Critics. What do they know?
This might sound somewhat hypocritical as we’ll be the first to let you know when one of our wines gets an award or is scored highly. But, when it’s one of our wines then obviously its 100% accurate. However I recently read a rather bold statement that I have a fairly strong opinion on.
Before I delve too far into that I should warn you that scoring a wine isn’t always as honest as it might seem, or indeed, should be. There are fairly well documented instances of critics demanding a case of 12 bottles before they agree to taste it and even having been caught out giving a wine a lower score than it deserved if they receive less than requested.
Furthermore, the wines which score the highest typically are those which will age for decades and are incredibly investable because of their longevity. That’s not much use to a consumer that actually wants to drink it before they die. This is why when our customers visit me in the shop I champion vintages which have received less aclaim, such as Bordeaux 2011 and 2012, as they’re more approachable in their youth as well as being modestly priced compared to the vintages which scored higher.
Critics can be incredibly influential, not only on consumers, but on winemakers as well. Winemakers in Bordeaux famously started making their wines in a riper, more fruit forward style with higher alcohol levels as this was the preferred expression of American critic Robert Parker and they wanted to get the elusive 100 Parker Points by making a wine to his taste. Commercially savvy? Maybe. But not exactly true to the terroir which is what Bordeaux is actually supposed to be about.
Matthew Jukes, a well known, influential critic said the following about Garrus, the flagship rosé produced by Chateau d’Esclans in Provence:
“I sense that Garrus will, one day, be mentioned in the same breath as wines like La Tâche, Latour, Vieilles Vignes Françaises and Le Montrachet”
For those of you who don’t know, the current vintage of La Tâche is available to buy online for £5,769.00. That’s per bottle, exclusive of duty, VAT and delivery. After those are added it’s a snip at just £6,944.68.
Now that we have some context I do have to say that I have absolutely no idea what Matthew is talking about. He’s referencing wines which have hundreds of years of history behind the names on the label, are of a pedigree which puts them amongst viticultural royalty and that can last for decades. Then comparing them to a rosé which was first produced in 2011 and despite being quite nice is little more than a demonstration of how a successful marketing campaign and good branding can transform someone’s perception of what’s inside the bottle.
Perhaps he means that within the breath that is mentioning these very famous wines alongside Garrus is a further statement proclaiming that none of them are exactly good value for money, in fact one could even call them massively overpriced. If that’s what he means then I’d tend to agree, alas I doubt it is.
Maybe I’m wrong though. Maybe Garrus really is going to be an icon that future generations of wine enthusiasts can only dream of having the chance of tasting. And if you think that could be the case you should probably click here and buy the 12 bottles we’ve had since 2015.