Have you EVER seen such bad journalism??? - Printable Version

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- Botafogo - 03-29-2002

Guys, I am taking a poll of interested parties. You seem like "devout Italian wine lovers" and I would welcome your responses to this:

"The wine regions of Valtellina and Abruzzo are not on even the most devout Italian wine lover's radar screen for quality wines." James Suckling on The WINE SPECTATOR website

I have questioned Mr. Suckling on the sheer ignorance / arrogance of this and his responses border on childish. E-mail me if you would like the whole text. The FACT that these wines have been famous for centuries and are in wide distribution (you can buy Sforzati in Singapore and Sao Paolo and Pepe Montepulcianos are the rage not just here but in Tokyo, the Gambero Rosso has given its highest possible award to four different Valtelina wineries and a wine from Abruzzo was its wine of the year last year) seems to mean nothing to him. His basic position is that if something has not been covered in the Spectator then it is "uknown".

But what really gets under my skin is that, in one uninformed throwaway sentence, Suckling both denies the very existence of and the YEARS of hard work in education and promotion by scores of nice wine loving people working for the importers of these wines. The fact that I became aware of it when one of them faxed me the text of the WS web page trying to sell me one of his wines dispite this is the final irony. In an effort to keep my energy directed at finding and nurturing new wines and not having strokes I generally avoid reading ANYTHING from these people.

Nine days to VinItaly and I can't wait, Roberto

- wondersofwine - 03-29-2002

Don't be discouraged. Keep up your educational efforts. Too many American wine drinkers follow the big names or fads and don't know about all the Italian regions that produce quality wine. Even "devout Italian wine lovers" might be devoted to a certain region (Tuscany perhaps) and not broadly knowledgeable about other areas. Look on it as a spur to keep on educating.

- Innkeeper - 03-29-2002

One side of me wants to say, Give 'em hell Roberto. The other side wants to say, Do we really want WS promoting these regions, and driving up the price? One could always ask if the WS gang has ever tasted the better wines from there. They now have a resident columnist in Florance. The wine producers should be able to set up an upscale tasting session with him. Some time after VinItaly of course. Have a great trip.

- Botafogo - 03-29-2002

Boy, you've BOTH got me worng:

A) I'm not discouraged in the least, if anything I am jazzed to prove that fact are facts and these wines are here and have a beig fan club.

B) No, we don't want or care if they cover these zones.

C) This is REALLY just perfect proof of why we give them NO credence in our store, do not use their scores and generally ignore them.

The really funny part was that Mr. Suckling (who now lives in Toscana after a long sojourn in London) actually said to me "May be (sic) these wines are better known in Santa Monica, but I doubt it since I was born and raised just around the corner in Pacific Palisades. And I know a little bit about the area."! And he followed that up with "please do not contact us again". Maybe he thinks the Red Cars still run to the beach....


- jock - 03-29-2002


You are dead-on not quoting WS in your store. We do not use them, RP or anyone else but ourselves in our store either.
We help the sheep that arrive with their score sheets in hand to the best of our ability. It's the people who let us give them a little assistance that get the gems.
Oh yeah, they also spend a lot less money.

[This message has been edited by jock (edited 03-29-2002).]

- Innkeeper - 03-29-2002


- Thomas - 03-29-2002

Don't suppose, after what I have posted in the past on this subject, that I need to say--right on Roberto. I use this line in my intro to new people at our store: "we do not believe in wine ratings and we especially think that the ratings and ravings in WS are a disgrace to wine."

- vinman - 03-30-2002

God man, go for it! Been there and if there was a drop of sweat that counted after a few weeks, it simply disappeared! Suckling buried all of us twice this past year! Enjoy your visit, give us something to remember on your return, and smile knowing you have beat the dude!

- Thomas - 03-30-2002

Incidentally, Roberto. I will be looking for you in the Alto Adige section--wear a sword so that I know when I have found the dragon slayer.

- Botafogo - 03-30-2002

Foodie, we will be four:

I am a hefty bearded white guy with grey hair

My Partner Ali is a tall slim Persian

Our Northern California Director is a blond Italian America with glasses and a big smile

His fiance is a tall, stacked Siciliana

We will all have bright yellow buttons on that read "Brigatta Wine Expo".

Hope to see you there.

If you have no plans for Wednesday night we have a traditional Independents Dinner at Il Cantinon preceded by drinks at Mondo d'Oro (accross the street). It is a lot of fun and you can meet some fun people.


[This message has been edited by Botafogo (edited 03-30-2002).]

- Thomas - 03-30-2002

Sounds good to me, especially the tall Siciliana, unless your partner is tall and bulky--me being so slight!!! But then, since I lived for two years in Iran I might find something to talk about with your other partner. You, on the other hand, have the same color beard as mine, and so I shall ignore you for your lack of taste...

I believe I am to be in Emilia Romagna Wednesday, but I could be wrong about that, and if so, I shall definitely take you up on that offer. Oh, my partner is a large, black (ex-football player--Buffalo U) from Ghana, and I will have him attached to my shoulder so you can't miss me.

[This message has been edited by foodie (edited 03-30-2002).]

- Botafogo - 03-30-2002

Foodie, give me your Hotel info and your actual name (which I have lost somewhere0.

We will be at the Hotel Maxim.

- Thomas - 03-30-2002

Roberto: check your email for it.