It seems to us that many folks do nothing until they have read a review of whatever it is that they are considering either buying, using or tasting. This includes wine, food, cars, restaurants, trade people, movies, etc. It is easy to see why reviews of trade people can be very useful, as can ratings of cars when it comes to performance and reliability. As far as food and wine go, we have a lot of difficulty understanding why a professional reviewer’s, or critic’s, taste buds are better than anyone else’s. Is it really necessary to log onto Robert Parker, Wine Enthusiast, Food & Wine or any publication before you try a wine, or a recipe? Do those who post on sites like Yelp know what you would enjoy more than you do, or are they simply your neighbors offering an opinion? We believe the latter.
A person pretty much knows what tastes good, or where the service is best. Certainly, it may be easier and quicker to read a review, and then take a chance on a restaurant, or a wine. The operative word here is “easier”. Missing when one is unwilling to try anything before it is essentially pre-approved is the element of risk – however minor – of making a choice all by oneself, and in fact trusting oneself. (If we don’t watch out, there may come a day when we cannot choose a mate before some expert does the pairing!) Perhaps one question which needs to be asked is: Would we know if something is good or bad – all by ourselves, or Is it only possible to like, or dislike, something in group mode? Another is: “What is the objective of a review of anything? Is it informational, a subjective opinion, or is it it directive, i.e. Go there! Eat that. Drink this!
Is it time to get away from the professional reviewer or critic, and trust oneself, one’s friends, or some of the “people’s ratings” available on so many web sites. After all, any review – good or bad – is simply an opinion. For example, we like eating rabbit. You may not. If we write a review about a great rabbit dish we had at Joe’s Rabbit Restaurant, will that persuade you to go there, and eat rabbit? Probably not, nor should it. On the other hand if you like rabbit, you may try Joe’s. That choice would be made by you. All we did was provide information about a restaurant of which you may have been unaware.
Ditto for wines and spirits. For instance we do not happen to enjoy a number of wines. We found that out by trying them, and deciding that no matter what a reviewer said, we don’t like them, and probably never will. Sometimes we do not not finish a wine we purchase. We may simply not enjoy it, and disagree with the judges who may, or may not, have rated this wine highly. Once we taste the wine, our noses and taste buds help us decide whether or not it met our expectations.
By now, someone reading this article, may say – “Aha, De Angelis Wines got a bad professional review of their wines, and are upset”. Wrong. We do not send our wines to be graded by an expert. We know when they are good, and we know when they can be better. Some folks have rated our wines on web sites like Cellar Tracker. They are not the expert critic, nor are they reviewers. They are just plain folks. Like some of you, they may see a new, small winery, domestic or foreign, and take a chance on buying, then trying, wines of which they were previously unaware.
So what’s the point of this article? Be your own critic. Take a risk, and try new things before or after you read a review. Trust yourself because you have the best equipment that tells you whether or not you like something – Your eyes, ears, nose and taste buds.
So who died and left you Boss? You decide.