Wow, two years late. Precisely how useful will these notes be when the wines have already been sold and re-sold enough times for the market to have decided what is good and what is less good? Needless to say, all the top bunny kit will have disappeared into Pinotphiles cellars and so be completely unobtainable by now. Pretty poor form from the WA; current tasting notes in future, please! Well, I don’t subscribe, but I do occasionally glance through friends’ copies…
I’m not sure what the issue is with Schildknecht and the timeliness of his reports. The guy is clearly hardworking and detail-oriented. What gives… too many disparate regions? He’s a contractor and has to handle the transcriptions on his own dime? Etc?
Honestly, I am not convinced that as good of a critic that David is, he really has an impact on the Burgundy market (well, maybe for Rion for the next 24 hours )
He gave out some nice scores, but I think the red burg consumer market made up their minds about the vintage a long time ago. It’s nice to get David’s opinion and read his notes, but honestly I think it was bathroom reading material if it came out on time or not.
How could he have an impact? 2008s are being tasted now, and his 2006 report just arrives (not in the print version, Drew, nor will it ever be, according to Parker). DS claims to have his 2007 report out later this year. If that happens, he will be just 18 months late on that one. If that happens.
Does he have an impact in Germany these days? Not so much.
His Languedoc/Roussillon reviews were current, so he impacted the market. You cannot be 12-24 months late and expect people to give a shit.
Jim, people look for guidance on what to buy. Especially Burgundy because it is so expensive. Not everyone can afford to subscribe to the Wine Advocate for Bordeaux, IWC for Spain, WS for Rhone, BH for Burgundy, etc etc etc, it adds up.
But conversely, because Burgundy is so expensive, those who can buy it can usually afford multiple subscriptions, so will almost certainly have access to BH anyways, making TWA on Burgundy even less relevant. TWA should either do it properly (spend what it takes to get notes out on the region promptly) or get off the pot; right now, they are just wasting subscribers’ money.
Dan, I agree with you… I’m just kind of wondering aloud what the problem is that prevents his reviews from being published in a timely manner. DS isn’t an asswipe like Miller and I don’t sense that he isn’t serious about his TWA work like Thomases.
Actually, for a snooze-or-lose vintage like 2005, these notes would be useless, but otherwise I think the timing is ideal. There’s been enough time for people who know what they want to buy regardless of reviews to get the wines before the reviews affect prices, but because the vintage is so lackluster and overpriced, nearly all the wines are still on the market. (Personally, I am waiting for more closeouts before buying any more '06s.)
I would certainly rather see the WA publish reviews a year after the wines go on sale than follow their usual MO of publishing the reviews a year before the wines go on sale, giving all the middlemen a chance to hike prices.
David is quite stellar in general. It is my opinion that he is just being asked to do too much, and for someone who is as detail oriented as he is that does not lead to timelyresults. That is in my book a management failure rather than employee failure. A good manager should recognize the strengths and weaknesses of their employees and set them up to shine, not to fail.
Overworked is your word and not mine. I said spread too thin. It is very different.
David is VERY verbose. He shows stunning attention to detail. Amazing gifts. He also strikes me as someone who is unwilling and unable to take a cursory look at anything. It is ALL or NOTHING. Potentially a challenge. I think when he was only covering Germany and Austria for Steve Tanzer he was timely and at his best. Then Bob got him and layer on the Loire. And NY-State. And oh yeah, how about a little region like Burgundy. In other words, just give him 5x as many wines to cover across a very diverse set of regions. Hmm…
So how has that worked out? Great reviews two years too late. People bitching at him. No one should ever bitch at him. He is remarkably gifted. He is just being asked to do something that, in my opinion, doesn’t really fit his talents. It is squeezing blood from a proverbial stone. Let him do less and do it the way he wants to do it and on time. Less is more in his case.
Anyway, that’s my two cents on how to manage some who is clearly talented and creative. I did some of that in a past life of Microsoft and learned a few lessons managing teams from 2 people up to 60 people.
CAVEAT: I have never met David. I have however always really enjoyed his reviews.
Clearly, management is not The Bob’s thing. Knowing “the strengths and weaknesses of employees and setting them up to shine, not to fail” would mean not giving Jay Miller any territory to cover. I use cover in the loosest sense–tasting with importers on their tab is a better way to put it.
I do think The Bob knows Schildknecht is about the only critic qualified to review cool-climate and offbeat regions. So he gave Schildknecht every last one of them. He knows what he’s got, even if he’s not utilizing it well.
Other good excuses for handing in a piece of work late include:
Everyone at home has dysentery and we ran out of toilet paper.
The flight I took here crashed in the Andes and we had to eat all the paper we could find.
My work is so good I’ve submitted the only copy of it for publication; it should be returned in a few months…