Tuesday, July 31, 2007

And Now For Something Completely Different


2004 Chateau Angelus, St-Emilion, France ($125)

Published by
BAS
at July 14, 2007 1 Comment

This is a review from Chateau Petrogasm, my new favorite wine review site. I have to agree with the single anonymous reader who, upon seeing this review, courageously commented: "That's strangely accurate." It really is. But it's also wonderfully thought provoking. Do they mean the tannins hit you like an anvil? That there are iron notes? That it has smooth edges, and some rough edges, too? What does it all mean?

"Wine is art, drinking it should be too!" Or so Andrew Stuart and Benjamin Saltzman, the founding residents of this imaginary chateau, contend. By reviewing a wine through an image, they provide a wine review blog that speaks to people of all languages, that is entirely subjective, and that engages the reader. Stuart, Saltzman, and the four other chateau "residents" also underscore that wine exists in a place that words can't always reach, and that in trying to capture a wine in words we wine reviewers sometimes miss the mark. Whether a picture of white wisteria to accompany a Zind Humbrecht gewurztraminer, conveying the essence of a California syrah with a fat-bellied puppy, or suggesting a black and white graphic is the perfect expression of a 1996 Champagne, this is a wine blog that challenges and delights.

Visiting Chateau Petrogasm has become my preferred morning brain exercise. It beats Sudoku, no question. It gets the old synapses firing better than caffeine. And it's the only wine review site that can put forward a reasonable claim that philosophers from Plato to Wittgenstein (were they still living) would vote for it in the American Wine Blog Awards.

Go. Now. Visit. Have fun. Laugh. Think. It will do you good.

8 comments:

Orion Slayer said...

Huh?

Dr. Debs said...

You got it! Huh is the right response. But it got you thinking, yes? And you have to admit it's the most original thing out there in the wine review world.

Orion Slayer said...

It did get me thinking. I want to go back and see if they ever feature a wine I've had so I can see where they are coming from. I would be scary if Gary Vaynerchuk gave a picture with some of the discriptions of wine he gives! Are you watching him on Conan tonight?

Dr. Debs said...

Good idea. The 'puppy' syrah made so much sense to me, not because I had that particular syrah but because I've definitely had syrahs that seemed like young puppies that it all just clicked. But what I really love is the effort required to figure it out. The champagne I'm still working on, but I think it might be about the bubbles!

I don't have TV where I am--normally I'm an addict, but we don't get any signal up here. But I can't imagine it won't be on YouTube in 20 seconds.

winedeb said...

Whew ! This sight blew me away! I will be spending way to much time at this one! Some of them made my brain go %^&*)&*^%^$^
Actaully too cool !

Jill said...

I posted this comment on WLToday but I'll post here too!...

I can't tell if the site is a joke or not. It is perfect, though, combining the cliché absurdity of the art world with the old perceived snobbery of the wine world, mashing up the two in almost a performance art meets dada kind of way. Let's call it Performance Blogging...I don't know, there has to be a better name for it. Debs?

The Residents of Château Petrogasm said...

While the idea for the site started with a series of inside jokes between myself and Ben, once the site was launched, it became clear very soon that the reviews are effective at conveying characteristics of the wine. Certainly, there's the fact that you can't describe minute Characteristics of the wine, denoting how a '04 Napa Cab is "redolent of mild herbs and thick with cassis", it's still safe to say that certain images are good at describing the wine as a whole. Sometimes, it helps to have had the wine. Today I posted a picture of a brick wall to describe a 2005 Sea Smoke Pinot. That might be cryptic if you haven't had that particular wine, but as soon as other people who tasted the wine saw the image, it made sense. So I guess this is a long winded way of saying that the site was born of jokes, but is not in fact, a joke.

-AMS

Dr. Debs said...

Thanks, CP residents, for responding to Jill's questions. I suspected that was the way the site started. First it was tongue in cheek, then you said "hey, this works!" The images keep getting better and better for each wine so it's also fun for me to see your skills as "performance art wine reviewers" improve. Keep up the great work.