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Good wine information can evolve--not devolve--on Twitter.
Earlier this week, San Francisco Chronicle wine editor Jon Bonné announced in his column that the Chronicle will now list the alcohol percentage of every wine that the paper recommends. It's a bold move in the wake of the great Pinot Noir alcohol debate back in March, but this has been a hot topic among wine journalists and critics for years. Many allege that critics reserve praise for higher-alcohol wines, and that alcohol percentage is information that consumers deserve in order to better assess the critic's opinion of a particular wine--and the value of said critic's advice in general.
What followed the publication of Bonné's column was an intelligent, interesting back-and-forth on Twitter between Bonné and Wine Spectator magazine editor Mitch Frank, which you can read in full below.
@JBonne: An closer eye on alcohol? The Chronicle to include wines' alcohol levels in reviews: http://sfg.ly/fYDGrt
@FrankWine: I assume SF Chron will follow up their lab tests of alcohol levels with testing of all the other elements that create a wine's flavor. #wine
@JBonne: @FrankWine soon as there's a raging debate over TA and it's stated on the label by law, we'll consider it.
@FrankWine: @JBonne Touché. That legal requirement creates a misimpression that alcohol is all that matters.
@FrankWine: @jbonne Also, the misconception that a 15% wine gets you sloshed much faster than 13%. It's not that much more alcohol.
@JBonne: @FrankWine but, tax/taste implications aside, ABV does remain a very good indicator of a wine's weight and style.
@FrankWine: @jbonne true, but it's one of several. And we make a big deal about a number w/o the more basic question: does it taste hot and unbalanced?
Wine writers and bloggers have a reputation for bickering over the Internet. But this particular discourse, we felt, was the perfect example of the fact that helpful wine information and advice doesn't end with what you read in the paper. It starts there, then can evolve--rather than devolve--online, particularly over Twitter.
"I'm as guilty as anyone of dropping little snipey asides via Twitter," Bonné told us. "But sometimes a good discussion can emerge from the Twitter sandbox when you have two rational people willing to avoid the usual name calling and crazy. [This isn't] a difference of opinion that can be settled in short rapid-fire bursts, but perhaps civility can occasionally reign."
With that, we encourage you to follow Bonné and Frank on Twitter for insightful wine advice and discussion. And if there's another Twitter user who offers you good wine guidance, tell us about him or her below.