Checking in

I have been writing grapeobserver.com for a few months shy of five years now, and from time to time, I reflect on its purpose.  Writing about wine takes time, and the latter is for me a very scarce commodity.  Sometimes I find it hard to describe why I am keen to devote so much time to it.  I didn't do a particularly good job of explaining it recently to a non wine enthusiast.  On reflection, I suspect it is because wine has come to resemble the gazing upon of an alternative path, which only becomes visible in glimpses, through a series of gradual pushes into the unknown.  Equally, experience has taught that the grass is frequently a rather similar shade of green on the other side of the fence and my side isn't so bad.  So, perhaps then it's more like a vacation that invigorates.

In writing, I enjoy most the interactions with wine producers and importers.  Being given the honour of tasting and reviewing wines that others have gone to the trouble of producing or sourcing is not something I take for granted.  The publication of a couple of recent pieces in wine magazines with much broader distribution than my own has also been a source of pride.  The years of toil undertaking the WSET diploma and lesser qualifications are also opening education paths, and allow a certain confidence that I have the right academic underpinnings to comment.  The latter is of course not a universal affliction, but conversely, academic knowledge is not everything.  The other side of the coin sees a lot of time spent on what is frequently a solitary intellectual exercise where many competing views are equally valid, and the reality remains that my family and professional life are paramount.  And so I must temper my commitment from time to time for what is foremost a labour of love.  Unluckily for the reader, the vein of my interest is not yet sated, and so wine writing on grapeobserver.com continues.  The only certainty being that the destination is quite uncertain.

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3 comments:

  1. Hi Sean
    Your daily musings on wine are always a welcome distraction from the humdrum of everyday life. Occasionally there're also an inspiration to my personal wine journey.

    A case in point is your recent review of a 1997 Wendouree Shiraz Mataro which you rated outstanding. Your piece reminded me that that I'd not tasted a Wendouree wine for more than a decade. So I made an effort to chase a few at auction and to also dig in the cellar. The results have been interesting and illuminating as follows:

    1992 Shiraz Malbec (cellar) - a ripper, still with lots of life - very good.
    1997 Cabernet Sav (auction) - complex but surprisingly past its best, still OK to drink but a bit disappointing.
    2008 Shiraz Mataro (auction) - steel fist in a velvet glove, years to go, good to v good.

    Keep up your scribing...it's not about the destination but rather the journey itself!

    Cheers Peter

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  2. Sean, I am certainly enjoying your reviews and occasional comments on the broader wine scene. As a distributor I certainly appreciate you taking the time to open, dissect and write honestly about the wines that we import. Your writing is always thoughtful, professional and interesting. Keep going!

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  3. Peter - thank you for your kind words, and I suspect you are right about the journey being most important. I am loving exploring Wendouree at the moment as well, and I put in a rather large order for the 2012 vintage to cellar away on the assumption that I would receive little of it. That I remarkably received what I ordered, I expect will be noticed by my wife rather soon... !

    Craig - thank you too for your kind comments. You have the studied knack of being able to identify interesting, good and well priced wines from France that the market here sees too little of. I always look forward to seeing them and fear not, I suspect I shall be writing for a while yet!

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