Irregular Reflections Of A Wine Lover – #65


I’m a nice guy, most of the time. The stuff I write on my two sites, Wine Virtuosity and Mad about Madeira, are mainly in order to enthuse and to make the reader curious.

For several reasons I’m not much in to picking on producers, finding faults in their products. I do taste crap and I do taste a lot of wines which – as Jamie Goode puts it – there’s little to be said about. I prefer speaking in general terms, when I’m worried about the development in a specific region or country – or when a wine style is changing direction too much. If I’ve decided to pick on a wine I must be certain what I’m doing. Did I retaste the wine after the first impression, just to exclude a potentially faulty bottle? Did I consider my own mood at the time of the tasting? Did I give the wine enough time? If I meet my own criterias I can go ahead.

It’s been a while since my last reflections but now there’s simply too much materiel for not sending out some anger. Here you go, Irregular Reflections Of A Wine Lover – #65.


I live in a country where one monopoly after the other has fallen. One remains though, the retail monopoly of alcohol. For some reason it has survived despite lots of ambigousness in regards to EU-law, bribe scandals and dubious buying methods.  I live in a country where the state monopoly supports the selling of wines in three liter boxes. Boxes that now stands for around 60 percent of the wine consumption in Sweden. It’s all a matter of price for the consumer and for the monopoly it eases the logistics. I live in a country where the state monopoly uses tenders to buy in wine. Tenders! How 2013 is that! A panel tastes blindly and chooses the one they find most fitting according to the tender. How competition law friendly is that? A panel decides what you should drink. As having my degree in business law I’m amazed this is allowed to continue. After all, in the end it’s subjective – even if the panel is competent. Somebody chooses for you. Is that EU-law to you?


Do I look stupid to you?

Oh, by the way, the main reason the monopoly claim their existance upon, is the health of the citizen. Health, bag-in-boxes….got it.


Tweet spanking No.1. I’m on Twitter. I like it. There was a time when I had my doubts but I can see the charm and benefits of it as a wine lover. What I don’t like – or perhaps understand – is all the completely ridiculous tweets which don’t give the follower anything at all. Most tweets won’t be remembered for more than a few minutes but please, tell me why my feed should be flooded with information such as tweets telling me you have posted 22 new tweets the last 24 hours, that you at the same time received 3 new followers and 2 left. I know it’s automized but why are you posting crap like this? Nobody’s forcing you.


Tweet spanking No.2. Listen. I don’t want to know if your Klout score is 57 or 64. I don’t want to know who influences you and who gives you a +K. As Ben Rothke says: “Klout has its work cut out and it seems like they need to be in beta a while longer. Klout can and should be applauded for trying to measure this monstrosity called social influence; but their results of influence should in truth, carry very little influence.”* People with influence has it thanks to having built up a reputation. Focus on producing quality materiel instead for a longer period of time – if you aim for influence. Don’t focus on overdoing the social media thing and telling the world your Klout score. We don’t care.


Tweet spanking No.3. Next tweet to get it’s well deserved spanking; the check-ins at Foursquare. Honestly, who gives a d-mn where you are? The check-ins has taken such exaggerated proportions now, that people tweet the most absurd things and I refuse to lower myself to the levels and give you examples. What’s in it for the follower one could ask, but even, what’s in it for you? Willingly you help a company to get lots of attention but do you get something for it – besides looking like a fool? How about people just gave their upcoming tweet one second’s thought, before sending it.


photo (1)I know what you’re thinking now. Who’s he to tell others what to tweet or not. Is he that much better himself?

Well, what can I say? You’re probably right. After all, would I have trusted a guy with an appearance like this?


There’s so many experts on wine out there and one of the most frequent comments is about too much oak in a wine. Oh, you think so? Could you develop your statement? Isn’t it normal that a 2009 Bordeaux of a higher caliber has a lot of oak in this current stage of its life? Would you also claim there’s too much oak in a DRC 2010, just to stay consequent?

P1080670More than 100 years in oak casks. Too much you think?

People love saying there’s too much oak because that’s the component they can recognize. They seldomly consider the general structure of the wine, the fruit, the acidity, the over all feel. And even more, few have a track record of tasting the specific wine over the years and knowing how it develops. That’s the biggest difference between established wine writers and bloggers. It’s so easy to just claim too much oak but if you do, please inform the reader that you are quite familiar with the wine and hence your doubts are based on this, that in a specific vintage it will not handle a too a generous oak treatment. People do listen to wine bloggers as well so take responsibility for what you’re writing. If you’re just on an oak allergy quest, don’t drag all with you. I’m no fan of too oaky wines either but do try to stay objective and analyze a wine for the potential, not for a drinking now-phase only.


And just when I thought the retail monopoly couldn’t get worse I read the story about an importer who won a tender half a year ago. It was an Albarino from Rias Baixas and when the wine were about to start selling, the monopoly stopped the wine, claiming it was not the same as the wine which won the tender. The one selling now was superior in quality. Superior! So the importer had to take back the wine, 6 000 bottles, and pay all expenses himself. The retail monopoly also keeps the right of further legal claims in the context of missed out incomes of the sales.

P1060439The road to vinous freedom – the bridge between Denmark & Sweden

Well duh, could somebody explain this to me? Anyway, I guess that a country where the consumers prioritize a bag-in-box in front of a quality Albarino, deserves a state monopoly. But if I were a wine producer in the EU, I wouldn’t have accepted the process of the state monopoly which is everything but considering the health of their citizens. It’s all about taxes and money and for some reason making a sacred cow of the retail monopoly. Sorry to have to say it but it’s time to slaughter the cow.


Good news! I’ve just been to Tokaj and visited 11 producers. So much are happening in one of the world’s most well-known regions and with more than 400 single vineyard locations, Tokaj has all the chance to become a world class wine region again but now with their dry wines instead.

IMG_5832Quartz in the Betsek vineyard in Tokaj

Recently I also visited the Hungarian embassy in Stockholm, to taste some more stuff from the country. And the impression is the same no matter if the label says Badacsony, Mor or Somló; things are happening in the country and Hungary with all its indigenous grapes, could become the new thing amongst consumers. Just handle this correct Hungary and promote your diversity – not international varieties.


* Some observations on Klout score. Click here for the full article.