I Have $240 To Prove It

At io9, Robert T. Gonzalez tells us why wine tasting is bullshit (via John Gruber):

There are no two ways about it: the bullshit is strong with wine. Wine tasting. Wine rating. Wine reviews. Wine descriptions. They’re all related. And they’re all egregious offenders, from a bullshit standpoint.
I know wine tasting is bullshit because I have $240 to prove it.
A few years ago my friend had a wine tasting party at his upper east side apartment in Manhattan. Every person/couple was instructed to bring $20 and a bottle of red wine. When we arrived at his place, he took our coats, our $20 and our bottle of wine. He then wrapped our wine bottles in silver wrapping paper and set it on the table with all the other wine bottles.
Wait, let’s rewind a bit.
On our way to the party my wife and I stopped at a wine shop in our upper east side neighborhood (owned by our next-door neighbor in our apartment complex) Vinyl Wine. It’s still on Lexington Ave.
When I walked into the shop, I told the girl working where I was going and what I needed. I told her what I was looking for wasn’t the best wine in their shop, but the one that everyone would like.
She pointed me to two different bottles she said were very popular. Since I’m a graphic designer, I made the executive decision to pick the one with the best looking label design.
The bottle I chose was $13.
I paid and my wife and I jumped into a cab an cut through Central Park to my friend’s apartment.
Now let’s fast forward a bit.
So my friend made the wine tasting special. He had first prize (the pot of money), second & third places even got some gift certificates and bottle openers. He gave out score sheets to rate each bottle on, based on the Robert Parker rating system. He had a spittoon. The whole thing was awesome.
My wife and all my friends and I took the wine tasting as seriously as you can take a wine tasting. Under everyday circumstances I can’t tell a Cab from a Pinot Noir, but during a wine tasting, it was easier for me to detect the nuances between different wines.
My friend, the host, donned in his apron, collected our score papers and went through every bottle’s score. There were 12 bottles and my wife and I kept expecting our shitty $13 bottle to be named. Bottle after bottle going down, but not ours. How is this possible?!
Finally our bottle was named. The last one.
We had taken the Pepsi challenge against 11 other bottles,ranging from $15 to $45 bottles. Ours won, the cheapest bottle.
So yeah, wine tasting is bullshit.
The taste of the wine you’re drinking should be what matters to you. Or the artwork on the label. Or the story behind the winery and how they came into being. Just don’t let anyone tell you the wine you like isn’t a good wine.
If you like it, then it’s a good wine.