Maison Ilan- no more professional reviews

From the newsletter today

"Wine is constantly moving, and as it turns out, so are people. With just these two factors in frame, it is increasingly clear that placing a label on a wine in the context of freeform tasting notes which serve to do nothing more than speak to how a wine used to be is of decreasing value to me, and I believe to those that actually buy, share and drink our wines. With this in mind, I will start to remove all professional commentary on our website, my blog relating to past and in my opinion expired reflections on my wines. The wines have moved on, so should the commentary.

Alright, now that the big part is over, I can get to the more minor part of this post. > I’ve decided that our wines will not be offered for professional reviews for the foreseeable future. > Please keep in mind, I have nothing but respect for those that are in this profession, I just see a different direction for our winery and for our specific wine culture. Any amateur that visits us is encouraged to write as many notes, impressions or thoughts of our wines as they like. > Our hope is that this will encourage people that actually drink our wines to think of wine (our’s and others) outside of numerical, emotionless, outdated and exclusive boundaries> . There will continue to be notes on wines and there will always be countless variables which cannot be expressed or communicated to the reader, but if what we are left with is just the Mixed voices of our community, I’d say that we are moving in the right direction."

full article

I just don’t understand the reasoning behind this pulling back from the professional wine community.

I do, and I applaud the move [cheers.gif]

I can understand the reasoning as detailed above, and compliment Ray on the bold move away from the reductionist fetish quality of numerical scores. He wants to replace it with broader wine lover created input, which is a move that I applaud. In brief, one could say that he is looking to replace the ‘top down’ model of the critics telling the consumer what to buy, and replace it with a ‘bottom up’ model, where wine lovers build their impressions themselves, and share that with one another.
It is my hope that this type of outlook spreads widely…

from day one, Ray has demonstrated that he’s going to be doing things differently. In Burgundy, any small variation will seem like a very bid deal. This doesn’t surprise me one bit.

Not sending bottles to journalists is not the same as ‘pulling back from the professional wine community.’ I applaud his decision.

ray’s in a unique position to sell out his inventory without the aid of WA/BH/etc.

I suspect a lot of wine producers would love to follow suit. Ray has had remarkable success and it appears that financial considerations are not currently constraining him in the same way they might be impacting other small/new producers, especially in less popular wine regions. Many producers are almost desperate for an opportunity to have their wines professionally reviewed (i.e.: don’t forget the Pancho/Big J pay-to-play tempest). Positive recognition of that kind could, in some cases, “save the farm”. It’s a complement to Ray’s hard work and passion that he can take this step.


The more I read about Ray and Ma. Ilan, the more respect I have for his vision. He has hit the nail on the head so to speak with regards to outdated crtiques, info and data points. Wine critics are becomming less important, certainly to me, but more & more to consumers. I especially like this:

Our hope is that this will encourage people that actually drink our wines to think of wine (our’s and others) outside of numerical, emotionless, outdated and exclusive boundaries.

I hope I get a chance to make it back to Burgundy and visit Ray soon.

I just hope that one day someone will open a bottle so I can finally try one of the wines, since I can’t find them anywhere.

I had no problem finding maison+ilan from a reputable source.
Here you go:

While not submitting wine for professional review is rare but nothing new (and I’m happy he’s doing well enough that it need not be a consideration) I’m surprised that he’s also removing his own observations on the wines. While I don’t own any Maison Ilan that’s something I’ve always found quite useful from other producers as no one else is likely to know them as well.

On the other hand I can see how it might be hard to be objective with something you’ve worked so hard on.

I admire Ray’s courage… [cheers.gif]

I think it’s a cool move. Good job Ray.

What!!! How are we going to know if we like them? [scratch.gif]

But these are all prearrivals. What if I want to taste one NOW? I am not very good at delayed gratification, which perhaps does not bode well for my young cellar. I revert back to my original position, which is that someone should open some bottles for my benefit.

I applaud Ray for following his vision. I suspect that Galloni, Meadows, et al., will still buy his wines ro taste with people who do. I wonder if Ray requests that no reviews be published if they would oblige him or not (although it does not sound like he made this request). Funny, isn’t his picture in the most recent wine spectator? Maybe he didn’t like it. neener Just kidding Ray, it was a nice shot. [cheers.gif]

I too applaud what Ray is saying and doing . . .

He certainly is in a ‘fortunate’ position of having built up his mailing list and name recognition to the point where he really ‘does not need’ professional reviews to move inventory, and that is awesome. He is also fortunate enough to have many active CT folks open and try his wines, sharing their opinions with others, as well as having had many ‘gatekeepers’ on this site talk about his wines.

But let me be a ‘devil’s advocate’ for a second here, and say that while Ray can do this now, many others would be ‘challenged’ to follow suit, regardless of what their stances are when it comes to ‘professional reviewers’. I can attest to how difficult it is to have your wines ‘noticed’ among the sea of wines currently available, with new labels coming out of the woodwork each and every year. How many of these will be ‘championed’ by a local wine shop or a regular poster here or a CT user that many people follow?

So therefore, though many don’t ‘believe’ in the concept of these reviewers, they do play an integral part of raising awareness, both positive and negative, to wines that otherwise may not have been noticed at all (and I can remember more than once someone jumping on here after RMP or WS or (fill in the blank) gave a positive review to a winery few had heard of) . . .





Cappellano. 'Nuff said.

Ray and Kevin can do no wrong. It was like that for AM as a critic once.