If being a wine writer is all about ‘tasting vast quantities of wine’, why isn’t everyone doing it? Because as wine writer Geoff Adams explains in his chapter on Wine Journalism (Specialist Journalism, Routledge, £23.49): ‘it can be difficult to commission a sufficient amount of work within this speciality alone to make a good living’. But if that hasn’t put you off, then how do you go about becoming a wine writer?
Start by knowing your subject and educating your palate, although Geoff also includes ‘visiting the regions, wineries and vineyards’ in his list of must-haves. But the economics of wine writing make this a bit of a pipe dream for the beginner.
So go for the cheaper option – the library or the charity shop book shelf. Here you’ll find a vast range of slightly dated but still useful wine knowledge including Larousse Wine Encyclopedia (my own copy is 1994).
Yes there is the internet but as all wine writers discover early on – you must be sure of your sources. Website wine information is often both useful and inspiring but it can be an inaccurate rehash copied from another website, which was copied from another website…ad infinitum. In this way myths and inaccuracies persist.
Okay, but what about the educating the palate bit? Geoff suggests choosing ‘wines of individuality…which can be used to train the eye, nose and palate’ from the new and old world wine regions, but not the ‘mass-produced cheap wines that taste the same wherever in the world they are made’.
Here I have to disagree with Geoff, cheap wines (those usually priced at £6 or under) may, more often than not, be mass produced but it does not necessarily follow that they will all taste the same: a Cabernet Sauvignon from the vast wine farms of Australia usually tastes of diluted jam, while the same grape variety grown in the south of France produces a wine that too may be sweet but has a background of balancing tannin.
All wines are a learning opportunity. So dismiss them at your peril.
PG Wine Reviews
Co-op Fairtrade Argentinean Malbec Rosé 2014
Tastes more like a white wine with a vague hint of rosé: flavours of peaches, pears and lemons with pear blossom aromas. Very pleasant.
Exquisite Collection Argentinean Malbec 2015
Fresh aromas of violets and blackberries but tastes like a square of chocolate melting in the mouth.
Domaine Mandeville French Viognier 2015
Flours of lemon, apple and bubblegum with a hint of ginger.
La Terrasse French Chablis 2014
Tastes of creamy apple pie.
Alta Vista Argentinean Terroir Selection Malbec 2011
Creamy choc, cherry and raisin cookie flavours with a slight edge of smokiness. Lots of dosh and lots of alcohol too – watch out for the 15% alcohol.
Tweet me a wine question @huxelrebe
© Paula Goddard 2015 www.paulagoddard.com