Is there a “coming of age” level as a wine drinker, where people recognize the importance of trusting their own palate, and simultaneously they distance themselves from and criticize the media and/or critics that once nurtured their development? Is this simply the assertion of one’s independence and equality status, or conforming to non-conformity, or I’m the boss of me syndrome, or repressed emotions from potty training?

I think there is such a “phase,” although I might be tempted to call the “distancing from the pros who helped” as being more of an acknowledgment of past mistakes and/or palate evolution than it is a putting on airs. I feel like I’m in that phase now, and, more than anything else, that phase feels liberating, and I think that’s why people often post/discuss it.

A true wine geek goes through the following spiritual stages:

Stage 1 “Genesis” - Have an epiphany wine that makes you want to get more serious about wine
Stage 2 “Confusion” - Realize that there are so many bewildering choices that its difficult to decide what to buy
Stage 3 “Discipleship” - Start following the ratings of a respected wine critic as a guide to what to buy
Stage 4 “Cognitive Dissonance” - Do your best to tell yourself that you are actually enjoying all the highly rated wines you are drinking
Stage 5 “Awakening” - Realize that taste in wine is subjective and you need to determine for yourself what you like
Stage 6 “Rage” - What the f*ck am I going to do with all this wine I bought that i don’t actually like?
Stage 7 “Dinner Parties” - Unload the wine on friends at non-wine-geek dinner parties. They will likely be impressed as the wines are highly rated.
Stage 8 “The Quest” - Taste, taste and taste some more to see what regions, producers and vintages you like
Stage 9 “Enlightenment” - OMFG! Burgundy!
Stage 10 “Dark Night of the Soul” - OMFG these things are expensive!
Stage 11 “Inner Peace” - German Riesling! And cheap too!

I especially like Stage 11, Berry. [cheers.gif]

The process becomes much simpler if you don’t have enough money for stages 3-7, 9, or 10. Stage 8 is a good place to be stuck, though…with occasional forays into 11. [cheers.gif]

I’m at stage 8/9/10. I however cannot see me achieving level 11. Oh, and I love my mom (insert mom joke here).

I seem to remember those steps from an earlier post/thread…somewhere…

Just as the acorn can not fathom being an oaktree, the spiritual seeker must focus on each step without forcing premature progress. The path shall open deeper when one is truely ready.

Well it would save me a boat load of money. But Riesling, cmon.

I think you said that very well, in that critics can provide a very useful service in helping people develop their appreciation of good wines, particularly in the early to middle parts of the arc (especially for those without the good fortune to be extensively mentored along by someone with a great cellar and great experience and knowledge), but then they become gradually less relevant the more you have traveled, tasted and learned on your own.

I think this is a better way to think of it, as opposed to all the over-the-top rhetoric about evil reviewers and their nefarious agendas to make all wine taste like pancake syrup and jet fuel blah blah blah. I think a lot of that is just the nature of internet (and a.m. radio and cable tv) discourse nowadays – the more extreme and loud you are in expressing your view, the more response you get.

I seem to have jumped from step 2 straight to 11. Oh, well! (Although I do not strictly require Riesling to be from Germany. I also dally with Alsace and Washington.) (And sometimes BC and California.)

I’m into her too.

Good stuff. The ironic part is that no category of wine gets higher scores from the mainstream wine critics at comparable price points than German Riesling. I feel like every Riesling over $15 sold in the US gets 90 points or more from the critics.

One who wants to follow the way must be like a bamboo boat in the mist: watchful, diligent, unanchored to the rocks of delusion

This is not only terrific, but so true! Any idiot can taste in Riesling all of the complexity and elements of its terroir that critics and their followers PRETEND that they can smell and taste in Bordeaux!

On element of this situation is that we have had a long period of domination by a couple of palates with aligned and somewhat extreme preferences.
The internet has changed the equation and new drinkers will have much broader ways to learn about wine. The next generation won’t rebel against critics since they will have never listened to them to begin with.

Its like teenagers and media - for them its all ‘on-demand’ in that they watch it/interact with it when convenient for them. They don’t sit around and do a ‘viewing party’ for the upcoming Lost episode, Friends episode or Dallas season finale.

Just the same, I still think you progress through wine in a very similar fashion to Barry’s scale. Of which, I find myself sitting comfortably at 8.9 on said scale…holding steady!

YES. Berry, that’s awesome. Couldn’t agree more.

I condensed it into four steps, but you can see I agree with you." onclick=";return false;

You can’t just lump all people in the same group Peter - 75% of the American population are followers pure and simple - they will never change - just watch the posts in Wine Talk - it’s the same 5-10 wineries spoken of over and over and over with everyone just following suite and getting right there in the back of line so that one day they, can brag about being on that mailing list -

The other 25% are open game because they have never listened to anybody or anything in their lives - these are the creative ones that are open to anything and wouldn’t know a mailing list to save their souls -

lol i was just about to type that. Thomas, you just lumped people into two groups. That’s the classic definition of “lump”