“In the world of physical taste, the canon is less important for what it contains than for what it conveys”
Paul Lucas, Matters of Taste
Or what it omits. If standards are necessary in the field of criticism, the critic should have the freedom to define their personal spectrum. And they should be held accountable for that. The standard is relative and relevant to the one who uses it to convey their opinion. The format therefore is to be questioned, to provide a basis from which we explore further. If the critic has a role it should not be to create an average opinion, or an average of opinions.
One redeeming aspect of the critic is their ability to be impartial on classicism and cultural competence, although they’re usually not. It’s all contrived, the creative enterprise. At best, a critic can believe they are completely engaged while being thoroughly removed from what they’re experiencing, meaning they place unbiased value on all and any characteristics the wine possesses. A truly unbiased view can liberate the critic and also inhibit them, since there’s a certain amount of subjectivity in any conclusion. In other words, the heart has value too, in balance with the mind. But money will put words into any biased mouth.
Everything starts and ends subjectively. We can’t forget to include the variance of personal interpretation in the world as we experience it. Although the individual or institution that supports or benefits from the standardization of opinion would argue against it, there’s nothing wrong with embracing subjective experience. Its to our advantage to keep it in mind through the long term game of human advancement.
This is the very essence of Plato’s Problem*: how is it possible to know something that hasn’t been explicitly taught? That knowledge is acquired through a combination of innate and experiential problem solving… But how can we have innate ideas that precede our experience? Seeing the world from the inside out rather than the world based on physical external characteristics (psychic proprioperception).
Where does inspiration come from?
Psychic continuity is required to understand wine (grape to bottle). We should embrace this natural ability with our sensory experience (subjective perception based on our unique experiences that inform our tastes, color perception, semantics, genetics, physical sensitivities or lack thereof). Visual experience is a stimulus like any other that informs our deeper understanding of things (ex. ship of Theseus… just look it up). So beginning to recognize the grape for the time and place it was grown although now in a glass as fermented juice in front of you, is an important component to understanding wine on a deeper level. It’s you, not them.
*Chomsky described the gap between knowledge and experience “Plato’s Problem”