I’ve never read a review by Antonio Galloni. Not because I don’t want to. Rather, I’m not sure where to find the wine writer’s stuff – and past searches have usually dead-ended in the dreaded paywall. I know he was previously with Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. There was some sort of fallout, and Galloni parted ways, going solo. I do receive his email newsletter, but again, reviews? Who knows where in the world they live?
Today, that might be changing.
CellarTracker, my favorite wine tracking database (and now also favorite mobile wine app), has partnered with “Vinous” (aka “all things wine”), Galloni’s wine platform for tasting notes. Or maybe it’s a web site? Or maybe a “continually streamed platform”? Regardless, Eric LeVine, the persistently innovative founder of CellarTracker is now making Galloni’s database of reviews (40,000+) available for free. To which I say: merci, mon ami. He really is out to save the world.
In my estimation at least, it seems like a significant score for Galloni. While I’m not sure of the exact numbers, hundreds of thousands of users catalog wines, write reviews, and engage in conversation in CellarTracker – with the news that CT is now available in a mobile edition for iOS and Android should only serve to broaden its appeal and convenience. In exchange Eric bolsters his arsenal of quality content.
“The entire Vinous library of close to 40,000 wine reviews, focusing on new releases and collectibles from Italy, California, Champagne, Burgundy and, most recently, Bordeaux, is live on CellarTracker.”
Others who have apparently scored similar deals and whose reviews can also be found on CT include Gary Vaynerchuk, John Gilman and Stephen Tanzer. At least so far as I can tell. There may be more. I wish there was a way to pull up reviews in CT based on a particular tastemaker. I can’t seem to find a way to do that.
As for Galloni’s reviews. I (still) can’t find any of them. I searched the CellarTracker web site for common Napa wines such as Caymus, Artesa, Mondavi, St. Supery, etc., but couldn’t find and of his tasting notes. It might be that the integration is still in process (the email noted the reviews are now live) or that none are available for the (admittedly small) sample I tried searching. (UPDATE: to access his reviews Eric LeVine and his PR team have clarified that you need to subscribe – here’s the link on CT with more details on their professional Content Channels that explains it all – unfortunately this wasn’t made clear in the Vinous partnership announcement. Paid content, fair enough, this stuff has value and takes time energy and money to create). I’m curious to see his notes, and hopefully get to know his palette and preferences. After all, someone may say a wine is good (or bad), but, by and large, despite the technical aspects of evaluation, it largely comes down to personal preference.
— Antonio Galloni (@AntonioGalloni) September 9, 2014
Meanwhile, CellarTracker continues to do a solid job of being the Yelp of wine. A strong community has emerged over the years, and several everyday critics (almost all with no affiliation to a wine publication, or wine blog) have risen through the ranks, and are surprisingly effective at reviewing wines and sharing tasting notes. Though I don’t always buy into the idea of the “wisdom of the crowd” (crowds start riots, burn cars, run naked through the streets) when it’s used effectively–Yelp has never let me down–it can really help all of us learn something new, discover something new, or experience something new.