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Nov 19, 2007 02:09 PM

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.

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  1. Peter,
    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..

    2 Replies
      1. re: Winer

        Unbiased? Ummmmm . . . no. I'd say "not influenced by advertising dollars," yes -- but not unbiased.


      2. I much prefer the British wine press; more interest in wine and less on ratings and hype. Jancis Robinson and Hugh Johnson are as good as they come. Check out Decanter:


        1. Decanter, the British magazine is a nice choice

          1. There's "The Wine Advocate" and there's everybody else:


            1 Reply
            1. 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" --

              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.

              Jancis Robinson is an excellent writer, both in her Financial Times colum and in her own "Purple Pages" --

              Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine is another excellent choice, but limited as to its scope --

              So, too, is Allen Meadows' "Burghound" --

              Roy Hersh's "For the Love of Port" covers, obviously, Porto but also some table wines and other fortifieds --

              Winestate covers Australian wines better than anyone, and a more than decent job with NZ --

              And so on and so on and so on . . . .


              4 Replies
              1. re: zin1953

                I though this was a better link to Arthur Damond's Wine Discoveries but it appears to be a dead end

                1. 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.

                  1. re: anewton

                    Hello anewton. Don't worry! You are not alone!! I too enjoy the Spectator!! In fact, I sometimes find the food and restaurants write-ups very interesting, concise and informative.