Jon was in town last week to give a seminar on his book The New Wine Rules at the SantaFe Wine & Chile Fiesta. I didn't order this book when it was released last Spring because I don't need no more stinkin' rules to guide my wine consumption. But those that signed up got a free copy of the book and I hadn't seen Jon in several yrs, so I thought "what the heck".
The seminar was nothing exceptional. He covered some 5-6 of the rules specifically and poured a wine to illustrate the validity of that rule. Like "Dry Wine Isn't as Dry as You Think It Is". Illustrated by a German trocken wine that had noticible r.s. It was an interesting selection of 8 wines...pretty much the wines I would have expected him to pick. Matthiasson RibollaGialla/etc.
The best part was that his wife, Val Masten of Skurnik Wines, was also there on the panel w/ Jon. The best part was that SFW&CF didn't have one of their inane MasterSomms to "guide" the discussion...just Jon & Val.
And the "rules"?? Some 89 of them. Not so much "rules" as they are suggestions to guide your wine drinking/buying/etc. Pretty much all of them I would agree with and already use them to guide my consumption.
So...the seminar was a fun way to spend an hour...taste some interesting wines...but not really learn anything new. I asked a question on "texture", as a take-off on his recent article in Punch on "texture". Like the article, his response was a bit vague and lacking in specificity.

So that afternoon, I spent about an hour reading/skimming his book. It's kind of a fun read and I'd nod my head in agreement with most of Jon's "rules". But it's not a book I'd recommend most of you run out and buy. Good guidance, perhaps, for rank beginners. But for most folks who have no life & hang out on these wine boards...you're not gonna get much out of his book.
There were two "rules" however to which I would take issue:
Rule 55: Keep Your Open Whites..and Reds..In The Fridge. Fair enough...would agree with that. But then he goes on to say "the real enemy of wine is oxygen: it makes the wine not only evolve, but also spoil, turning it into vinegar". Whatta crock. I've left hundereds and hundreds of open btls out on my countertop; overnight, days on end, weeks. I have yet to find one that turned to vinegar. Maybe oxidize a bit, lose aromatics, etc...but none that turned to identifiable vinegar. Oftentimes within a foot or two of an active/ongoing vinegar ferment. It has to get acetobacter into the wine to turn to vinegar. I've had a few volatile wines that did turn to (a weak) vinegar...but they already had acetobacter in the wine before it was left out.
Rule 59: Keep Bottles Flat on Their Sides. . "Standing a wine upright dries out the cork and can make the wine age more quickley or evaporate." "...don't leave wine upright for more than a week or two". Patently wrong...and Jon should know better. I've had hundreds & hundreds of btls stored upright, sometimes for yrs & yrs. It's very rare that I find one (it has happened on occasion) in which the cork has dried out and allowed O2 ingress. The humidity in the wine's headspace is 100%..and that's sufficient to keep the cork moist. It's an experiment that Jon could easily perform himself. Take two btls of the same wine..store one on its side, the other upright. After several months, try them side-by-side, blind. It's highly unlikely that he's gonna find a difference.

Anyway...fun Seminar, fun book..and it was great to visit w/ Jon and meet Val.
Tom