence I would argue with them). The fact that she expressed them in the way she did is the problem. If we reverse the situation and Chris waxed poetic about the atrocity of her behavior, many of us would think differently about his assertions regardless of their truth based on his emotional response...so yes, I will avoid purchasing her wines as those that have this reaction to others often have these reactions to others with which they associate and have far more interaction than a 15 minute tasting once a year
N Lambright

User avatar
John D. Zuccarino
Posts: 1002
Joined: February 8th, 2009, 12:43 pm
Location: Finger Lakes Seneca Lake NYS

Censorship by Huet?

#130 Post by John D. Zuccarino » February 19th, 2014, 7:04 pm

Tom G l a s g o w wrote:
John D. Zuccarino wrote:I admonish the reviewers if they did not taste blind before they went polemic ...

To taste blind to resolve issues is the highest form of resolution I know of ... The truth in blind tastings ...

So to be fair I would like a response from the new owners before I throw daggers at them ... I also would like to say that to complain publically lamenting about the snub without submitting your skills to tasting blind over the vintages in question ... Is premature to judge, when the true fault may be in fact the reviewer -s at hand and their biased opinion to the new owners... I truly do believe we need to temper judgement until all the facts have been taken into account ...
This was an open tasting, how can you taste blind at the wineries table? You and Ascan are confused they aren't new owners.

You don't .. You set up a professional tasting blind to see if what was tasted scored the same ... It's that easy , then you have the truth about the wine-vintage in question ... It's only fair t the producer to know that the wine was scored honestly ... Blind is the only way to end or intensify the issue ... That's is the point ...
"if I cannot move heaven I will raise hell"

Virgil's Aeneid...Hell must have frozen over, somehow I am a Donor


John D. Zuccarino

Silver Springs Winery L.L.C.


AKA Don Giovanni Wines tm.

Panos Kakaviatos
Posts: 1178
Joined: July 6th, 2009, 11:36 am
Location: Strasbourg, France

Censorship by Huet?

#131 Post by Panos Kakaviatos » February 20th, 2014, 2:55 am

Chris Blum wrote: Finally, nobody is putting a gun to Sarah Hwang's head and forcing her to provide samples to a critic. But this was a "public" tasting wherein all of the other folks who were invited got to taste the wines. This just smacked of petulance and amateurism.
The above is a very important distinction between, say, Figeac not having sent samples or allowed Robert Parker to taste their wines in recent vintages - a one-to-one relationship - where it was rather clear the Parker did not like the style at Figeac and Figeac did not like Parker's critiques. I see Neal's point about no "divine rights" for any wine writers. And I do not think that most people who are criticizing Huet management expect such rights either for wine writers. Chris and Jim are no strangers to tasting blind and they are extremely knowledgeable of the Loire Valley. To say that blind tasting in this case would have been the only way to confirm the "truth" so to speak is a cop out to how Ms Hwang dealt with the two qualified writers.

Yes, it would be nice for Huet to explain their side of the story, but I am having a hard time fathoming their explanation. [scratch.gif]
Last edited by Panos Kakaviatos on February 20th, 2014, 3:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
I am mainly based in Europe, and thanks for reading wine-chronicles(.)com

User avatar
Bill Klapp (deactivated)
Posts: 5039
Joined: June 27th, 2009, 12:50 am
Location: Neive, Italy and Burgundy, France

Censorship by Huet?

#132 Post by Bill Klapp (deactivated) » February 20th, 2014, 3:13 am

Richard Malloy wrote: Which brings us to Neal Martin, who seems to have misread the whole situation. Nothing at all spur of the moment here that I can see. Rather pre-meditated by all accounts. I'm not familiar with Neal's writing and so haven't developed any degree of trust in him as a wine reviewer, but I suspect he's an intelligent guy who can read these accounts as well as any of us, so I'm inclined to file his statements under the category of "Sucking up to the Hwangs".
Don't be too hard on him, Richard. He is as new as Ms. Hwang at nearly everything except drinking Bordeaux and other wines for free! :)

User avatar
Robert B.
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 1047
Joined: September 13th, 2013, 4:08 am
Location: Florida

Censorship by Huet?

#133 Post by Robert B. » February 20th, 2014, 4:26 am

I am shocked by this whole thing. The article presented in the first post is well written but disturbing.
B. = Bedwell
CT: RobertB321
Vivino: Robert B
Avatar is me in Oxford England fall of 2014

Michae1 P0wers
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 4118
Joined: March 6th, 2010, 1:47 pm
Location: St. Louis

Censorship by Huet?

#134 Post by Michae1 P0wers » February 20th, 2014, 5:04 am

Z. A c s a n wrote:
The Baumard fiasco was mentioned because of the comment from Chris that reflected his puzzlement at being asked whether he had taken photographs of the Huet estate. Was the quizzing about photos really nonsensical, when framed in the biggest local drama of the past year? Given the fact that the Baumard witch hunt began with Jim Budd using a series of vineyard photos to make his case against Dom. Baumard..."

Maybe, maybe not. But when everyone here seems to be scratching their collective heads about the 'why', it seems reasonable to step back and look at what exactly caused such a strong reaction from Dom. Huet. Fear can certainly be a cause of irrational and ill-considered behavior. If the Dom. was truly concerned about managing critic's comments, why single out just these two journalists? Other writers that attended the same event were allowed to taste the wines and comment as they pleased.

It wasn't just any critic two critics being punished here, it was the two critics most closely associated with what may have felt to some locals, like an unrelenting campaign to knock one of its best known Domaines down a peg or two. A Domaine, likewise at the top of the local food chain, very well may harbor fears that they will be the next victim of such treatment. Such fear would likely be amplified for a foreign investor, in a place where outsiders aren't always welcomed with open arms.

I'm certainly not apologizing for what Dom. Huet did, as there can be no doubt this was very poorly handled. I am trying to understand what elicited such a strong reaction from Dom. Huet. Perhaps if you had just spent a lot of money to buy a legendary brand and you were handed a couple of challenging vintages to start, you might very well be hyper-vigilant in trying in trying to protect your investment? Absent clarification from the Dom., or some solid investigative reporting, we are all left to speculate and wonder why these two journalists were snubbed.
Z, I'm afraid that none of what you write here holds up to much scrutiny. Individually any single point could be excused, but on the whole your take seems wrong-minded at best. I've cut it down a bit, but a few things:

1. No one here is "scratching their collective heads" about it. We just universally feel it was very badly done. If it was confusing that would be better for the Hwangs. It seems clearly, and it comes across as petulant, foolish and like an attempt to punish any who would offer negative views on the wine, which is absurd. No one needs "clarification," no one needs "why." Its all fairly clear.

2. Implying that Huet was right to fear due to Baumard being so badly exposed last year makes no sense. Baumard was up to dishonest mechanations in order to produce lots of top wine in a bad vintage. Huet made less than their best wines in a difficult vintage. These two things are worlds apart and there is no reason for Huet to be afraid of what Baumard received. Moreover, we are talking about a true long-term champion of Huet in Chris. I am less familiar with Jim's opinions.

3. You note that "some locals" might have felt that the Baumard reporting was designed to knock a top winery down a peg. But the Hwangs aren't exactly locals, are they? Funny then that you would try to paint it that way. As for other locals, I don't know that the Baumards enjoy the best reputation amongst the smaller producers of the area, based on what I have read. I'd bet strongly that the actual locals, particularly those small producers not manipulating their wine in the Baumard fashion, welcomed the reporting. I'm sure they'd rather have a piece of Baumard's sales from the fallout than show solidarity to the big bad wine writers.

4. Producers who are hyper-vigilant about reputation and have any intelligence whatsoever protect that reputation with carrots, not sticks. This is a critic-driven business and punishing critics is a terrible move. I too am surprised at the lack of critical solidarity. Neal should have done much better. I'm curious what John G and David S think about this and whether they'll speak out about it. Further, the Hwangs have owned for a while now and they don't get a "get out of jail free card" for recently taking the reigns. They had several strong vintages in the 2005-2010 run on which to trade before having to tighten belts for 2011-2013. This was, at very best, a short-sighted view for a wine house, when wine is such a long-view enterprise. Better to accept that some might criticize the wines from a poorer vintage and wow them with the next great one.

5. By calling the Baumard reporting a witch-hunt, you show your stripe. Based upon your contributions to the earlier thread we know where you stand. I'll not begrudge you your opinion. However, what took place was hardly a witch-hunt. Highly questionable practice was exposed, particularly in the numbers. This hurts a lot of more honest producers since Baumard's (perhaps illegally) manipulated wines will eat up so much of the revenue that might otherwise be spread out amongst others in the region.

User avatar
Z. A c s a n
Posts: 313
Joined: December 19th, 2012, 11:26 am

Censorship by Huet?

#135 Post by Z. A c s a n » February 20th, 2014, 12:41 pm

Michael Powers wrote:1. No one here is "scratching their collective heads" about it. We just universally feel it was very badly done. If it was confusing that would be better for the Hwangs. It seems clearly, and it comes across as petulant, foolish and like an attempt to punish any who would offer negative views on the wine, which is absurd. No one needs "clarification," no one needs "why." Its all fairly clear.
We still have some head scratching going on here, and that will likely continue as answers from those in a position to share the truth about motivations for the above action don't appear to be forthcoming. Just two post above yours we have Panos saying: "Yes, it would be nice for Huet to explain their side of the story, but I am having a hard time fathoming their explanation.", followed by the head scratching emoticon. [scratch.gif] Not sure why you presume to speak for the group as to what we "need". I, for one, am interested in hearing the rest of the story here.
2. Implying that Huet was right to fear due to Baumard being so badly exposed last year makes no sense. Baumard was up to dishonest mechanations in order to produce lots of top wine in a bad vintage. Huet made less than their best wines in a difficult vintage. These two things are worlds apart and there is no reason for Huet to be afraid of what Baumard received. Moreover, we are talking about a true long-term champion of Huet in Chris. I am less familiar with Jim's opinions.
It might not make sense to you, but this was the first thing I thought of when I read Chris' blog entry. I do see a parallel here; especially when you narrow it down to only these two journalists being snubbed. I don't think it's such a big stretch to consider this could have been a factor in creating a mindset that allowed for Ms. Hwang's 'cutting-off-your-nose-to-spite-your-face' action. While I've never met the woman, I still have to believe this sort of exceptional display of paranoia is fear-based. I don't think it's a complete coincidence that the only two journalist that were snubbed, were also the ones that tag-teamed the Baumard story; a story that is just barely a year old, the wounds still fresh and the enormity of the story greatly amplified in a small region that otherwise doesn't normally see local producers being drug through the mud in such a horrific way, as was the case with Dom. Baumard.
3. You note that "some locals" might have felt that the Baumard reporting was designed to knock a top winery down a peg. But the Hwangs aren't exactly locals, are they? Funny then that you would try to paint it that way. As for other locals, I don't know that the Baumards enjoy the best reputation amongst the smaller producers of the area, based on what I have read. I'd bet strongly that the actual locals, particularly those small producers not manipulating their wine in the Baumard fashion, welcomed the reporting. I'm sure they'd rather have a piece of Baumard's sales from the fallout than show solidarity to the big bad wine writers.
The Hwangs are local in the sense that they are part of the same small community of wine producers. A report from Jim Budd noted dropping in at Dom. Huet in October of 2012 and talking with son Hugo and daughter Susan. I'm guessing they have some sort of residence there as well. However you choose to define "local", it seems clear these are not absent owners and they do have some sort of local presence. That blog entry did, BTW, include Jim's photos of grape clusters from the Dom. vineyards.

See: http://jimsloire.blogspot.com/2012/10/2 ... maine.html
4. Producers who are hyper-vigilant about reputation and have any intelligence whatsoever protect that reputation with carrots, not sticks. This is a critic-driven business and punishing critics is a terrible move. I too am surprised at the lack of critical solidarity. Neal should have done much better. I'm curious what John G and David S think about this and whether they'll speak out about it. Further, the Hwangs have owned for a while now and they don't get a "get out of jail free card" for recently taking the reigns. They had several strong vintages in the 2005-2010 run on which to trade before having to tighten belts for 2011-2013. This was, at very best, a short-sighted view for a wine house, when wine is such a long-view enterprise. Better to accept that some might criticize the wines from a poorer vintage and wow them with the next great one.
No doubt, most would see the carrot as being a smarter choice than the stick, when it comes to dealing with critic relations. Maybe Ms. Hwang was simply frustrated by having tried the carrot approach first and not getting the result she had hoped for, and chose to wield the stick out of frustration with her ability to control these two critics, and perhaps as a means of heading of what she may have felt was a impending public flogging headed her way from Jim and Chris? If you read the November 2013 blog post where Jim starts to disparage the 2012 Huet wines and cast doubts on the 2013 vintage, you will note his mention of sharing those wines with Chris. Clearly these two are linked in their dislike of these particular Huet wines. Jim closes by saying: "It will be interesting to taste the nascent 2013s at the Salon des Vins de Loire and retaste the 2012s." Maybe Ms. Hwang read those same words and sensed a threat to her Domaine?

Full post here: http://jimsloire.blogspot.com/2013/11/d ... -2002.html
5. By calling the Baumard reporting a witch-hunt, you show your stripe. Based upon your contributions to the earlier thread we know where you stand. I'll not begrudge you your opinion. However, what took place was hardly a witch-hunt. Highly questionable practice was exposed, particularly in the numbers. This hurts a lot of more honest producers since Baumard's (perhaps illegally) manipulated wines will eat up so much of the revenue that might otherwise be spread out amongst others in the region.
I've never hidden the fact that I felt Florent Baumard and Dom. Baumard were unfairly harassed by Jim Budd. Jim was like the proverbial dog (a pit bull in this case) on a bone, with his pressing need to flex his investigative reporter muscles at the expense of the Baumard reputation, and potentially Dom. revenues. Much like a witch hunt, there was a take-no-prisoners attitude (from Jim) and little concern for the damage to others. In the end, he didn't uncover anything unknown to those with an interest in such things. Florent hadn't exactly made a secret of his use of certain modern - and perfectly legal - winemaking techniques and vineyard practices. Jim tried to paint a picture of multiple improprieties at Dom. Baumard. You're inference of illegal activity (none of which has ever been proven) provides continuing evidence of the long-term damage such public trials (not unlike the Salem trials) can do to a previously stellar reputation. Budd went far beyond the critic's role of telling us what he thinks about a particular wine and maybe adding a few details about the winemaker's process. Budd was mostly interested in trying to make Dom. Baumard in to a story that would give him his next Millenium investment scandal or Panchogate, than telling us about the wines of Dom. Baumard. No small wonder Ms. Hwang views him as threat.

Village politics do play a role here. Baumard is the "them" in the us and them of the whispering heard at the village level. There is very definitely a group that resents the success of Dom. Baumard, as they have managed to create a brand identity that allows for greater sales and margins than those wineries they compete against. There is a parallel with Dom. Huet, in that they are also considered the dominate label in their niche. Like Baumard, easy sales going to the prestige marques means smaller players getting a lesser percentage of the available revenues for which they compete. Unlike Baumard, some locals will always consider the Hwang's outsiders, which can only add to a growing list of concerns about the family's investment in Dom. Huet. Add this all up and consider it from Ms. Hwang's perspective, and perhaps her mindset might have been based on thinking: if these two journalists would savage a respected local like Baumard, just imagine what they might do to outsiders like us.
Either way, it sounds like Z e e

User avatar
Chris Blum
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 9244
Joined: October 10th, 2009, 1:40 pm
Location: Home of the Mayo Clinic

Censorship by Huet?

#136 Post by Chris Blum » February 20th, 2014, 1:26 pm

All these imagined reasons for what Sarah Hwang did....what is the point? Her mind-set at the time is irrelevant.

You are really grasping for some justification here -- why?
"Well, wine only turns into alcohol if you let it sit" -- Lucille Bluth
"The Packers f'n suck" -- Todd French

User avatar
Chris Seiber
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 8659
Joined: April 28th, 2010, 3:22 pm
Location: Newport Beach, CA

Censorship by Huet?

#137 Post by Chris Seiber » February 20th, 2014, 1:33 pm

Richard Malloy wrote:I'm inclined to file his statements under the category of "Sucking up to the Hwangs".
[rofl.gif]

User avatar
Z. A c s a n
Posts: 313
Joined: December 19th, 2012, 11:26 am

Censorship by Huet?

#138 Post by Z. A c s a n » February 20th, 2014, 1:38 pm

Chris Blum wrote:All these imagined reasons for what Sarah Hwang did....what is the point? Her mind-set at the time is irrelevant.

You are really grasping for some justification here -- why?
Just trying to answer Michael's questions and got on a roll with a little extra time to kill. As for you inference, I will state for the record: I have zero personal, financial or any other sort of connection to any of the parties involved here, beyond that of liking and buying both wines from both Domaines mentioned here. There are no hidden motives that your "why" might suggest. Some people just like lively discussions.

I'm heading to the airport now, so I'll have to leave you with this for now.
Either way, it sounds like Z e e

Vincent Fritzsche
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 1868
Joined: February 11th, 2009, 11:40 am
Location: Portland, OR

Censorship by Huet?

#139 Post by Vincent Fritzsche » February 20th, 2014, 1:56 pm

Ian Fitzsimmons wrote:Sarah seems rather young; '12 was her first year, and she's filling big boots. I agree with the consensus that her behavior was wrong-headed, but it's an easy mistake for a young person to make, especially when under a lot of pressure. There's really only so much you can say about it. I hope she learns from the experience and finds a way to repair the situation.

Chris and Jim are big boys and not seriously harmed, though some act of contrition towards them would help make things right.
+1
Vincent - ITB

Michae1 P0wers
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 4118
Joined: March 6th, 2010, 1:47 pm
Location: St. Louis

Censorship by Huet?

#140 Post by Michae1 P0wers » February 21st, 2014, 4:57 am

Z. A c s a n wrote:
We still have some head scratching going on here, and that will likely continue as answers from those in a position to share the truth about motivations for the above action don't appear to be forthcoming. Just two post above yours we have Panos saying: "Yes, it would be nice for Huet to explain their side of the story, but I am having a hard time fathoming their explanation.", followed by the head scratching emoticon. [scratch.gif] Not sure why you presume to speak for the group as to what we "need". I, for one, am interested in hearing the rest of the story here.

I still have to believe this sort of exceptional display of paranoia is fear-based. I don't think it's a complete coincidence that the only two journalist that were snubbed, were also the ones that tag-teamed the Baumard story; a story that is just barely a year old, the wounds still fresh and the enormity of the story greatly amplified in a small region that otherwise doesn't normally see local producers being drug through the mud in such a horrific way, as was the case with Dom. Baumard.

The Hwangs are local in the sense that they are part of the same small community of wine producers. A report from Jim Budd noted dropping in at Dom. Huet in October of 2012 and talking with son Hugo and daughter Susan. I'm guessing they have some sort of residence there as well. However you choose to define "local", it seems clear these are not absent owners and they do have some sort of local presence. That blog entry did, BTW, include Jim's photos of grape clusters from the Dom. vineyards

No doubt, most would see the carrot as being a smarter choice than the stick, when it comes to dealing with critic relations. Maybe Ms. Hwang was simply frustrated by having tried the carrot approach first and not getting the result she had hoped for, and chose to wield the stick out of frustration with her ability to control these two critics, and perhaps as a means of heading of what she may have felt was a impending public flogging headed her way from Jim and Chris? If you read the November 2013 blog post where Jim starts to disparage the 2012 Huet wines and cast doubts on the 2013 vintage, you will note his mention of sharing those wines with Chris. Clearly these two are linked in their dislike of these particular Huet wines. Jim closes by saying: "It will be interesting to taste the nascent 2013s at the Salon des Vins de Loire and retaste the 2012s." Maybe Ms. Hwang read those same words and sensed a threat to her Domaine?
Again, I don't see it, not by a long shot.

Why do I "speak for the group?" You did the same thing by claiming that we were "scratching our collective head" about this matter, when I feel that was far from the general tone here. You and Panos may be baffled, most who posted seem to feel that the actions are inexcusable whatever the explanation offered. Not all stories need point-counterpoint from all parties involved before judgement can be rendered. Sometimes the facts speaks loudly enough.

Also, your language is ridiculous. "drug through the mud in such a such a horrific way" is an outrageous mischaracterization. I think the consensus here is that Baumard well-deserved to be outed for such practices, whatever you think.

Third, your idea that they are locals is equally absurd. You site to the fact that they "may own a residence." The implication is that foreign money buying into the region is immediately accepted as locals whether or not they live there? Further, you presume that Chris and Jim don't have far more of a contact with the region, having made it an integral part of their lives for so long. I think this is foolish and you use to paint an image of hardworking locals banding together against the ravishes of the invading barbarians, but I think you may have miscast your parts.

Your entire point relies on this idea that Huet are afraid and that they see themselves as Baumard here, but that is pure conjecture on your part. You make enormous leaps in your reasoning, using only one piece of evidence, an errant comment regarding photos, and then creating the rest whole-cloth from your imagination. Just coincidence then that it relates directly to the unfavorable reviews? I've been told that if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck that it is probably a duck. In this case we have critics who gave unfavorable reviews of two wines produced in the Hwangs first solo vintage. They then banish those critics. I see petulance and an attempt to silent dissent. You see reasonable fear that they will be made the subject of an expose. Well unless there is some secrets they'd rather not have found out, those fears seem unfounded for me and the former explanation far, far more likely.

User avatar
Craig G
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 14683
Joined: March 6th, 2011, 10:57 am
Location: Town of Cats

Censorship by Huet?

#141 Post by Craig G » February 21st, 2014, 5:12 am

I don't see this having much impact. If people here are offended only so much that they won't buy the wines that they already weren't going to buy, but will still buy library wines and not dump their stock, then the net result is about zero.
“You need to look down to the bottom shelf where they keep the Fighting Cock” — Corey N.

C. Gle@son

Peter Chiu
Posts: 3822
Joined: January 28th, 2011, 1:39 pm

Censorship by Huet?

#142 Post by Peter Chiu » February 21st, 2014, 5:13 am

Chris Blum wrote:All these imagined reasons for what Sarah Hwang did....what is the point? Her mind-set at the time is irrelevant.

You are really grasping for some justification here -- why?


+ 1.


Not giving access to someone from tasting your wine free is a foundutional right of any producer and owner of a winery.

Baring an individual to tast your wines at a public place such as Salon des Vins de Loire...is a discrimination which needs justification. Whether the reasons are justified or not - is the key in this discussion.

User avatar
Brian Tuite
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 19160
Joined: July 3rd, 2010, 8:53 am
Location: Podunk CA

Censorship by Huet?

#143 Post by Brian Tuite » February 21st, 2014, 5:37 am

In reading this entire thread it seems to me that Z is the only person who has given any real sensible explanation of what may have contributed to the actions of S Hwang. Nobody knows the Hwangs motivation but at least he made an attempt that, from an outsiders POV, makes some sense. From the same outsiders POV it seems to me that there is a collective dislike for Z and or his comments that perhaps I am too late to these forums to understand. In my opinion that should not negate what has been, to this point, the only explanation given that holds any water. Unless the Hwangs publicly comment it is all conjecture on our parts isn't it?
Bob Wood - 1949-2013 Berserker for eternity! RIP

"On self-reflection, I think a big part of it was me just being a PITA customer..." ~ Anonymous Berserker

"Something so subtle only I can detect it." ~ Randy Bowman

2019 WOTY...

User avatar
Mark Golodetz
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 6239
Joined: May 29th, 2009, 8:49 pm

Censorship by Huet?

#144 Post by Mark Golodetz » February 21st, 2014, 6:09 am

Let's get real guys, the Hwangs are not going to comment. They have already lost the PR campaign, and although Z is putting up an able defense on their behalf, for me it still falls short of reasonable justification for keeping out two of the small group of English speaking journalists who are interested in the Loire. It would be even less intelligent to come onto this board just to get smacked around again.

The fact is that their actions have done far more damage to the business then just allowing two journalists to taste. Even if they write a few negatives on two sub par vintages, it is better than banning them from the property. Overall, it may be a poor business decision, and may impact the brand for a short time, but I suspect they will kiss and make up in the future, and hopefully, Ms. Hwang will learn from this.
Last edited by Mark Golodetz on February 21st, 2014, 6:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
ITB

Dale Williams
Posts: 1207
Joined: April 27th, 2009, 10:19 am

Censorship by Huet?

#145 Post by Dale Williams » February 21st, 2014, 6:35 am

Mark Golodetz wrote: two of the small group of American journalists .
American, Mark? You of all people. neener

I can understand producers being "picky" about who they give appointments to. But barring participants at a large function like the Salon? Tsk.

User avatar
Mark Golodetz
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 6239
Joined: May 29th, 2009, 8:49 pm

Censorship by Huet?

#146 Post by Mark Golodetz » February 21st, 2014, 6:37 am

Dale Williams wrote:
Mark Golodetz wrote: two of the small group of American journalists .
American, Mark? You of all people. neener

I can understand producers being "picky" about who they give appointments to. But barring participants at a large function like the Salon? Tsk.
Embarrassed. Fixed. [oops.gif]
ITB

Panos Kakaviatos
Posts: 1178
Joined: July 6th, 2009, 11:36 am
Location: Strasbourg, France

Censorship by Huet?

#147 Post by Panos Kakaviatos » February 21st, 2014, 7:06 am

LOL, Mark. That was really funny the "American" adjective.
Now, to the gist of your point: I agree 100 percent!
I am mainly based in Europe, and thanks for reading wine-chronicles(.)com

Tom G l a s g o w
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 4696
Joined: February 19th, 2010, 2:01 pm

Censorship by Huet?

#148 Post by Tom G l a s g o w » February 21st, 2014, 7:12 am

Brian Tuite wrote:In reading this entire thread it seems to me that Z is the only person who has given any real sensible explanation of what may have contributed to the actions of S Hwang. Nobody knows the Hwangs motivation but at least he made an attempt that, from an outsiders POV, makes some sense. From the same outsiders POV it seems to me that there is a collective dislike for Z and or his comments that perhaps I am too late to these forums to understand. In my opinion that should not negate what has been, to this point, the only explanation given that holds any water. Unless the Hwangs publicly comment it is all conjecture on our parts isn't it?
Read the Baumard hits back post if you want background.

User avatar
Neal.Mollen
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 33796
Joined: January 30th, 2009, 1:26 pm

Censorship by Huet?

#149 Post by Neal.Mollen » February 21st, 2014, 7:20 am

Chris Seiber wrote:
Richard Malloy wrote:I'm inclined to file his statements under the category of "Sucking up to the Hwangs".
[rofl.gif]
Is that a category of its own? Hwang sucking? Oh wait . . . newhere
I don't have to speak; she defends me

A drunkard's dream if I ever did see one

User avatar
Brad Kane
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 5173
Joined: March 4th, 2009, 6:24 pm
Location: NYC

Censorship by Huet?

#150 Post by Brad Kane » February 21st, 2014, 7:23 am

Tom G l a s g o w wrote:
Brian Tuite wrote:In reading this entire thread it seems to me that Z is the only person who has given any real sensible explanation of what may have contributed to the actions of S Hwang. Nobody knows the Hwangs motivation but at least he made an attempt that, from an outsiders POV, makes some sense. From the same outsiders POV it seems to me that there is a collective dislike for Z and or his comments that perhaps I am too late to these forums to understand. In my opinion that should not negate what has been, to this point, the only explanation given that holds any water. Unless the Hwangs publicly comment it is all conjecture on our parts isn't it?
Read the Baumard hits back post if you want background.
Indeed. Tin foil helmet stuff.

Getting back to the point at hand, just speculation, but one would think that what may lay at the heart of the matter is perhaps Ms. Hwang may have perceived Jim and Chris's coverage of the departure of Pinguet as perhaps negative towards the Hwangs and when coupled with their purported less than stellar reviews of the '12s, which, I actually haven't seen, though others, such as John Gilman have written glowingly of, may have convinced her that maybe there's an agenda at work and she reacted to that.
itb.

Post Reply

Return to “Wine Talk”