Friday, April 1, 2011

Yes your honor.

Mayor set to ban ratings?

Big Tobacco is not the only industry in New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s crosshairs. Wine may be next. But not wine itself. Rather, Hizzoner is apparently considering legislating usage of the 100-point scale in the city that never sleeps (but drinks a helluva lot of wine).

New Yorkers know, of course, that the Mayor waged an effective public-health campaign against smoking in the city. And while wine ratings may not have as obvious a negative impact as second-hand smoke, many sensible wine lovers believe there is ample reason for concern.
Sources tell New York Wine Salon that Mayor Bloomberg (or someone who sounded just like him) was overheard at a midtown restaurant telling a dining companion over a glass of Cabernet: “This is how it should be. You go to a restaurant and they have a nice, manageable set of wines that go with the food. Walk into a wine shop these days, and you still see shelf talkers that say 92RP, 90WS and so on. And Internet retailers are even worse.” Sip. “Take Wines Til Sold Out, for example. All they know how to do is find overstocked wines that somehow got a 90 from someone. And that website Snooth? Please! They started up a second site to sell wines retail, and whenever they have one to sell that didn’t get 90 points from Parker or Spectator, they just make up their own rating.” Sip.

“It’s absurd,” he continued. “It’s easier than ever to find good wines these days. Numbers are so… so 20th century. I know it all starts with free speech, and I understand why wine magazines do what they do, but can’t they just keep that 90-point noise to themselves and subscribers?”

While the Mayor’s office has issued no official comment, New York Wine Salon’s sources indicate that he is considering several options to stem “90-point pollution.”
1.   Require any in-store signage that features a wine rating to also display documentation as to exactly which middle-aged man sampling 20 wines without a crumb of food came up with the number.
2.   Levy a tax on so-called “highly rated” wines, payable by the retailers.
3.   Force critics who use the 100-point-scale to obtain a license; the qualification process would mandate that said critics be able to replicate a set of stores with 70% accuracy. (“Fat chance,” the Mayor reportedly grumbled to staffers in Gracie Mansion. “Critics simply can’t even replicate half their scores, which makes the numbers unreliable to the point of being fraudulent.”)
4.   In lieu of actual legislation, the Mayor may simply encourage wine shops that are free of second-hand wine ratings to place a sign in their windows to alert shoppers that the coast is 90-point clear.
Sources tell us that the has moved the issue of the 100-point scale up toward the top of his to-do list. “Ninety-point ratings are like crack,” he reportedly said aloud, to no one in particular. “And someone has to stop these numbers from getting into the hands of lazy retailers and unsuspecting consumers. Believe me, I know New York has bigger problems, but the sooner we get rid of the numbers, the closer we’ll be to recognition as the greatest wine city in the world!”

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