Thursday, May 22, 2008

In case you missed it

So, two weeks ago or so Eric Asimov interviewed me for this article in the NY Times wine section.

It brought a whole bunch of new traffic to the VLM-TR which seems to have dies down now so I feel comfortable commenting on it, and there many points I'd like to make, but I'll limit myself to a couple.

First, the articles on preferences that caused the uproar shouldn't have. All they do is show that wine, like cars or anything else where people make choices, is subject to the same lack of rational thought that humans exhibit in all sort of other arenas. Logic and probabilistic reasoning are not natural to most people, they have to be learned, the fact that it also applies to choices about wine shouldn't surprise anyone. Dan Ariely*, a professor at MIT, makes that point, but I don't think people understood it judging from the comments on Eric's Blog.

Second, I've gotten a lot of shit for the La Tâche vs Beaujolais comment. The context was a little lacking. The point is that wine is not a cocktail to me, I don't sit around drinking wine, that's why god created scotch and gin. Wine is part of a meal. In that case, there are instances where a fine Cru Beaujolais might be a better choice than La Tâche. This is precisely why I have very little cabernet sauvignon in my cellar, it is just too limited at the table. To not appreciate this is to misunderstand something fundamental to the enjoyment of wine. In our bigger, better, faster, MORE! culture, this kind of thinking can get lost in the shuffle. If 2002 Coudert is good with a dish, then 2002 La Tâche is better and 1934 La Tâche better still. To me, this misses the point entirely, though I grant that La Tâche is a great wine and I never pass up the chance to drink it.


* An interesting anecdote, I overlapped with Dan in graduate school at UNC. I was even in an individual choice behavior seminar with him taught by Tom Wallsten. Dan was already a rising star then and has had an exceptional career since.

3 comments:

Lyle Fass said...

Um . . .I need ics on this blog or else I am going to get disinterested and unlink you.

the vlm said...

You need to eat a bag of dicks.

Lyle Fass said...

Well . ..open your freezer Dahmer.