//Inflated Wine Scores, Inside Tasting Tips with Paul K – Part 2

Inflated Wine Scores, Inside Tasting Tips with Paul K – Part 2


Have wine scores gotten out of control, with higher numbers across the board? Are we oversimplifying wine when we talk and write about it? Is it possible to determine your wine taste by taking an online quiz that asks you about coffee, tea and other things you consume? And should you trust the algorithm that recommends wine to you based on your quiz results?

In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I’m chatting with Paul K, host of the podcast Wine Talks with Paul K.

You can find the wines we discussed here.


Watch Party

Join me for the debut Watch Party of the video of this conversation that I’ll be live-streaming for the very first time on Zoom on Wednesday, April 21st at 7 pm eastern.

You can save your spot for free right here. I’ll be jumping into the comments as we watch it together so that I can answer your questions in real-time.

I want to hear from you! What’s your opinion of what we’re discussing? What takeaways or tips do you love most from this chat? What questions do you have that we didn’t answer?



One of you is going to win a personally signed copy of Rex Pickett’s novel, Sideways, which was also made into a hit movie, as well as a bottle of Sideways Pinot Noir.


How to Win

All you need to do is comment on one of these posts before 7 pm EDT on April 21st:




I’ll select the winner randomly from those who participate. You get a bonus entry for every wine-loving friend you tag and if you re-share this post in your stories.

Good luck!



  • What was Paul surprised to learn about Sideways from his interview with Rex Pickett?
  • How did President Eisenhower inspire Paul’s father’s love for wine?
  • How was Paul’s family connected to The Paris Wine Tasting of 1976?
  • What led Paul’s father to the innovative idea to send wine through the mail?
  • Why did Paul decide to join the family business?
  • Which 15th-century piece of art inspired the Original Wine Club of the Month logo?
  • How does Paul score wine differently?
  • What type of conversations does Paul have on his podcast?
  • Why shouldn’t you use online quizzes to select your wines?
  • What do you miss by relying on algorithms to choose wine for you?
  • How did Paul become fascinated with Burgundy wines?
  • Why are grapes and wine deeply expressive of where they’re from?
  • Which wine gadgets does Paul use and love?
  • What should you be aware of when using a Coravin?
  • Which wine gadgets should you be wary of?
  • Why does Paul believe you shouldn’t try to simplify wine?


Key Takeaways

  • Paul’s right that wine scores have got out of hand, with grade inflation across the board. I like the way he approaches tasting wines – it’s much more grounded for wine drinkers, especially when he factors in the price of the wine.
  • I agree with Paul that there’s something so ethereal, so magical about the grape, among all agricultural products, that it does take you home, that can say this is who we are.
  • To that end, I think there’s been an oversimplification of wine, as he says. It’s worth learning about. We don’t need to make it intimidating, but we do need to acknowledge its wonderful complexity and diversity.

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About Paul Kalemkiarian

Paul Kalemkiarian is the host of the podcast Wine Talks with Paul K on which he interviews wine industry royalty as well as Michelin starred chefs. He’s also the owner of America’s oldest wine club, the Original Wine of the Month Club. His expertise in the wine industry spans over 30 years. His father invented the idea of wine in the mail in 1972 and they have been serving wine enthusiasts ever since.




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  • You’ll find my books here, including Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest for the World’s Best Bargain Wines and Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass.
  • The new audio edition of Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass is now available on Amazon.ca, Amazon.com and other country-specific Amazon sites; iTunes.ca, iTunes.com and other country-specific iTunes sites; Audible.ca and Audible.com.



Paul K 0:00
But what is it about the grape amongst other agricultural products that’s so ethereal that takes you home that takes you to the ground. You don’t feel that way with pineapples or apricot, or wheat, but you do with wine. And there was a young lady in Armenia and it was Julia degree that she said, what other product? Can you put in your suitcase, travel halfway around the world, put it on the table and say, This is who we are. That would be so expressive of where it’s from, you know, can’t be a widget, right? Can’t be a carrot. But as wine.

Natalie MacLean 0:35
It’s true. And it’s the only product that we put on a dinner party table that’s still in its original packaging. We’re not keeping the stickers on the apple.

Paul K 0:44
That’s a good point.

Natalie MacLean 0:45
Yeah, it is expressive of the land and the culture and everything else.

Natalie MacLean 0:55
Do you have a thirst to learn about wine, the love stories about wonderfully obsessive people, hauntingly beautiful places, and amusingly awkward social situations. That’s the blend here on the unreserved wine talk podcast. I’m your host, Natalie MacLean. And each week, I share with you unfiltered conversations with celebrities in the wine world, as well as confessions from my own tipsy journey as I write my third book on this subject. I’m so glad you’re here. Now pass me that bottle please. And let’s get started. Welcome to Episode 125. Have line score has gotten out of control with higher numbers across the board. Are we oversimplifying wine when we talk and write about it? Is it possible to determine your wine tastes by taking one of those online quizzes that asks you about coffee, tea and other things you consume? And should you trust the algorithm that then recommends wine to you based on your quiz results? Our guest this week has answers for you on all of those questions, plus some great wine tips and stories. And I’ve got a bonus for you. In addition to this podcast, I love for you to join me for the premiere watch party of the video for this conversation that I’ll be live streaming for the very first time on zoom, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube tonight at 7pm. Eastern. I’ll include a link where you can sign up for the zoom tasting for free in the show notes. The video will show you the pictures and other visual elements that we discussed in this podcast. I’ll also be jumping into the comments sections on all four platforms as we watch it together so that I can answer your questions in real time. It’s like the Netflix version of the podcast. Plus you get to talk to me and ask me questions as we watch it together. And you can see what other people thought of this conversation and answers to their questions. I want to let you know that you can also win a personally signed copy of Rex pickets novel sideways that was also made into a hit movie, as well as a bottle of sideways Pinot Noir. All you have to do is comment on the social media post that I create about this contest. Just pick your favourite platform, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, and comment on my post before 7pm tonight. in the show notes you’ll find a link to these posts, the full transcript of our conversation, how you can join me in a free online wine and food pairing class and where you can find me on zoom, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube Live video every Wednesday at 7pm. That’s all in the show notes at Natalie maclean.com forward slash one to five. Now on a personal note before we dive into the show, you may have heard that William emos a Canadian member of parliament was caught Puck naked on zoom during a virtual meeting of the House of Commons while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was taking questions recently. So I found this so inspiring that I’m quitting pants. Yes, pants and I are going our separate ways. It’s been a good relationship. It’s one right now that I feel is too constricting. Especially with yet another lockdown. But don’t worry, I’m not going to go all willy nilly on our next zoom or Facebook Live video show. I still love my yoga sweats and shorts. Okay, on with the show.

Natalie MacLean 4:44
I’m gonna share some photos now. I’m going to start with the sideways

Unknown Speaker 4:50
book. Rex picot Here

Natalie MacLean 4:52
we go. So if you’re listening or watching this, you can win a copy. This is what Paul has generally Asli donated for those of you who want to participate. It’s a personally signed book of Rex picot plus a bottle of sideways Pinot Noir. Paul, is that made at the winery that was featured in the movie?

Paul K 5:13
No actually is made chilli.

Unknown Speaker 5:16
Speaking of costs, let’s keep it real. You know,

Paul K 5:19
he’s a character. He’s on the podcast. He lives in Southern California. I went to his house sat with him in his living room. Rex. Yes. So I had seen the movie for for a long time. And I had never read the book actually. I read it for the podcast and I said, I read the first 10 pages. You put the book down I go. This is not a novel. This is a personal memoir. So the first question I asked him after we got through the introduction was I sensed this was about you. He goes, exactly. That’s what my life was. I was a down out writer. I’d go to the local tasting bar late in the afternoon when everybody left but the wines are still open. And I’d share the wine with the bartender and we start taking trips up to Santa Ynez. He goes, I made no money on the movie. The hotel is now called the sideways hotel. The hitching post restaurant is slammed can’t get in. Those guys made all the money in this project. So plight of writers. Yeah, he did a play and then he went to Chile and made this wine. It’s very good. And I think he has a Savio blog coming out now. And he’s written another book called vertical. So not sideways, but vertical. Yes. And it’s about the second part of his life. It’s about a writer who hit a big on a movie.

Natalie MacLean 6:33
Oh, that’s great life mirrors art or art mirrors. Yeah, I interviewed him a while back. He was kind enough to endorse my first book, red, white and drunk all over. But I told him his third book, you’ve got sideways, you’ve got vertical. You should go to Australia next and call it down under.

Paul K 6:47
Oh, clever. That’s really clever.

Natalie MacLean 6:49
I’m going to use that. Okay, fine. But again, folks, you could win this. All you have to do is pick your social media, your favourite social media, Facebook, or Instagram or LinkedIn or Twitter and tag me just share a bottle that you’ve enjoyed lately. Alright. Let’s get somewhere pictures. Paul. This is your father. Yes. All right. And maybe tell us a little bit about him. And obviously he’s tasting through?

Paul K 7:14
Well, my dad’s from Cairo, Egypt. He came here in 1949. He was a student in pharmacy at USC and his love of wine started 1959 when he read an article about President Eisenhower serving American wine to Queen Elizabeth during her trip. It wasn’t a state dinner. It was a lunch. But Eisenhower was the first president to pour wine, American wine out of the White House. Lyndon Johnson was the first depart at the state dinner and he poured the same wine at Charles Creek special, select camera. This pictures are funny because one Christmas gift my dad, I guess he was taking pictures for a brochure, and they’re all really, really stupid. But he did a collage of them. And that’s one of the collage pictures. I reproduced those pictures of myself in a recent photo shoot, and I’m going to give the same gift back to him. He’s 92. Now, sharp is ever still discusses why with me, we discuss regions of the world. His stories are fascinating, particularly through the Jesuit of Paris years, and the beginnings of whites and things like that.

Natalie MacLean 8:15
So judgement of Paris. That’s that 1976 blind tasting where California and French go head to head and are judged by French critics blind, right? That’s correct. And so how did that impact your father?

Paul K 8:27
Well, I tell you, so we’re some pretty bizarre peripheral connections. For one the winery that one the whites the burgundy that beat the French Chardonnay is was Chateau Montelena. Well, Jim Berry was our neighbour frequented the store all the time. I served with one of the sons. Bo Barrett was in my brother’s class in high school. You know, we weren’t closer but we were definitely associated back then. as well. Patricia Gallagher, the woman that actually whose idea was to have a tasting of American wines in Paris. Her sister live in Palos Verdes is her sister, my dad, we’re very close in business world of passwords. I just learned this recently when I was talking to British on the phone. My dad used to travel to Napa all the time. He’d been to Warren winiarski his winery many times in the early days worn when he actually stayed at my house. I’ve got a couple. I’m talking about Daddy, maybe a year ago. He was Oh yeah. Warren when he came to LA and he had no place to stay. He slept in your brother’s room. I’m like, What are you talking about?

Natalie MacLean 9:24
A legend of California winemaking? Oh, my goodness. This like a shrine to that bedroom in that something?

Paul K 9:30
Yeah, right.

Unknown Speaker 9:32
Oh, that’s great.

Paul K 9:33
That’s another picture for the same tastes. I don’t know what you thought he was doing when these pictures I really don’t. Tasting through the club. What gave him that idea to send wine through the mail that was pretty innovative in 1972. It is being a retailer most of his career. He just got tired of the hours. That’s actually the store we’re going to paint and the behind me here. That display right there in that picture is one of the first sort of displays of the wines of the month for that month. than there happens to be LA Times best something whines but people left palace, Verdi’s who had been picking up that monthly selection just walking in the store and they’d left and moved out of town. There are a lot of aerospace engineers, and executives that lived in piles for knees when they their jobs moved, they would go. And they just told my dad to start shipping the lines. Back then, who cared ups to drive up through the boxes on it. He wrote that on a piece of paper didn’t matter where it was going. You could throw 200 boxes on and manifest 150 nobody cared. And that’s how it started. So what he decided to get out of retail, and he still had this list of customers that we’re expected to get wines. He opened a little wine distribution hub, there was a shop there. And in 1988, he was a little tired. He had been doing it for a few years. And he asked if I was interested in joining him. And I thought you know, I could check this out. I’m gonna hang around a lot my life anyway of stocking the shelves back in the day. So I worked for him for three months, and we had a great time and one day we went to a tasting. It was a Bordeaux tasting about 25 board nose, we were separated. We were not next to each other. We’re back to separate rooms. And we told me the scale 123 so I said okay, so we got a car and we compare the 25 lines, we only were different on two of the wines. Oh, and he says, I think you’re ready to do this. So I’ll tell you my first two selections ever. Were Bella oaks heights cellars Cabernet and Deke Sanford’s piano was I mean, Oh,

Natalie MacLean 11:32
nice choices. low risk. Excellent wines,

Paul K 11:36
low risk decisions to make but at least I made

Natalie MacLean 11:40
absolutely. A picture of you. I can see you’re having fun here is this. Where is this?

Paul K 11:45
Yeah, so this is a stage shot at our warehouse. We have a 12,000 square foot warehouse here, Monrovia that’s actually the overstock rack where the wines with is less than a case are put on the shelf for sale. We do have a store here. We have a tasting room as well has been open for months. So we had a little fun we we had some fun pictures that

Natalie MacLean 12:03
day. Yeah, I don’t know if this is another one of them. That’s really tiring time.

Unknown Speaker 12:11
These cases, what’s in those?

Paul K 12:14
That’s our logo. What it is, actually is to it’s a woodcut from the 15th century. It’s a German woodcut. And they did it was a set of panels from the picking up the grapes to the tasting of the wine, and that’s the tasting of the wine. So we adopted that as our logo. I found the book The other day, actually.

Natalie MacLean 12:31
Oh, yeah. The book. Oh, yeah.

Paul K 12:33
That where we found that original drawing,

Natalie MacLean 12:35
I think I think it’s here. There. Is it this one?

Paul K 12:39
Yeah, that’s it. Okay. Essentially, that picture. That’s great. So that’s one of the three panels from a 15th century German woodcut jacket, of course, enter jacket,

Natalie MacLean 12:49
is this your special tasting jacket?

Paul K 12:52
My wife every time we go shopping, and I grab one of these bizarre jackets, because she shakes her head at me.

Natalie MacLean 12:59
It’s great. Looks like he should have a cigar as well or something. Yeah. So let me just go back here. What are you reading wines of the room probe? Oh, that’s Parker. Yeah. And what do you think of Parker and his influencing scores? And what’s your take on all that?

Paul K 13:13
Well, he was the original, you know, humble score. What do I say score giver? Is that a real word? Yeah, sure. You know, he did it without advertising. He did it for the love of the grape. I think it was 70 something he started. And so I’ve always respected his scores. The latest slew of scorekeeping. It can be summarised with the image when you walk into a supermarket in America, every single wine has a shelf talker, a little tag that hangs in front of the bottle with their sale price in some kind of score.

Natalie MacLean 13:47
Right? And most of them are over 90 these days.

Paul K 13:50
Yeah, they’re just big numbers. And I actually when I score wines on my newsletter, I have an asterisk next to the score the bottom it says the score because there they are in the 90s. But it’s because this is a 98 amongst other $20, Cabernets. It’s so people who wait here to 98 but you know, those spectator give that 82 I’m like, well, but I’m not doing it like the spec that I’m doing amongst its peers. So how do you make a decision as a consumer, you walk into the market, and every scores got a 90 Plus, and then he tasted negotiate is not very good. So I think that whole scoring thing is just gotten a little out of hand, and highlighted by the following scenario, when there was a wine that came from a broker that that was very good. And not everybody submits their wines to the scoring systems, you know, it’s a lot of effort, you have to do it way in advance, and you know, people that make wine may not want to bother. So that’s why I was really good. And I just wanted to know if it was a score, I don’t care if they have scores, but I’d like to know if they do. And she says no, but if you want one, I go What do you mean? She has luggage a score? Is that all it takes? So she was gonna call him at MW or the master Psalm and have him write a score. Wow. If that’s It’s all text and what’s the value?

Unknown Speaker 15:00
Yeah, exactly. Wow. IRB Where?

Unknown Speaker 15:05

Unknown Speaker 15:06
there you are with the podcast. That’s great. Yes. Save the podcast.

Paul K 15:11
I think we have 100 plus episodes. I’ve been doing wine videos for 15 years, probably. There’s some pretty rudimentary things out on YouTube. But I’ve done 70 or 80 podcasts. And you know, where we have a studio shot like this. There’s probably over 100 podcasts on online because I used to do 12 minute tastings. So winemaker came to town. We stand by at a bar, and we taste their wines. And those were 12 to 15 minutes. And so those are all around a title. How many of those at least 100

Unknown Speaker 15:45

Natalie MacLean 15:45
let me just see. I think I’ve gone through most of the pictures that are here. Who’s this?

Paul K 15:50
That’s Bo Barrett.

Natalie MacLean 15:51
Oh, okay. Well,

Paul K 15:53
from Chateau Montelena, yeah, we had a great chat. Oh, that’s awesome. You know, you mentioned in one of your emails to me like this just a conversation. We’re just having fun. Well, this is a guy who we grew up in the same neighbourhood went to the same high school, his dad, my dad, we’re friends. In fact, he said when they when I can’t remember when they won the judgement, Paris or when the father left the law practice to go full time with the weinrich camera which episode it was. He says, we had a bottle of champagne Walter shade. I’m sure my dad bought it from that store. So that’s pretty cool. Great, really, really great jet

Natalie MacLean 16:26
small town memories. That’s awesome. So you’ve mentioned this elsewhere, that there are some websites that will give you this survey, like do you like black coffee or coffee with cream in it, and therefore you’ll like Cabernets that are tannic? What’s your take on those kind of taste surveys to curate wines for somebody?

Paul K 16:44
Well, I think you probably know the answer that

Unknown Speaker 16:46
I’m going to hear from you. Is horse, horse hockey.

Paul K 16:49
Yes. It’s impossible for there to be an algorithm based on those five questions that’s going to profile your why’s. And I’ll give you a couple of reasons why. And then another question like, why would you want that? Why would you want somebody to send you Why is that they think you’re going to like in the sense of the fit your palate, rather than send you wines that are good examples of what they should be to expand your palate, right. So you’re sort of narrowing your palate by doing that. But it’s impossible, for instance, for an algorithm to know that a wine like the Canary Islands exists. So how’s it gonna know to find it for you? But on the other hand, if you walk into your favourite wine shop, you said, What do you have that’s interesting, that has character like this, that I’ve never tasted. And they go Come over here, this is a this is Canary Island wise, or this is from the base of the volcanic mountain and Puleo or this is, you know, Umbria friend. The other example of that same scenario in Umbria, in Italy, they are growing ancient varietals. Now they’re finding the DNA of these grapes that hadn’t been used for years, hundreds of years and wine, and they’re planting vineyards around them. They’re making extraordinary wines, I mean, complex, interesting things. That AI algorithm would never know that they exist, it’s impossible. And the interpretation because, you know, you and I are gonna taste a wine together, and we’re gonna have could have an adult conversation about what we tasted them and not jive.

Unknown Speaker 18:13

Paul K 18:13
So what does that mean? What does AI thinking? How’s the AI interpreting what I think? What I think versus what you think? Right?

Natalie MacLean 18:20
Yeah, I have to agree with that. And I find those questions Yoona dimensional. So black coffee, there’s obviously bitterness, you add cream or you soften the bitterness but there’s more to wine than just that element of bitterness. There’s how much fruitiness Do you like, how much acidity Do you like, you know, it’s a confluence of, of

Paul K 18:38
tastes, finished the acid the character, but I think the most appointed thing was that and I think I forgot who it was another winemaker that told me this, like, why would you want that? Why would you want somebody to send me this stuff?

Natalie MacLean 18:48
The same stuff? Yes.

Paul K 18:49
So the things you’re gonna like?

Natalie MacLean 18:50
Well, it’s kind of like social media where many people are starting to tune in to just views that reinforce their own. And so you get this narrowing of opinion, but also narrowing of taste, which is not a good thing.

Paul K 19:02
It’s a really good point. It’s really good point.

Natalie MacLean 19:04
So is there something about wine that you believe that people would disagree with you about it?

Paul K 19:11
Wow. You don’t want to what you listen to the the podcast I did with Isabel ledger on. She’s the raw wine promoter. She’s in London. She’s an MW and she didn’t agree with anything I said. Oh, wow. So it was a fascinating podcast. Yeah. Different on our opinions and some simple things but

Natalie MacLean 19:35
what what were the main points of

Paul K 19:36
the I’m trying to remember exactly what she was doing. But I just remember my sound engineer was like, she didn’t agree then you said the raw movement is really about most basic of winemaking like just absolutely nothing,

Natalie MacLean 19:51
no intervention. It’s even more or less interventionist than natural wines, isn’t it?

Paul K 19:56
Yes, yes. If natural one exists, and two void your question. So the reason I met her was the author of the hotel plus Vendome, which is about the liberation of Paris through the eyes of the Ritz Hotel. And the occupation of Paris is that Taylor Mazzeo? Yeah. So she was a raw wine maker to COVID and to the extent where she doesn’t discourage her sparkling wine, so when you buy her sparkling wine, you get all this yeast crap floating in it.

Natalie MacLean 20:24
That’s a sludge.

Paul K 20:25
I never had a chance to taste it. But I was fascinated by the idea. That’s how I got a hold of Isabel as rocks. It was her group

Natalie MacLean 20:31
TLR is a BC winemaker, right?

Paul K 20:33
Yeah. She’s at Coover Island.

Natalie MacLean 20:34
I’ll have to see if I get some of those winds anyway.

Paul K 20:38
But she had 300 cases left over. Oh, well. Okay. Close the doors.

Natalie MacLean 20:42
Oh, oh, that’s too bad. Do you mean they’ve shut down permanently? Oh, dear. Yeah, sir. over that. Yeah. Well, Taylor has written some great books like the one on clico. I interviewed her about that one, but not the really good fan down. Right. So okay, I’ll have to look up Isabel.

Paul K 21:00
bright bright. MW.

Natalie MacLean 21:02
Hmm. Okay. Sounds interesting. Is there a wine that you consider a guilty pleasure?

Paul K 21:08
Yeah. My fascination now is to dissect burgundy. Okay. And you they’re expensive? Yes. And so it’s an expensive hobby. But when I tasted the wine at the French Laundry, and I started to curate for this customer, it exposed me to the idiosyncrasies and nuances of great Burgundy,

Natalie MacLean 21:29
both the reds and whites, mostly reds. pinos. Okay,

Paul K 21:33
though I’ve had some amazing shibley ground crews. They’re really fabulous. Right? But there’s something ethereal about the monks in Burgundy. And vice asked the question, how do these guys figure out with no technology, that two Hector’s across the street from these other two Hector’s are completely different places for what they grow? And the value of those wines is something that I’ve asked this question 1000 times and ever got no one knows the answer, because there is no answer. But what is it about the grape amongst other agricultural products that’s so ethereal, that takes you home that takes you to the ground? You don’t feel that way with pineapples, or apricot, or wheat, but you do with wine. And there was a young lady in Armenia, and it was Julia degree that she said, what other product? Can you put in your suitcase, travel halfway around the world, put it on the table and say, This is who we are. That would be so expressive of where it’s from? A lot, you know, can’t be a widget, right? Can’t be a carrot. But as wine.

Natalie MacLean 22:39
It’s true. And it’s the only product that we put on a dinner party table that’s still in its original packaging. We’re not keeping the stickers on the apple. Like that’s, that’s a good thing. Yeah, it is expressive of the land and the culture and everything else, that I just interviewed Fred Ryan wine in the White House. And that was what john F. Kennedy was after. And all the President’s trying to display American art and culture, the best of American civilization and wine became a very much a part of that. You mentioned Eisenhower’s, though. And then I guess Lyndon Johnson, but anyway, very true. So just in the homestretch here, Paul, thank you. This is terrific. Do you have like a favourite wine gadget that you’d recommend to people like something that’s essential? I mean, of course, a corkscrew, but is there anything else you’ve come across? So

Paul K 23:27
that was a very timely question. I did a TV spot years ago, in San Francisco on errors, they have value. People always ask that question. Are they more valuable than like a decanter with a nice fat bottom where there’s lots of oxygen? Get into the wine? I don’t know. I just had to compare them. But I’ve done my own experiments with those things. I’ve took three bottles of Chardonnay, I gassed one with the nitrogen vacuum pump one. And one I did nothing to know why I did both to have that filled with gas. They vacuum that actually did the best. But last night when I couldn’t sleep, like normal. I actually ordered like two in the morning, I ordered this thing that that showed up on my search, called report. It’s a cork that you put in a bottle of open wine and it draws the oxygen out like a filter. Oh, and it says that it lasts two to three weeks. Now you’ve seen this core event. Yes, distributors are using all the time

Natalie MacLean 24:23
that Neato goes through the cork. Yeah, yes. What are the weaknesses of the Corbin?

Paul K 24:27
Well, it doesn’t do well once the bottle is half empty.

Natalie MacLean 24:31
Ah, there’s too much oxygen in there. Yeah, I

Paul K 24:34
think it just can’t replace it all in it. So it doesn’t do well that way. So usually when the vendor brings me a wine, and we use the caravan, if it has an off character, and the bottles weren’t half, he opens a fresh one. So that kind of defeats the whole purpose to

Natalie MacLean 24:47
know Yeah,

Paul K 24:48
but real little cans of nitrogen. That one’s called private Preserve. One’s called fresh works. Yeah, that works very well. In the old days, and I have a bag here somewhere. We Literally sold marbles at my dad’s shop. So he would he would sterilise the marbles. And if you didn’t finish the white plop them into the bottle and the white why would come back up to the regular and I went ordered marbles online to see if I could recreate that there was one device and you can’t find it anymore. And it’s really sad because it was very good. It was called the wine wizard. And the problem with it was packaging. It was like a blister pack on a liquor store wall. And what it was too imposing magnets, anything that had oak ageing in it, it would change it would smooth out and work for the cheapest bourbon you could find it would work with any okays wine, but on the top pour through it. It was phenomenal. The poor thing just suffered from bad packaging and bad marketing it died a slow death. I still have two or three of my house and I still use them because they really does soften some you know edgy wines.

Natalie MacLean 25:56
Maybe you can find it on eBay or something.

Paul K 25:59
The wine wizard the beverage I’m sorry beverage. But I think people should decamp I think they should use some kind of Airaid and pour. It will change things in advance them a little bit if they’re little young and little rough.

Natalie MacLean 26:12
Yeah, I always compare it to like decanting doesn’t replace cellaring decanting is kind of like heating something up in the microwave. It helps get to where the wine should be quicker, but there’s nothing that replaces slow cooking or whatever, the seller, but going back to that thing, you said the the cork report. Yes. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 26:32

Natalie MacLean 26:33
How does that work? Like you’ve opened the bottle, you’ve got half left, you put this cork in the top and it’s sucking out the air?

Paul K 26:40
Yeah. It says, okay, it’s good for. So here I am, in the morning lie about my phone, my wife said, trying to order a sample pack so I can test this thing. It’s not interesting. You know, you see gadgets all the time, there was one just before this from Australia, except me, this was the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen. And what it was was a plastic disc, not unlike this one. They said it was clear if you had this, and you could stick a prong and it would go into the bottle and it would float on top of the wine. So their premise was if this is floating on the wine, then there was no oxygen to get into that wine. And of course, he tried to pour it out of the thing. It’s stuck in a closet. I mean, it was really I can’t believe that somebody spent the money to design and try to market this thing. Haven’t seen it since. But I try them off. I get sample I try them on it my database, the database I have where I keep all my wines. There was actually a database written for sale. It was never sold. It was the beta test. I’ve got 50,000 wines in there now.

Natalie MacLean 27:40
Wow. Wow. Well, I’m on the hunt for the solutions. I’m so glad you brought it up. Because anytime I do a tasting say online. The number one objection is it’s just the two of us here. It’s COVID. How do I preserve you, you want us to open four bottles. So I’ve been looking for all of these tricks in these devices. The other one I heard is save a half bottle of wine, keep it clean and then pour the contents into that half bottle and seal it again.

Paul K 28:08
That’s one of the old school ways to and it’s reduces the oxygen or by a proven a you know use fancy crew today’s q&a. What’s that? That’s the device that restaurants have where the wind is still chill and you just got spigot.

Natalie MacLean 28:23
Right. Okay. And there’s enomatic to something like that. Yeah,

Paul K 28:28
yeah, that’s backfilling with argon. You know, when a bottle of wine they fill it with argon first, this Birgit with argon. It takes about two seconds. And then the allege is now gas instead of air.

Natalie MacLean 28:40
Alright, that gap between the cork and the wine once filled. Interesting. I didn’t know they did that they are gone fail first. At the bottling and then the wine. Okay, cool.

Paul K 28:50
I saw the spiders get out of the bottles. Oh, we’ve had like the worm in America. We have spiders and stuff and never

Natalie MacLean 28:58
really. Okay. So Paul, is there anything? This has been absolutely wonderful, loved this conversation? Is there anything that we haven’t covered that you’d like to cover? Now I’m going to also ask you where we can find your club online and that sort of thing. But are there any other topics that we haven’t covered? things you’d like to mention?

Paul K 29:18
Well, you know, I say this all the time as I think it’s important for listeners to hear. Because there’s a lot of bloggers and a lot of YPO I want to take the intimidation out of why we’re going to simplify wine. It’s not simple. This goes back to Isabel. She did not agree with me on this. But I don’t see the value of trying to make it simple because it’s not simple. It’s a complicated subject. You don’t need to be intimidated by it because everybody has more to learn. I have more to learn you have more to learn. Emmanuel comm eg the master sama makes wine in Spain. He said, I went to Cordy brothers in Sacramento and Darrell Cordy pulls out and one of the famous merchants of all time pulls out a ball of Armenian wine and he says to me now I got Learn about Armenian wine as a master song because that’s my job. But I got to compete against it because the wines are so good valued. So he’s a guy who started this got the highest value certificate you can get. And he’s still saying, I get to learn more. So don’t be intimidated by it. And learn as much as you want to learn. If you just want a good glass of wine, that’s great. Figure out which ones the ones you like and stick with that or find a good curator and try other things that are the same calibre but if you want understand Burgundy, like I’m trying to do great, there’s plenty of resources but don’t be intimidated by the fact that you’re not doing that. Because the value of it is strictly academic. The experience of a glass of wine is the experience of a glass of wine, it should make you feel something it should route you somewhere it should not be a buzz. You know, it is a buzz a little bit, I guess, but it’s not why you should be doing it is to shut down the other day is to experience some conversation with some friends is to have a whole new, like you say when like my customers text me from Italy, when they’re in front of the Parthenon, they Okay, get me this wine. I’m like, Yeah, but it’s not gonna taste the same. Right? That’s true. Wine is experience.

Natalie MacLean 31:10
It is indeed and talking about. It has been a great experience with you, Paul.

Unknown Speaker 31:15
Thank you,

Natalie MacLean 31:15
Mike salutely. This has been great. So you said you know, keep learning about wine. Of course, one of the ways to do that is to listen to your podcast wine talks with Paul Kay, I assume you’re on all of the places where you can get podcasts like apple and Spotify and all the rest. Okay, cool. All right,

Paul K 31:31
radio, Stitcher,

Natalie MacLean 31:33
all of those places. Great. And then your wine club. Remind us again, the name of it, and the URL where we can find it.

Paul K 31:41
The URL is wine of the Month Club, COMM The original What do you Lana, you’ll see my picture. I hope that looks good to everybody. And the way we’ve been running the show lately, because we’re learning that the customers want to be granular in their approach. They want to see things that are particularly maybe regionally specific or varietally specific, a certain grape. So I have three price sensitive clubs where you get two bottles for so much money. And then I have a whole bunch of special clubs like Napa Bordeaux, Pino sweet rosae, which is a hot product, you know, hot commodity right now. And every one of those goes through the same process. And it’s the same guarantee, which is you never pay for wine. You don’t like it, if I fail to meet your expectations. We’re gonna fix it.

Natalie MacLean 32:25
Sounds like a good guarantee to me. Now you just have to branch into Canada.

Paul K 32:30
Yeah, well, we try we try. Really try. Now.

Natalie MacLean 32:33
I know we’re tough, are tough. I think there was a wall here or something. But there’s not. But we have lots of us folks who listened to the podcast and who join us every Wednesday to watch the video. So they’ll all be able to take advantage of what you offer. Call. Thank you so much. I appreciate this. And I wish you all the best. And I’m looking forward to kind of turning the tables and chatting with you on your podcast.

Paul K 32:57
Likewise, I look forward to thank you for the time I guess this morning here. Yeah, late morning for you. But we’ll see you soon. Absolutely.

Natalie MacLean 33:04
Thanks so much, pal.

Unknown Speaker 33:06

Unknown Speaker 33:06

Natalie MacLean 33:13
Well, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed part two of my chat with Paul Kay. Here are my takeaways. Number one, Paul’s right that wine scores have gotten out of hand with grade inflation across the board. I like the way he approaches tasting wines. It’s much more grounded for wine drinkers, and especially when he factors in the price of the wine. Number two, I agree with Paul that there’s something so he throw so magical about the grape among all agricultural products that it does take you home, that it can say this is who we are. And three to that and I think there has been an oversimplification of wine, as Paul says it’s worth learning about. We don’t need to make it intimidating, but I think we do need to acknowledge its wonderful complexity and diversity. Just a reminder, you can win a signed copy of Rex pickets novel sideways, as well as a bottle of sideways Pinot Noir. If you comment on the social media post I created about the contest. Just pick your favourite platform, Insta Facebook or Twitter and comment on the post before 7pm. Tonight, I’ll select the winner randomly from those who participate and you get a bonus entry for every wine loving friend you tag. Or if you reshare the post in your stories. in the show notes, you’ll find a link to these posts a full transcript of our conversation, how you can join me in a free online wine and food pairing class and where you can find me on zoom, Insta, Facebook and YouTube. Live on video every Wednesday at 7pm including this evening and next week. That’s all in the show notes at Natalie maclean.com forward slash one to five you won’t want to miss next week when I chat with Devin Parr, who is named one of wine enthusiasts magazine’s top 40. Under 40 tastemakers, we discuss clean wines and whether you should try them. If social media influencers impact the wine you drink, and if you’ve ever worried about drinking a little too much wine, we talk about that too. She joins us from her home in Southern California. In the meantime, if you missed Episode 39, go back and take a listen. I chat with Bloomberg wine columnist aylin McCoy about wine scores and the influence of the critic Robert Parker. I’ll share a short clip with you now to whet your appetite.

Unknown Speaker 35:42
One of my favourite comments from a review of my book was that it was a story about power and how you get power and how you keep power. I think it’s very illustrative of that. I actually was very happy about review, because I felt that at the bottom, that was what my book was about. Yeah. And it’s a bigger theme. A bigger theme is power, not just wine, but also I felt that it was very American. The kind of story that people like in America. Yes. You know, somebody comes out of nowhere.

Natalie MacLean 36:22
rags to riches, like an El Doctorow story like Ellis Island to fame. Yes,

Unknown Speaker 36:27
this is an American mythos, if you will, the idea that you can come out of nowhere and by sheer dint of hard work and smarts and all these things, you can triumph and somehow Parker’s story resonated with a lot of people.

Natalie MacLean 36:50
If you liked this episode, please tell one friend about it this week, especially someone you know who’d be interested in the wine tips that Paul shared. Thank you for taking the time to join me here. I hope something great is in your class this week.

Natalie MacLean 37:13
You don’t want to miss one juicy episode of this podcast, especially the secret full body bonus episodes that I don’t announce on social media. So subscribe for free now at Natalie MacLean comm forward slash subscribe. We’ll be here next week. Cheers.