Within the last three days several people came in and purchased Mountain Tides, Petite Sirah. The pattern triggered me to investigate the reason behind the collective purchases. Low and behold, last week Eric Asimov in the New York Times did a write up about the grape and pointed out the excellent examples from the winery Mountain Tides. Interestingly, last year we at Vinous Reverie interviewed the winemaker Kirkpatrick via Facebook live. You can get more detail about this wine if you look at the Facebook Interview. This was not the first time a New York Times wine article sent their readers to our online store AND we are the only store carrying those wines. The Commando G, La Bruja that I've been praising all of 2019, Asimov wrote up earlier this year. When I first opened the shop, I had the great English Sparkler from pioneering Nyetimber winery. This was MONTHS before Asimov's "discovery". Customers also came in for Diamantis Moschomavro from the same recommendation source. In addition, SF Chronicles' recommendation of Newfound's Grenache also brought people to the shop as well.
What is the commonality between Vinous Reverie having these wines before wine publications do the write ups on them? I hand select these specific wines based on suggestions from whom I consider should be essentially the only source of wine recommendations, Jancis Robinson. And I truly believe that the NY Times and SF Chronicle were aware of recommendations that came from JancisRobinson.com prior to them writing about their selected wines (stealing is the greatest form of flattery, right?)
I think in the world of wine and wine branding it is impossibly hard for quality to show itself. I think the reasons outlined below are how certain consumers select their wines:
That's a pretty label
Wine Spectator gave it 90+ points
Vivino has a great average score - (4.5 points on Caymus cab?? I'll pass).
So what makes Jancis and her team better? I'm glad you asked. I consider her (and her team) the number one source of knowledge on wine. As a group, they have written some quintessential books: World Atlas of Wine, The Oxford Companion to Wine and Wine Grapes. There is no one else close to this depth of knowledge. Not Robert Parker, not Wine Spectator and definitely not Vivino. Even Karen McNeil, whose very educational and all-time best selling wine book, Wine Bible, stated that "no one has more wine knowledge than Jancis". The Wine Bible is not the all-time best selling book because it is that good (and it is good) but because it has the word "Bible" in it's title and you can't get better branding than that. In fact, when you read Jancis, she does not use attention grabbing headlines or any buzz words. She is direct in a brilliantly diplomatic way (I wish I could be that way - sorry Vivino).
Long story short, I whole heartedly believe if you drink wines based on Jancis' (or her team members) recommendations, you will be drinking the best wines in the world (and they come at all price points. As she herself says ad nauseum, there is no correlation between price and quality. I am definitely one of her disciples and if you are not, you'll just have to take a leap of faith. If fact, as far as I know, I'm the only wine shop in the USA where you can filter wines by Jancis scores (a 20 point scale vs the typical 100 points scale). As a suggestion, I would recommend starting with wines that were, at one point or another, selected as her Wine of the Week. There is easy to read, in-depth information about what makes the wine so special. Based on this selection process, I believe Vinous Reverie selections are curated second to none.
You can start your wine discovery with the link below.