Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Bloggergate, and what are reviews for, anyway?

We just learned of a minor hullabaloo regarding publicity for Rodney Strong's new high-end wine, Rockaway. It appears that Rodney Strong sent samples of the wine to bloggers--no, we were not among them--many of whom went on to trumpet the wine's praises in their blogs. A further, irrelevant dimension of the "scandal" is that many in the blogosphere wrote very similar reviews of the wine, probably parroting the promotional material accompanying the bottle.

Rockaway is expected to retail for about $75. As far as we can tell, Rodney Strong is attempting to create a "cult" or at least "cultish" wine through the not exactly proven techniques of generating buzz and implying scarcity.

We here at WftP do not concern ourselves with such wines. (NB: WE ARE VERY HAPPY TO RECEIVE SAMPLES.) (NB2: we have yet to receive any samples.) But why does anyone? We know full well that many very expensive wines that are not worth the glass they are bottled in. Let alone the price of the blemish-free, 2-inch cork they are invariably stoppered with. And some of course are heavenly. But really, if some vaguely anonymous souls on the web advised that the $150 bottle of Chateau X was a great wine, would you care? Wouldn't you assume that the wine would be special to someone, even if you did not know whether you shared their taste? And unless you know your blogger very well, how do you know you share their taste?

Description, we imagine. And we suppose that descriptions that impart information beyond "gobs of fruit, TNT-levels of glycerin, and soft, supple tannins with a finish that lasts into the 23rd century" are why faithful readers are such. But still.

How often do you, our faithful readers, spend that kind of money on wine? And whose advice, if anyone's do you seek out before you shell out?

We stand by our opinion that helping you find the pearl in a sea of low-priced plonk is a more valuable service, but we ask these questions in earnest. If you advise that you would like our opinions on more high-falutin' bottles, we will do our best to provide them. Of course, it will help if the samples start coming our way.
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