Wine Spectator alternatives?
Are there any publications out there with good wine information aside from Wine Spectator? I have subscribed to it for years but I find that it often focuses on wines that I will not likely ever be able to afford. Same with restaurants and travel destinations. I drink wine regularly and would consider a publication that focuses on "bang for the buck" wines along with food/wine pairings.
The Wine Spectator is really not a "wine magazine" but rather a lifestyle magazine. If you want good unbiased review read magazines /newsletters that do not take advertising dollars. The best examples are Robert Parker Jr.'s "The Wine Advocate", Claude Kolhm's "Fine Wine Review", and Steve Tanzer's ??? escaping me now..
EVERY publication has its strengths and its weaknesses.
Nearly all will cover high-end wines that mere mortals cannot always afford. One exception is Arthur Damond's "Wine Discoveries" -- http://www.amazon.com/Wine-Discoverie...
Decanter is excellent, but it's also British, so some of the wines may be hard to find in the US and/or Canada. Nonetheless, I find it much better than the Speculator. http://www.decanter.com
Jancis Robinson is an excellent writer, both in her Financial Times colum and in her own "Purple Pages" -- http://www.jancisrobinson.com/
Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine is another excellent choice, but limited as to its scope -- http:www.cgcw.com/
So, too, is Allen Meadows' "Burghound" -- http://www.burghound.com/
Roy Hersh's "For the Love of Port" covers, obviously, Porto but also some table wines and other fortifieds -- http://www.fortheloveofport.com/
Winestate covers Australian wines better than anyone, and a more than decent job with NZ -- http://www.winestate.com.au/
And so on and so on and so on . . . .
re: The Chowfather AKA sobe
I'm probably the odd man out here, but I actually like the Spectator. I appreciate its breadth--heck, it is one of the few international wine magazines I have read that reviews wines from Canada (I am Canadian, so admit a bias). Not to mention Uruguay, Israel, and Greece.
I don't agree with all of the opinions in the Spectator, but I like Matt Kramer and think he is one of the more thoughtful wine writers out there today.
I also like some of the food writing in the Spectator...the column on coffee is interesting, as is Sam Gugino's food column. I have seen some complaints from readers about the amount of attention paid to food, but I conceptualize wine primarily as an accompaniment to food.
I must admit I do not like Robert Parker's website/newsletter, if only because I so frequently disagree with him and find some of his 90+ point ratings to be baffling (this happens more frequently for me than with the WS).
On the whole, I am not that enamoured with wine writing. It is usually either superficial or just plain preposterous (i.e. describing a wine as having "accents of ocean spray"; "flavours that echo on the persistent finish"; "hot stone notes"; "pudding flavours" (without saying what kind of pudding). You all know what I mean.