I don’t know Brian, I think you are over-thinking this and getting way too heavy. First of all, there is a huge difference between like and love, I may like a wine.l, but may not be sufficiently moved to go out and buy more of it. A wine needs to be more than just likable, it needs to be interesting. Moreover, just because I may have liked one or more wines made by these consultants, it does not offset the simple fact that I’ve been more often turned off by their wines. If their hit rate is worse than their success rate, why would I ever take a step back from my view here.? It is my money, I’m going to buy wines that I am more likely to love and find of interest.
Yeah, I think we’re talking about different things. I get what you’re saying; I don’t think you get what I’m saying. But that’s okay. Certainly didn’t mean for this to be a “heavy” conversation … I mean, after all, it’s just wine! Hope the balance of your Dufort continues to rock it!
While I agree with Brian as a theoretical matter and think that Robert is evading the question, I don’t think the what’s-in-the-glass position is really as clear as he makes it. Knowing the source of a wine does affect our evaluation of it. And it could change our view of it in perfectly reasonable ways. When you taste wines completely blind, without knowing what you are looking for, you really don’t know how to judge it. So, if I knew everything I needed to know about the wine except who the winemaker and oenologue were, finding out who they were would probably not change my judgment (and, indeed, in some cases, hasn’t, such as when I found out that Saint Damien used Cambie). But, if I tasted a wine thinking it was a Bordeaux and then found out it was a Beaulolais, that might materially affect my view of it and I wouldn’t be bothered by that.
There’s a famous (among people interested in the history of literary criticism) in which a professor of Literature at Cambridge (I. A. Richards, if you care) gave his students poems with no information about who wrote them or when they were written and asked for interpretations and evaluations. Unsurprisingly, the students did terribly at it. At the time, Richards argued that this meant that students must not have been learning to analyze literature well. In the years since, though, many scholars, reading the book and suspecting that they would have done as badly, started arguing, persuasively to my mind, that you can’t understand a poem without knowing such contextual matters as when and by whom it was written. If you want an easier and funnier version of this argument, read Jorge Luis Borges’ famous short story, “Pierre Menard, Author of Don Quixote.”
All really great points, Jonathan — and I don’t dispute any of them. The literary example helps illustrate how the dynamics discussed in that example, as well as those you discuss with respect to wine, are often at play, but sometimes more so, and sometimes less so, depending on topic/subject matter. I think those dynamics are more at play with literature than they are wine, but I think you did an excellent job of explaining some ways they are at play with wine.
The foregoing having been said and acknowledged, I think there are plenty of examples where those dynamics are not at play, and those are the examples about which my point/questions were centered — and I acknowledge you understand that, and acknowledged it, too. … Who doesn’t like some philosophy with their wine?
That part is true. Plus, the top consultants are also able to make sure the wine is placed into tastings for the top critics, which is not always easy.
That being said, what many people ignore, and yes Robert, this means you, each consultant provides different services and advice. For example, some offer more advice in the vineyards, like Derenoncourt. That is his specialty. He believes deeply in organic and biodynamic farming. Others focus on blending, like Rolland, which he is the master of.
Some only advise on the bottling. Others include marketing.
Then, simply because a property hires a consultant, they are not forced to take their advice. I am aware of numerous estates that want a second opinion but refuse to take the advice of their consultant. I also know estates that refuse advice and insist on making wines in a specific style, because that is the owners vision.
Alfret, I know of wines you love that discreetly hire Rolland, but it is never discussed or publicized.
It is something to consider. The use and non-use of consultants is far from cut and dried.
As for the topic at hand, I like Cambon La Pelouse for what it is. It is a nice $20 Medoc that is not worth high expectations but delivers quite well for that price.
If it is the case that a domaine that hires Rolland, for example, and publicizes the fact, though they barely use him, and that indicates that they want people to think their wine has the qualities his name is associated with, that would seem to indicate that domaines that hire Rolland discreetly, without publicizing it, that might suggest that they may find his advice valuable, but also make a different kind of wine and want to be known for that fact, so Robert’s policy of staying away from wines associated with the name would still make sense.
Whether the consultant specializes in work in the vineyard or work in the cellar is nothing to the point. The question is what kind of wine the work leads to. Cambie also worked in the vineyard and favored biodynamic and organic wine. He also favored other practices that led to wines associated with his name.