Galloni's views on burgundy

Seems to have quite a different take on it from others eg 09 Pousse d’or bousse d’or 96pts vs Neal martin 80-82 pts! In general, he seems to like italian wines more as well, at least based on the points he’s giving out…

points… do people still judge a wine on points?

neener You betcha! [wow.gif]

Don’t be naive Rick!

Naive? Moi? Non… but perhaps snarky.

BTW, if he is unenthused about Burgundy and gives it lower scores I consider that great news. Hopefully it will scare away the curious onlookers

What a shame, is this what serious reviewing has come to…?

I guess the ‘scale’ is now further compressed from 89-99: 89 bourgognes, 93 villages, 96 premiers and 99 GCs. For what it’s worth I don’t believe the first two categories are possible, though ‘testing’ only about 1,000 wines per year does mean I might experience the latter two (perhaps) before I die…

Having shared a few wines with Antonio on a couple of occasions - I think myself pretty aligned with him on Red Burgs … I liked David S too but he was not committed to keeping up to date and fell from relavancy in the marketplace. Neal’s take on Burgundy seems different from my own and I have yet to understand the Rosetta Stone for making sense his tasstes there whne compared to my own. I do find myself in allignment with Neal’s view of BDX but I am really not buying that except for occasional backfills of 79’s, 83’s & 89’s.

Back to Antonio … Antonio seems to smooth out stylistic preferences from his reviews … I do think he likes modern styles more than I do but, in general, I do not think he prefers them over more classic styles. I need to learn more about what language nuances he utilizes to diferentiate styles - I do wish he made that more obvious in his reviews.

What good is a critic who either hides or doesn’t have stylistic preferences though? Certainly it’s good to acknowledge that something is well made but done in a style you don’t care for… but a reviewer who scores wines is ranking them. If not according to some preference, how?

Agreed. I wish Meadows was more opinionated sometimes.

According to the critic’s perception that the wine is well made, more or less so relative to other wines. I have no problem with this. There is no shortage of strong viewpoints outside the major publications, and now they’re easier than ever to find and test against your own preferences.

Yeah, I see that. But then you ask…what’s well made? Is that subjective above a certain level? The publications we talk about here (TWA, Tanzer, etc) seem to cut off reviews at around 85 points so by definition, there’s no wine that’s not at least bordering on that publication’s definition of Very Good. So… what divides a 91 and 93 point wine if not opinion on style? If one Burgundy producer does a Volnay that’s all lace and fruit and minerals while another takes fruit from the same vineyard and oaks it heavily…are they both well-made? Which one is more well-made?

My point, if it’s not clear, is that it’s not possible to answer those questions without some allusion to style. What makes good Volnay? Great Volnay? Decent Volnay? Beyond mere technical competence it’s a myriad of stylistic distinctions. That’s one reason I dislike score in general - for me, the oaky Volnay would score significantly lower than the lacy one even if both were wonderful wines of their style. But that’s my take on what Volnay is and should be. Someone who likes powerful wine might invert those scores. I’d argue that Volnay isn’t the place to look for that characteristic and… we’d both be ‘right’ in the sense that we’re coming from different places regarding style.

You can’t define things as well-made or not absent judgements about their style, at least not once you get above a certain base level of quality and competence.

I am OK with a style neutral approach to qualitative scoring and reviews. I would just like to be told what style the critic perceives the wine to be in every review rather have to guess and decode this.

See above. 'style neutral" is as much of a fantasy as “objective scores” etc.

Absolutely right. Most people who think critics can/should be objective are really just saying they should be objective within the narrow range of styles already pre-approved for high scoring by Robert Parker. So it’s acceptable - nay, mandatory - to give high-90s scores to the likes of Harlan even though you would never actually want to drink that crap, but if anyone even thinks about giving such a rating to a Chinon, why, that’s just crazy talk!

IMO, job #1 for a Burg critic is to describe the style of the wine (or the domaine), and #2 is to outline its structure. These are also the more difficult elements to assess correctly and to describe. Long lists of flavor descriptors are much less useful, but are easy to do, so we get too much of that. I have not read any Galloni Burg reviews, so not commenting on him, just offering a generalized opinion on what makes a review useful. Allen Meadows often does jobs 1 and 2 very well, but I wish he was more diligent at offering a stylistic description. Just my $0.02.


Critics do still judge wine by points and consumers can still judge what a critic likes by the points he/she gives. Now, back to the point of the thread and picking up on the comment re a critic giving more info on the style of the wine and/or their own stylistic preferences. I highlighted this wine as AG’s reaction to it particularly surprised me as it indicated he was very much in favour of a very heavily oaked, “modern” style of burgundy. Read Neal’s review of this wine for the opposite perspective - he thinks it’s a car crash. For those who, perhaps, know AG’s palate better than me from buying italian wines he has recommended, is that what you would have expected?

I’ve not read AG for a long time so I can’t comment on his palate, but as I noted below that comment (you DID read the rest, right?) a critic cannot rank wines without some reference to a style. Scores are simply the outward manifestation of a ranking. Attempts to do this, even if the critic clearly notes the wine’s style, are dishonest. Everyone has biases and the valuable critics are consistent about theirs and transparent as to what they are. Trying to say “well if you like highly oaked, modern Burgundy this is a 96” (or “If you’re after elegant, aromatic wines with little apparent oak”) just sidestep the issue and seem to me like pandering.

in case you missed the source of my snark I think it’s idiocy to pretend that something as complex as a wine can be summarized in a one-dimensional number and that people who buy according to the numbers are, well… you fill in the rest.

Just from reading the Pousse notes Galloni’s style strikes me as, ummm, Parker or Jeff Leve-esque…

Read Galloni on the Pousse Bousse d’Or:

“The 2009 Volnay Clos de la Bousse d’Or presents a wild, almost unrestrained expression of Volnay. It is a sumptuous wine graced with stunning beauty in its opulent fruit. This shows marvelous detail and clarity with palate staining intensity. Despite its richness, there is plenty of vibrancy and freshness. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2049.
Score: 96 Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate (194), May 2011”

Ummm, this is a Volnay we’re talking about here, right, not a Chateauneuf?

Now read Tanzer (and Landanger) on the very same wine:

“Bright ruby-red. Tighter on the nose than the Caillerets, offering black fruits, licorice, violet and bitter chocolate; “a typical intellectual, feminine Volnay,” notes Landanger. Then suave and gentle in the mouth, if a bit less dense and large than the Caillerets. There’s a slightly high-toned character to the fruit-driven flavors of liqueur-like black cherry, dark berries and flowers. Perhaps a bit less middle here to support the tannins, but this offers excellent potential. Score: 90-92”

Think they maybe dosed the stuff with a little Syrah when they heard TWA was coming?

Anticipated maturity from 2014, for a 2009 Burgundy! At least the back end of the drinking window is more realistic.