At the recent Symposium for Professional Wine Writers, I had the opportunity to talk quite a bit with Antonio Galloni of The Wine Advocate. He also agreed to a lengthy interview. He said on numerous occasions and in different ways that it is not his goal to be a taste-maker nor an agent of change for wine styles. Of course, being a wine reviewer with enormous readership, his writings may have that effect nonetheless.
“I don’t believe critics should shape anything,” Galloni said during a lunchtime chat when asked if writers did/should lead the move toward more elegant wines in California. He is not entirely against using his influence to drive change though. He is on a crusade of sorts. It’s something I think should be of interest to the trade too.
Antonio Galloni wants critics to follow his lead and stop reviewing non-vintage Champagne without a disgorgement date printed on the label. “I realized there was a problem when I discovered I had been sent exactly the same Champagne for review two years in a row,” he said. “It’s not right.” Now, he’s a consumer advocate.
He believes wine enthusiasts have a right to know whether the sparkling wine they are about to buy is a new release or is essentially slow-moving inventory. Does the new review they read pertain to the bottle before them? We all know non-vintage Champagne is not identical from year to year. And if it were, why would producers send review samples?
Antonio Galloni hopes that, if he and other critcs refuse to review undated NV Champagne, producers will feel compelled to date the bottles. I don’t regularly write on Champagne, but I will support his stance when reviewing non-vintage California sparkling wines. What are your thoughts? Are disgorgement dates important to you?