NPR, Wine Tasteing, & Audiophiles

Was running errands yesterday and caught the last bit of a rather famous story about wine tasting on National Public Radio. They did a single blind test with several highly thought of experts to find out what the 'best' wines were. The clear winner for white whine was a lowly California vintage, and in general the realy high priced famous vintage stuff did not fare better than some current vintage wines that the average person might afford.
Remind you of anything :).
Foie gras?
Hmmmmm! There you go taking in that wild liberal mindset from NPR... Think I'll have a glass or three of semi-cheap wine and tune in to Car Talk or A Prairie Home Companion myself! Thanks. Cheers!
Reminds me that blind testing is not a replacement for long term experience.

By the way, my favorite wines are the fine French Bordeaux's but they are too expensive for my budget in these lean times.

Instead, I drink Australian, California and other great wines that might rank 75 - 85 points against an almost perfect 99 - 100 French. I find good wines at $7.00 to $11.00 a bottle whereas the best might cost several hundred dollars.

Are the best wines worth that much more than the 75 to 85 rated wines? Yes, if that's what is important to you and have the money to spend. No, if your looking for "value" for the dollar.

From that standpoint, yes, it reminds me of something...........high end audio.

For instance Vandersteen 2C speakers are clearly a better value than my Dali Megalines simply because you can buy 44 pair of the Vandys for what one pair of Megalines cost.

Many things in life work this way.
I like them bottles with the screw-off caps, so me and my ol' lady don't have to waste no time before getting drunk and doin' the old hoo-ha!
booyah Fatparrot..I was set to comment on Alberts insightful remarks, but I almost sent a mouthful of coffee onto my pc monitor after your post.
Perhaps even more interesting is the article from the New Yorker's annual food edition from maybe two years ago, where a blind test was held of red and white wine both at room temp. This is going back a little, but as I remember it the panel was made up of someliers from a very prestigious institute in Cali. and even the best ones could only tell the red from the white like 3/5 times. I was thinking vinyl v. cd?
Albertporter - Hard to keep a train of thought with fatparrot two lines above a doin the hoo-ha.
But in any case, fwiw, it wasn't a value test it was a which one is best test. Ain't sure how long term experience would apply with a wine taste test? If you can't tell anything from a taste then why do folks make such a big deal about it?
I look at the "Best Value" list in Wine Spectator ... and I've never been disappointed when following their recommends. As for audio, I look at/read the standard mags, but I've given up on the "best" hunt, as I've been happy with almost everything I've ever owned, at least happy enough. I now simply want to enjoy what I'm hearing, not point to a pedigree, so I know that there's great music to be had without spending lots of dollars to get it. Same goes with wine, of course. I still enjoy the audio mags, but only because I want to see what's being made, what someone thinks about same, and I continue to look for worthy SACD music.
I wouldn't have thought this a few years ago, but I now see the audiophile world's rejection of blind testing as part of our society's larger anti-science movement. In concept the traditional audiophile view is not that different than creationist talking about all the "problems" in the theory of natural selection. Both groups tout a blanket rejection of standardly accepted scientific methodologies and practices because they disagree with the conclusions.

I also recently heard on my local NPR station that 1 in 7 Americans thought the sun revolved around the earth. Ignorance isn't bliss, it's ignorance.

Wine comes in bottles? And here I've been drinking it out of the box!
As a cabernet and zinfandel enthusiast, I can say that for a wine to be excellent, is usally needs to be "put down" in a celler for a few years to really smooth out. That's when you can separate the good from the blah. It's like letting your equipment warm-up before a critical listening session, or allowing a new component (including cables) burn-in for a few hundred hours before you can determine it's sonic qualities.

Too often, wine tasting comparisons use vintages that are currently available and drinkable, but the taster misses the true potential of the wine because it needs to be properly aged over time, not just a few years from bottling.

Just my two-cents.

Agreed, often the higher-end wines have to age to come into their own. Their price is aimed at collectors who will do this. Though I've had many good bottles of young reds, their is nothing to compare to a properly aged red. It is simply divine! Sometimes, only time can work the magic.
I did a double blind test about five years ago.

I blindfolded and tied up my girlfriend spread eagled to the bed, then just left her there and went in to the next room to listen to my new DAC.

She was begging for more.
Gunbei: I don't even know how that last made it past the moderators! ;)
I visited a winery in the Shenandoah Valley in VA & the wife & I were treated to a tour before the place opened up by the owner. There were a bunch of bees hovering around an open red wine barrel & some of them were even swimming/soaking in the wine. I mentioned my allergic reaction to bees & that red wine gave me a headache...

I do most of my wine shopping at Sam's club and pick the wine based on how cool the bottle looks.
Mimberman, I know. It must be because I put the DAC reference in the post, heheh.
Check out the movie "Mondovino" for an interesting perspective on the wine biz. Now if only someone would shoot the equivalent "Mondoaudio" that should prove to be truly hysterical!
Gunbei, you sound (or write) like someone I know.
Can't believe nobody has mentioned "Two Buck Chuck!"
Yr44: You know me? ;-)
spanish and italian wines are hard to beat for value....12 bucks gets a pretty decent italian wine and 25 a very good young one like a Brunello...50 and it is heaven on earth
Dean- That's double BLIND- not double BIND!
A few months ago, I went to see Jesse Cook perform at a winery in Temecula, CA. That's about all I know about wine.

Yrr, fast food needs to be inserted somewhere in that list! Heheh.

I like Two Buck Chuck!
The Spanish wines are a good value as the Italian wines used to be (but are now expensive). I was just in Spain and some of their wine regions are going Napa so I expect their prices to increase too. But the sad thing is the price of any of these wines in Europe. They are all cheap!
I've lived in Europe on a couple of different equations, and it always hurts going back to the states. Not that we can't get good wine, but man-oh-man do we pay a premium for it. I mean, even for Californian ones...some you can't even get if you're not on the Vineyard's list! I know prices go up because of importing costs, but the main difference is that you're hard pressed to get a drinkable bottle of wine in the US, domestic or otherwise, for 6 bucks. MAYBE, you could find a chilean or argentinian for around the same price, but I there are so many cheap bottles here that are really quite nice. I have a couple friends with pretty impressive cellars (just had a 1927 vintage port!) and they frequently put down some sub 8-dollar wines that turn out splendidly. However, I've been known on occasion to put down a box of franzia....just insert a straw into the top and it's pretty easy from there.
i dont know anything about wine but i drink alot of cognac & i can tell ya that if you drink a bottle of rot gut you'll wake up with 1 hell of a mess on your hands while on the otherhand you can down a whole bottle of xo supreme & wake up feeling right as rain.

blind testing or not im sticking with the good stuff.
The difference is huge. Wine all starts with grapes, and then gets processed.

Audio components have a lot more to do with materials that go into the product, engineering, and usually the heavier the better (shipping costs).

Too much of a stretch to compare the two.

ROFL R_f_sayles!!!
The blind test mentioned on NPR was held in 1976, in Paris, with a highly respected panel of French judges. California wines won both the red and white tests, against truely excellent French wines. It is considered the "start" of the California wine industry as it is known today.

For what it is worth, it is also considered the begining of tighter quality control in France. They were very embarrased.

Myself, I subscribe to what Ray Charles said about music, and find it is true for wine as well. To paraphrase, there are only two kinds of music; good, and the rest of it.

Don't forget this from "The Jerk".

Navin: (Steve Martin) "Marie, now just stay calm. Stay calm. Don't look down, don't look down! Look up! Just keep your eyes up and keep them that way, o.k.!

Waiter, there are snails on her plate. Now get them out of here before she sees them! Look away, just look away, keep your eyes that way! You would think that in a fancy restaurant at these prices you could keep the snails off the food!

There are so many snails there you can't even see the food!

Take those away and bring us those melted cheese sandwich appetizers you talked me out of!"

Waiter: "Oui monsieur."

Navin: "Can you believe this? First, they didn't have the bamboo umbrellas for the wine, and now snails on the food! Two boobs! That's what he takes us for!"
(ROFL R_f_sayles!!!)??? Ok Robm321 I give, what's the acronym? Is that in or out of agreement with my tongue in cheek remark? Cheers!

"Think I'll have a glass or three of semi-cheap wine and tune in to Car Talk or A Prairie Home Companion myself!"

I grew up in the Napa Valley. I am definately laughing in agreement.

ROFL (rolling on the floor laughing) the other R was a typo.
Livermore, Ca. used to have an annual Labor Day Wine Festival. (Maybe they still do). Admission was 25 bucks and your three day 'ticket' to enter the vineyards was a wine glass. They had a separate summer concert series where you could have dinner outdoors and listen to Boz Scaggs .. a nice mix of wine and audio.
Wente Vineyards still has summer concerts, some of them really big names. I've never been but it sounds like fun. But talk about good music... there's the bluegrass festival this weekend in San Francisco. And talk about big names! I'm going just to see Tony Rice (but I'll take the rest too!).
Classical1 and Budrew,

I live in San Ramon. I've seen all these concerts and known people that have gone, but I got down there. The bay area is great for music. San Jose jazz festival, etc.
I'm certainly no expert on wine, but still remember the Wente Cabernet> i think it was called Special Reserve at @ $20/bottle. One of the best I've ever had. They put on a great festival.. it opened fairly early each day and I learned it's important to pace yourself :)
I think it is very un-scientific and useless to conduct a single blind tasting, and draw conclusions from that. Old winemakers and oenophiles know that it is not a single tasting (blind or not) that determines a wine's standing in the quality ranks. It is only if a wine consistently performs well at shows and events over a period of time that one can draw conclusions. Tastings involve people - thus subjective and prone to influences. E.g.- What is the experience levels of the tasters, what food was served prior /after tasting, what temperature etc. You get the idea.

Just like in high-end audio I guess. The good brands will stand the test of time and word of mouth.

Now go have a glass and put on another CD. :-)
"It is only if a wine consistently performs well at shows and events over a period of time that one can draw conclusions" - johangrb

Are you sure this wasn't an excuse to drink more.

"I'm not an alcoholic, I'm just being thorough with my wine tests" ;)

I'm just having fun. You have a good point. I've changed my point of view after long listening test from what I originally thought before. For example, I always prefer a SS CD player when comparing it to a tubed output player for the first song. Long term, the SS gets old quick, and I usually will prefer the tubed player.