Eight issues into my WS subscription, I'm already unimpressed and a little bored. And at $50 per year for 17 issues with a touted 500 wine reviews per issue that's not good. The Wine Advocate will cost you $60 per year with 6000 wines reviewed over the one-year subscription. From what I gather, WA is more of a no-nonsense publication. So in honor of Mr. Shanken's marketing move...Top Reasons I Will Fire Wine Spectator.
- Awkward magazine size that fits in nothing I own
- Pretentious photographs of people lying in lawns cradling a glass of wine (don't believe me? Take a closer look)
- Shanken's mug toasting me on page ten of every issue
- Orwellian influence on my wine purchases
- Published ratings for wines that are no longer widely available
- Published ratings for wines that were never widely available
- Pay-based web site content
So having ranted and bashed WS, I do actually have a suggestion (a concept that might have helped my man Kerry take a couple million votes away from W43). Read a good retailer's newsletter. These folks taste a lot more wine than you or me. At their best, these newsletters are well written and seriously informative. Anywhere from a couple to 30+ pages in length, a newsletter can contain regional tasting reports, vintage reports, wine reviews, spotlights on lesser known wineries...and guess what? When available, they usually give you the WS/WA tasting note and score too!
Biased opinions that are just pushing product you say? Maybe. But do you think WS's Top 100 list is pure and without bias? Plus if you read a few with any regularity you'll get a good dose of "Caveat Emptor" and comparison shopping. So here are a couple of suggestions to get you started.
- Wine Country: monthly downloadable PDF file
- K&L Wine Merchants: monthly downloadable PDF file, request a weekly 'new arrivals' e-mail update
- Wine Expo: request a weekly e-mail
- The Wine Club: monthly downloadable PDF file
- Porthos: request a semi-regular e-mail update
- Premier Cru: request a bi-weekly new arrivals e-mail newsletter
Know of any others? Let's stick it to Marv!