Driven By Context
It’s different here in the States. I think part of it is the fact that we are separated from Europe by geographical barriers. So, I think American wine criticism is quite different than European wine criticism.1 European wine criticism is closer to the source — or British I should say, British wine criticism.
So, they kind of get the whole gestalt of European wine, I think, far better than we do. They understand a kind of cultural complexity in the context of the wine. Somehow Americans have historically just been kind of tone deaf to the — as I said, to the kind of cultural aspect of wine, the cultural context of wine. So, we don’t really get the fact that these wines exist in a context of food, that they’re really meant to go with food, that they go with your — that European wines actually seem to complement food better than California wines. We tend to think of, in the New World, one of the problems, if we think of wine, as kind of just in the abstract. So, a wine is — you give a wine a point score of 95. Well, what does it mean, 95? Is this an absolute number, does it ever change?
The experience of wine is so driven by context. How you enjoy it under what circumstances, that really plays such an enormous part of how a wine is perceived. And that cultural nuance, that philosophical nuance, it’s complicated. And it doesn’t sell papers, because it’s complicated. The real story is a very complicated one, and that’s — we maybe are a little reductionistic in our thinking. People just want to know what — “I want the best, what’s the best? Give me a number where I can hang my hat. I just want the best. Thank you very much.”