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I cannot stress how mind-expanding this whole Murphy-Goode wine gig has been for me.  I have noticed great gaps in my seo’s, rediscovered the art of ping, been on the brink of taking my first sip of that fermented grape stuff and meet a whole group of some pretty amazing people out there.  You have inspired me, entertained me, educated me.  I have laughed, chewed my fingernails, hopped up and down with envy.  And someone has even stumped me.


He stumped me.

Here is the reason why:


Opinion’s Matter (with budget wines)

Shaun Hildner

It’s all pretty straightforward tech: stick a bit of nosh in front of the robogourmet’s infrared spectrometer and it analyzes the reflected light to determine the chemical composition of the sample. A nice trick, although it can only be programmed to accurately identify a few dozen wines.
-The Register, 10th November 2006

The damn thing is broken!  Not that it doesn’t work, but fundamentally “broken.”  I can’t seem to get an accurate description of the 2007 Clos de los Siete.  The machine takes absolutely no note of the superb bouquet of toasty oak, violets, mineral, black currant, blueberry or black cherry.  This is the final straw.  I could forgive it for missing the cherry and rose petal scents of the Chandon Etoile and it probably didn’t even bother to mention the licorice and graphite notes of the 2005 Lonko, but this has gone on too long!  Just a couple more bottles.  I have to give the thing a chance to catch up.

The wires are flickering, the gears are turning, everything is working as promised.  Still, I can’t shake the feeling that it is broken.  I mean, who could miss so much.  Five unidentified bottles in and I am starting to think the machine is mocking me.

The alcohol is having a much greater effect on me than on my mechanical drinking buddy.  The robot displays a few of the characteristics of your average drunk.  A blank stare, wide grin, no sudden movements, but its “mind” remains as sharp as a whip.  One more bottle couldn’t hurt.

He got it right!  Shit!  IT got it right.  Well, a little slip, but a one for seven record probably should warrant the machine a single personal pronoun.  Now I am waiting for something more.  It got the Chateau St Jean part right.  Now an opinion!  Speak to the ripe olive!  The herb!  The black cherry fer chissake!  I have to sit down.

I don’t enjoy getting worked up like this.  The robot continues to stare at me.  Did it just wink?  Did I?

The connoisseur is a funny creature.  It is not enough to know the vintage.  Even a wino knows what he drinks half the time.  It isn’t even enough to enjoy the wine.  The wino certainly enjoys his drink.  The connoisseur has to know the wine.  Some call it pretentious.

Does the robot call me pretentious?  Can it know the wine and refuse to expound on it’s knowledge?

It is still staring at me.  I found the ripe olive.  I found the toasty oak.  I found the rose petal.  The machine didn’t find shit!  Why am I the one lying drunk on the floor?

I can’t explain to the robot how strong I feel about wine.  I guess it is hard to feel strongly about anything when you haven’t been programmed to feel.  The best critic explains the subject and lets the audience judge for themselves.

-Inspired by Noah Baumbach’s articles in the “Shouts & Murmurs” section of The New Yorker.

Shaun, you have really brought it home to me:  I am soooo far away from a) American culture and b) Wine culture… I had to read your text three times to “get” it… LOL, yes, I am slow 😀 !

I want to let you know that I actually don’t usually have a hard time understanding your texts, Shaun.  In fact, a lot really rocks and let’s the bells ring when I hop about on your blog, for example:

Be a nice person and interact with other nice people as much as possible. You will need them eventually and, certainly, they will need you!  (from What do we do with all this?)

You have to be by far the most “diverse” guy I have posting here so far — at least from what I have seen in writing style 😛 .

Thank you so much for taking the time to offer my readers you thoughts, Shaun!

To my readers I can only say:  I just know that once you have seen the video, you will be better able to understand Shaun’s article above… I know it helped me heaps:

You can go vote for Shaun here.

And here is how you can connect with Shaun: