What I don’t have
I consider myself to be an excellent wine taster, one with vast experience, but I do not have the somewhat sadistic self-complacency of those who pass judgement.
I confess that I do not have the mentality of a judge, rather a historic understanding which is not that popular these days. For sure, I judge wines but never people. I give my personal ratings, something I did as a middle school teacher before getting involved with wine, grading the work of human beings not more or less pleasing liquids. But I always did this in order to understand, above all, and never to exercise personal power, which I found embarrassing when I had to use it in the past. And I never did it to show how good I was at it.
Let me be clear, I consider myself to be an excellent wine taster, one of many in Italy and abroad, and this is a necessary but not sufficient condition to be able to understand. In order to understand, one needs passion, method, technical skill and respect for the work of others. This is the opposite of what some may think. And there must be respect for those who read you, who have the right to expect transparency, even if they do not necessarily need to agree with the evaluation given. One needs common sense, an ability to interpret what the winemaker or enologist sought to achieve. One need not be able to sing or play an instrument to appreciate music, understand and be moved by it. Just as one need not be able to produce a great wine in order to recognize one.
For sure, if one is technically competent, with vast tasting experience, if they have “strolled” through many vineyards and met many producers and enologists, throughout the world, then one’s point of view is more than just circumstantial. It is not just determined by an organoleptic experience and has a different depth, if not a reliability.
I realize that this will not please those who believe that one’s own emotions are what is important to express, but this risks being a somewhat infantile approach, a kind of self-referential underscoring of one’s own “personal utopia”, more than anything else, or an ethylic alienation aimed at making oneself interesting in the eyes of others because they are considered to be an “expert”.
What I don’t have is the certainty of being an “expert”, a lack of doubts. I find rating a wine difficult and it demands attention. What I don’t have is the somewhat sadistic self-complacency of those who pass judgement. All I do is offer a point of view, food for thought in order to open a discussion. What I don’t have is a lack of curiosity for those who think differently from me.