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Archive for the ‘Wine Writing’ Category


The Taste Descriptors From Outer Space

February 1st, 2012 by Tom Johnson

If there were a Wine Writer Olympics, the second most competitive event (after the contest to see who can get the most free wine) would be the Taste Descriptor Biathalon. In this event, wine writers compete to describe wines with words that are both highly original and utterly fatuous. Ordinal scores are based on off-handedness [...]

Posted in Oddities, Wine Writing | Comments (2)


In Which Professional Wine Writing Turns Into the Jerry Lewis Telethon

January 19th, 2012 by Tom Johnson

The defining characteristics of the waning years of the Jerry Lewis Telethon were outpourings of maudlin emotion and humble self-congratulation by old people belaboring the obvious. In the telethon’s case, it was a bunch of currently-headlining-at-the-Debbie-Reynolds-Theater-in-Branson-Missouri schtickmeisters returning to their Vegas-lounge glory days to remind us all that kids shouldn’t suffer unless it’s on camera to raise money. [...]

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Monroe, Louisiana, Is Apparently Where Headline Writers Go To Die

June 8th, 2011 by Tom Johnson

From the News-Star of Monroe, Louisiana, a last-gasp headline: Sauvignon Blanc Has an Array of Characteristics I’m riveted. Tell me more.

Posted in Wine Writing | Comments (5)


The Limits of Expertise: Better Wine Writing Means, First of All, Better Writing

January 13th, 2011 by Tom Johnson

Pamela Heiligenthal over at Enobytes contemplates wine writer certification. Interestingly enough, wine writer experience and credentials are trending differently than they were twenty years ago. What I have found is that most of the traditional wine writers gained employment at newspapers and magazines with a journalism degree in their pocket…Today’s wine writers are different animals. They [...]

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Dead Solid Perfect Imagery

December 2nd, 2010 by Tom Johnson

A recurring theme in Alfonso Cevola’s blog, On the Wine Trail in Italy, is his frustration with market resistance to Italian wines in other than Italian restaurants. He both resents and admires the establishment of Napa Cabs as the definitive steakhouse wines. In this lamentation of swimming upstream in a difficult market, he puts together [...]

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I Don’t Know What He’s Saying, But I’m Going to Try the Wine

August 27th, 2010 by Tom Johnson

Dirty South Wine on 1998 Castello Di Verduno Barolo Massara: Smells like funk and tastes like Christmas. OK, I’m intrigued.

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Because Even Good Things Get Tiresome

July 31st, 2010 by Tom Johnson

New York Times food critic Frank Bruni talks about writing about food, but could be talking about writing about wine. Too often, those of us who swim deeply in the food culture of the moment give the impression that every dining choice made is a deeply considered one, that life is a series of carefully [...]

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Google Hits Remain a Sucker’s Game

March 30th, 2010 by Tom Johnson

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a thing for Palate Press offering unsolicited advice to wine bloggers. One of my more controversial assertions was that depending on wine reviews for traffic was a loser’s game, since search engine traffic is flighty and less valuable than loyal readers. Here’s digital media Yoda/respected journalist Felix Salmon [...]

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In Which I Propose That We, as a Community of Wine Bloggers, Forgo a Joke That Just About All of Us Have Made at One Time or Another

March 29th, 2010 by Tom Johnson

Spit or swallow? It’s the go-to double entendre of winebloggers here, here, here,  here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. The commentors get into it here. I think we should ban spit/swallow humor voluntarily, before the government steps in. I know it’s going to be hard to come up with another joke, but [...]

Posted in Uncategorized, Wine Writing | Comments (2)


Olympic Whine

February 10th, 2010 by Tom Johnson

Wine writers are getting on the Vancouver Olympics bandwagon by writing about Canadian Ice Wine. Canadian wine producers wish people would notice their other wines, too. “(It’s) more like a wish to be recognized for something ELSE,” wrote Erin Harvey, an assistant wine-maker for Creekside Estate Winery in Jordan, Ont. “Icewine here is phenomenal, but [...]

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