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The Gray Report Blog: Open Letter to Marvin Shanken re: James Laube
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I searched the archives to see if anyone was talking about this and it appears no. Just wanted to get everyone's reaction to this blog post I came across this afternoon in the Snooth newsletter.

http://wblakegray.blogspot.com...-marvin-shanken.html


"There's no substitute for pulling corks" ~ Alexis Lichine
 
Posts: 175 | Location: Gaithersburg, MD | Registered: Apr 13, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yeah, uh, wow - really goes for the jugular with that post.

Yeah I've heard mixed things personally. I've been to wineries where the owner says Laube gives their stuff horrible ratings to then see, in the very next issues, 93-95pt ratings for their stuff.

In all honesty, I am more curious about who is going to be tasting Italians.


"This may be the wine talking but I want some more wine"
 
Posts: 1359 | Location: Bay Area, CA | Registered: Dec 05, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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This has already hit the other wine boards. My favorite post in those threads I saw over and over?

"Who is Blake Gray?"

Big Grin


Joe
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Posts: 14278 | Location: Arlington, Texas | Registered: Aug 30, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Joe, that is the million dollar question. Although it does raise an interesting question.
 
Posts: 3934 | Location: Westchester, NY | Registered: Aug 06, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by wineismylife:
This has already hit the other wine boards. My favorite post in those threads I saw over and over?

"Who is Blake Gray?"

Big Grin


Haha yes indeed an interesting question. I personally have never heard of him, let alone read any of his stuff. The overwhelming theme that I pulled out of the comments on his blog was that it took a lot of "Cojones" to write that and post it. Doubt it will even get a reaction from Shanken. This guy is like a gnat on the global wine scene.


"There's no substitute for pulling corks" ~ Alexis Lichine
 
Posts: 175 | Location: Gaithersburg, MD | Registered: Apr 13, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If Laube does love softer fruit bombs (and he does), that's perfectly fine with me. As long as the ratings are consistent with his sensibilities, they allow anyone to align their palate with his.

Gray's missive comes across as: "I don't like the wines Laube likes, so can him."

But, Gray doesn't address the main complaint I read about Laube, consistency. I really don't have a firm opinion, as I haven't done side by side comparisons with Laube's notes to accurately determine for myself. I think I know, but sometimes I am surprised by Laube's choices, relative to what I think he'd choose. Unless someone has done an exhaustive comparison for themselves, I'd submit that their opinion on Laube's, or any other critic's worthiness is anecdotal at best. Based on this article, it sounds like Gray has no opinion on the matter of consistency, so I personally disregard his comments.


-IB

"Wine only turns into alcohol if you let it sit."
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Posts: 9450 | Location: The Circle City | Registered: Nov 24, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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This guy is like a gnat on the global wine scene.



get out the swatter. Big Grin


Live simply, Laugh often, Wine a lot!!!

 
Posts: 8283 | Location: Palm Beach Gardens FL | Registered: Nov 05, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by indybob:
If Laube does love softer fruit bombs (and he does), that's perfectly fine with me. As long as the ratings are consistent with his sensibilities, they allow anyone to align their palate with his.

Gray's missive comes across as: "I don't like the wines Laube likes, so can him."

But, Gray doesn't address the main complaint I read about Laube, consistency. I really don't have a firm opinion, as I haven't done side by side comparisons with Laube's notes to accurately determine for myself. I think I know, but sometimes I am surprised by Laube's choices, relative to what I think he'd choose. Unless someone has done an exhaustive comparison for themselves, I'd submit that their opinion on Laube's, or any other critic's worthiness is anecdotal at best. Based on this article, it sounds like Gray has no opinion on the matter of consistency, so I personally disregard his comments.


I wouldn't say my comparison has been "exhaustive", but for the wines I like, Laube is both inconsistent and unpredictable. He's the main reason I ceased my subscription. Someone on the Berserkers thread mentioned WS is bringing on a second CA critic. That sounds like the right move, if done properly. We've discussed what types of wine Laube likes plenty of times, so if he's judging those sorts of wines and his reviews serve well the people who like that style, no problem. But there are plenty of more subtle, classically styled wines being made here. It would be nice to have a major publication that would judge them properly.

The "Who is Blake Gray?" question wasn't only brought up on the Berserkers thread, but answered. He wrote for two of California's biggest papers, the SF Chronicle and the LA Times, and did a good job, often having his articles linked to, the way Jon Bonne's are today. Posting that this question was asked, out of the context of the discussion on that other thread, imparts an unfair mischaracterization.

Some of Blake's reasoning in the open letter is unnecessarily speculative.
 
Posts: 1921 | Location: Mountain View, CA | Registered: Oct 18, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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James who?


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Posts: 10227 | Location: The Left Coast | Registered: Dec 01, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks for the thoughtful post yhn. I trust your opinion on matters of Laube's (in)consistency, as you've been at this game a lot longer than I have. "Exhaustive" was probably hyperbole on my part.
Smile


-IB

"Wine only turns into alcohol if you let it sit."
-Lindsay Bluth Fünke
 
Posts: 9450 | Location: The Circle City | Registered: Nov 24, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by mjp_oenos 1:
I searched the archives to see if anyone was talking about this and it appears no. Just wanted to get everyone's reaction to this blog post I came across this afternoon in the Snooth newsletter.

http://wblakegray.blogspot.com...-marvin-shanken.html



How absolutely pathetic. Roll Eyes

Let me understand... Laube (like Parker) prefers ripe and more fruit forward styles, and this style of wine does not match the authors personal preference. So, the solution is to fire Laube, and hire a new wine critic, but not just any experienced or well qualified critic, but only a critic that prefers wine that matches the authors palate. How could one not take this advice seriously?

What other choices do you really have Blake? If a critic consistently rates modern style wines well, then this has no purpose to me, right? Might I seek out other critics that tend to enjoy styles I also enjoy, how silly of me. I mean, how oh how can I buy wine without the critic telling me what to buy. If Laube's palate is different than mine, then my palate must be wrong, right?

Blakie, I for one do think you are indeed entitled to have everything you read and hear tailored towards what you believe to be the truth and or the facts. I must admit, it does seem to be working well for Fox, MSNBC and CNN.

I just love the just tell me what I want to hear attitude, and please do not confuse me with any facts. You got to love the blog! Big Grin
 
Posts: 34110 | Location: Dallas, TX & Santa Fe, NM | Registered: Feb 21, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by wine+art:

How absolutely pathetic. Roll Eyes

Let me understand... Laube (like Parker) prefers ripe and more fruit forward styles, and this style of wine does not match the authors personal preference. So, the solution is to fire Laube, and hire a new wine critic, but not just any experienced or well qualified critic, but only a critic that prefers wine that matches the authors palate. How could one not take this advice seriously?

What other choices do you really have Blake? If a critic consistently rates modern style wines well, then this has no purpose to me, right? Might I seek out other critics that tend to enjoy styles I also enjoy, how silly of me. I mean, how oh how can I buy wine without the critic telling me what to buy. If Laube's palate is different than mine, then my palate must be wrong, right?

Blakie, I for one do think you are indeed entitled to have everything you read and hear tailored towards what you believe to be the truth and or the facts. I must admit, it does seem to be working well for Fox, MSNBC and CNN.

I just love the just tell me what I want to hear attitude, and please do not confuse me with any facts. You got to love the blog! Big Grin


Well said, I couldn't agree more...


Ryan
 
Posts: 1001 | Location: Arizona | Registered: Jan 31, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Posting that this question was asked, out of the context of the discussion on that other thread, imparts an unfair mischaracterization.


Not really. It imparted precisely the message I wanted to convey. It served its purpose.


Joe
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Posts: 14278 | Location: Arlington, Texas | Registered: Aug 30, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have been wondering when this elephant in the room would be noticed on this board in the last few days, having seen it on two other boards. Would suggest Marvin and James just ignore this blog as a bit of sour grapes.


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Posts: 164 | Location: Oroville, CA., USA | Registered: Aug 02, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Would suggest Marvin and James just ignore this blog as a bit of sour grapes.


I'm sure they have been.

And, I have to say, Oroville!? Wow, it's been years since I've been to the town with the world's largest earth filled dam (or something like that).


-IB

"Wine only turns into alcohol if you let it sit."
-Lindsay Bluth Fünke
 
Posts: 9450 | Location: The Circle City | Registered: Nov 24, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by wine+art:

What other choices do you really have Blake?



Clearly Marvin should just hire me as I don't know what this thin, sour, barnyard nonsense of a wine style is all about.


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Posts: 17436 | Location: NYC | Registered: Feb 16, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I read this blog post when it was posted on WB's site, and I, like WIML, wondered who this guy was. The question was answered over there, but in the final analysis, his blog really is trolling, don't you think?

I do happen to think that Laube is a bit too "tuned in" to TCA. His hatchet-job on the BVs a few years back was over the top. But every wine critic has his own critics. I think Jay Miller is way too quick to hand out the big numbers, and I question Parker's point inflations in recent years that single-handedly have driven some wines out of reach for all but the ultra-rich and the Chinese.

If you really dig down to the "meat" of Blake Gray's blog, though, what he's saying is that Laube's taste buds are growing old. Not exactly an earth-shattering revelation, and (sadly) true. He can't taste forever, but I don't think he's going to step down because Blake Gray has called him out.


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Posts: 3110 | Location: ATL, GA | Registered: Jan 10, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by Golf&PinotNut:
I read this blog post when it was posted on WB's site, and I, like WIML, wondered who this guy was. The question was answered over there,....
So....who is he??


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Posts: 2253 | Location: o-HIGH-o | Registered: May 05, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yay! Blake says I'm going to lose my tasting acuity in a few years. (What little I may have had to begin with.) I can start buying wine by the 5 liter box and be free of this madness! Big Grin


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Posts: 1313 | Location: San Diego CA | Registered: May 30, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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