Wine Reviews: Use With Caution
A pretty darn magnificent bottle of Moon Curser Tempranillo reminded me of the need to always put critics’ take in the proper perspective.
Moon Curser Tempranillo 2012 $32
I look at wine reviews all the time. If it’s a wine I’m not familiar with, or if it’s a bottle I’ve set down for a few years and I want to see how it’s drinking, often the first thing I do is Google it. It doesn’t govern what I’m going to do or think, but it’s a useful starting point. The problem starts when you start taking them as gospel because all a wine review is, is a certain person’s take at a certain point in time—that’s it.
I was reminded of this when I cracked this bottle of wine a few nights back. As anyone who reads WL probably knows, I’m a big fan of Osoyoos’ Moon Curser. Not only is their wine top tier, they constantly are pushing boundaries in the Okanagan by experimenting with new varieties: Touriga Nacional, Arneis, Carmenere are a refreshing antidote to the sea of Pinot Gris much of the rest of the Valley swims in. So I was a tad surprised when, in an otherwise largely positive review, I noted the wine being described as “astringent.” I opened the bottle and tasted. I let the glass sit for an hour and tasted again. And then I just started drinking it. It was that ideal marriage of new world winemaking and old world varietals—it had some rusticity but also some supple red fruit to balance it out. If anything it skewed more towards lush and away from astringency. Was the wine critic wrong? Not at all, in fact it was someone who has an amazing palate and my tremendous respect. It could have been bottle variation or more likely the extra 18 months of bottle age between our two tastings had done wonders for the wine.
The fact was that it was a snapshot of the wine as it tasted to that person a year and a half previous. This wine went on to garner quite a few medals at various international competitions and I, from my tasting, still reckon it’s trending upwards. But what do I know—I’m just another wine critic.