Writers block comes in a number of forms for serious writers. It can be lack of ideas, stress, being unhappy with ones writing, or a lack of validation (self mostly). For a wine reviewer there can be another reason, wine failure. By this I don’t mean really bad,horrid wines but going down a tasting road that simply doesn’t warrant writing about. That’s where you will find me at the moment. I am not finding a lot of wine that I find interesting enough to want to write about.
At the moment I am forcing myself to write and post simply because I owe it to myself to keep the tools sharp and to my readers to keep them in the loop. A while back I got a reply from one of my good friends, Jeff, who I’ve known on-line for, I guess at least two years, reminding me that I was getting tunnel vision and focusing too much of my reviewing on NakedWines.com wine (which I pretty universally like) and not reaching out into the market place to sources where “non-NakedWine angels could access the wine. Ironically Jeff and I met through our association with NakedWines, but I took his observations to heart. His point, after all, hit the mark spot on; I needed some diversity to keep my reviews relevant. So off I trudged to my wine cellar, the wine shops I frequent, the supermarket and let us not forget the Web, to see what I could find that gave me the latitude to broaden my scope and appeal to a broader audience.
My cellar yielded a few gems which due to age would be a bit pricy, the Web, several cases (some still a bit young), and the retail wine sources a few but none that really excited my creative juices. I write for readers who are not now, nor likely to become, wine tasting judges, or even significant collectors of really great wines. As one of my readers described herself “I am a Grapist”, one who knows only that she likes wine occasionally and can tell the difference between a red and a white, but not a lot more. She represents my quintessential reader, the one I want to write for. I want Poor Robert’s to be a fun place for Grapists, and those who know a little more about wine and their personal taste to have some fun and hopefully learn a little, in non-intimidating terms, about the world of wine, wine making, wine consumption and even a little about what wines appeal to me (emphasis here) with what foods. I am no food and wine paring expert and all I really care about in this vein is to get people to try some food and wine and see what they like.
What does all this have to do with writers block? Well not a lot I suppose but it does help explain mine. With all this trove of new wines to try came a conundrum. I grew up under the Thumper Principal (from Bambi for those of you old enough to remember) – “If you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all”. Simply I am struggling with many of the wines I selected and how to write about them in a positive way. Somehow “ this wine is really ordinary and okay but overpriced for what you get” isn’t worth printing and fundamentally inconsistent with my upbringing. Also wine is a funny thing, it can be off because of bad bottling, it can be corked (bacterial or fungal taint), it can simply be too young or to old, or poorly cared for (got to hot or to cold). Slamming a wine because I didn’t like it or didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I should would be unnecessarily harmful to a winery or winemakers reputation After all they didn’t set out to produce and average wine, they put everything they had into making it and hoped it would be a good wine. In addition it could be just my taste buds or circumstances outside their control that lead me to not like it. Many of my latest acquisitions have fallen into that category. Many of them I believe are simply too young to drink right now, and a good many seem very one dimensional. I mean by that they taste flat and don’t let me see or make me want to look for interesting flavors or textures. I guess they don’t meet my standards for reviewable wines.
In the end I concluded the height of my standards don’t let me put a “weekly wine” label on something that I just don’t think is special. I am not talking $200.00 per bottle, Chateaux Laffite Rothschild special, I am talking about $10.00 to $25.00 special as being a good to great value for a fun sort of wine that folks can enjoy as a sipper, with food, or just with friends on an evening out. So here it is, When I find wines worth of “The Weekly Wine”, I’ll write about them. In the interim you will find me working away on some of the back page of the blog, Varietals, Ordinary reviews and most of all expanding the lexicon so that wine words don’t mystify me or my readers. I’ll also be continuing the “Wine Regions of the World” feature and just writing about other stuff – Like Writers Block for a Wine Reviewer.