If Tim Atkin was Russian

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MOSCOW. Tim, I’ve been watching you and your friends for some time now and make no mistake: you seem to have problems with your so-called wine writing. You’re being snobbish. And sarcastic at times. Our State language experts proved it. Don’t expect that being snobbish will help you in Russia: our people rarely have enough sense of humor to realise you’re being snobbish.

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Lie about it: 6 ways to tell a winemaker his wine really sucks

It’s not altogether easy to live in the today’s wine world for an honest person. One has to lie, deceive and be cunning. And sometimes even tell the truth – and nothing but the truth. Don’t object and don’t mislead yourselves, just remember the last time you told yourself after tasting a really bad wine: “it will be too bad to tell the truth”, “I don’t want to hurt him”, “ah, he/she’s such a nice person!”, “remember, he asked us to come visit the winery next year?”. And so on, and so forth. Lying is an essential skill when talking to a winemaker or a winery rep. Continue reading

Why nobody cares about your wine tasting notes — and never did

Nobody cares. Period. But don;t start tearing your hear out right away, it’s not all so bad. It’s just how life works, I figured it yesterday evening. Playing a game of wine critic is rewarding in many ways, it improves your physical state and self-esteem. “Yes, you can!”, that’s how it works. In the end your ability to describe a wine in terms that even a University professor cannot figure out is something well worth being capable of. We are not all sommeliers, but we can all be wine writers. Continue reading

Two-points wine rating system could be great for Russia

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Only 5 per cent of people are exposed to fine wines in the Russia’s capital, and I mean fine wines, It’s much less in the regions, where people don’t tell their whites from reds. So, say I, why should we even bother the general common sweet Lambrusco drinkers with the 100-points wine ratings? At the current stage of our wine culture development Russian consumer needs a clear understanding which wines are drinkable and which are NOT. As simple as that. Continue reading

Vinitaly’s judgement revolution

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With new technological developments Vinitaly’s International Wine Competition stepped further than other rivals. VeronaFiere has put the wine judgement experience to an ultimate end of relaxation where points calculations and endless paperwork are nonexistent and wine judges can relax and easily smoke a cigarette in between two wines.

The Russian wine bid

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Welcoming me in a luxury-furnitured room painted with Damien Hirst butterflies all around, the head of Sotheby’s auction house’ wine department Serena Sutcliffe MW is elegantly dressed in black. There is not less of a girl in her than one could expect at her age – just the opposite. Yet, some of her business partners would probably say she is a wolf in a sheep’s clothing.

Why Moscow is not Hong-Kong

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There are things we miss in Russia. Some of them are wine-related. Fair wine prices and a broad selection are just two of them. Looking at the astonishing rise of Hong-Kong as a world wine hub and culture, I say: folks, Moscow could become the wine center of the country and the whole CIS region, driving wine culture into the vast areas where wine has never been heard of. “Bring vodka down onto its knees” sort of thing. Continue reading

Russian wine writers: who are they?

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I am not afraid of furious remarks from well-known Russian wine writers. I admit I’m unwell myself. In my dreams I am an editor of Decanter and, sometimes, The World of Fine Wine – a pronounced psychical disability. But maybe I am not alone. There are a bunch of us, Russians, writing about wines. But this doesn’t make me happy at all, I am mostly not proud of my colleagues.