The Dissent Thread

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Simon Lisle
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Post by Simon Lisle » 10:37 Mon 05 May 2008

The only part of me that feels uncomfortable about this thread is Roy has not been here to reply.As I stated Roy's tasting notes I believe are not biased I believe if you are friendly with a shipper or shipper's it has some bearing that is only human nature.The FTLOP site rarely or maybe never say's anything negative about shipper's or producer's(not tasting notes)or the buisness in general.

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SushiNorth
Martinez 1985
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Post by SushiNorth » 16:00 Mon 05 May 2008

Shall we start a separate thread for the proposed discussion of content re-use?

I think that may go a little ways to solving some of the (non-Roy) issues brought up here. For example, if the offlines needed to be described as
*The Port Forum: Croft Vertical Offline Tasting announced*
The Port Forum is hosting an offline tasting in NYC, NY on Feb 31, 2008. There's a great lineup of Crofts on their list (1961, 1971, 1978, 1984, and 1993), along with some LBVs. For more information or to sign up, the listing (can be found on their site / is here).
We might feel a lot better in that the collective work of this open community, donated for the benefit of "red drink" fans, increases the value of this community and potentially grows future participation.

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jdaw1
Cockburn 1900
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Pointer to new thread “Content re-use: proposed rules†

Post by jdaw1 » 18:00 Mon 05 May 2008

[url=http://www.theportforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=14166#14166]Here[/url] SushiNorth wrote:Shall we start a separate thread for the proposed discussion of content re-use?
Yes: done.

Roy Hersh
Niepoort LBV
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Post by Roy Hersh » 08:14 Tue 06 May 2008

With the agreement of Roy edited by jdaw1 to add
markup.

I'm leaving for the Douro in 10 minutes but wanted to respond but don't have time to format this the way I should but will be back on Wed. night. So hopefully this will be legible.
Alan wrote:Rubby

I'll try and explain this one without hopefully re-opening old issues to much, or being judgemental (Which I was at the time)
I must ask, was this really necessary? Did this have to be dredged up, yet again. Derek, Alex and others here have worked with me for over a half a year now to lay things to rest and make up and make peace and now this muck and mire.
Ronnie wrote:Furthermore, I also get suspicious when I see a post from Roy on another forum. E.g. when he posts a tasting note here, I can't help but thinking that he wants to draw attention to his tasting notes database, which is 'subscribers-only'.
Ronnie, you need not get paranoid. As Derek can attest, my posting of a TN on TPF was strictly as “an olive branch† just as was my very first post specifically done on Jan. 1st so that it would be noted as a peace offering, after months of being asked to post here behind the scenes. So don’t let that imagination get carried away! Do you really think that I am pandering to THIS crowd to check out my TNs? Not even close to the realms of plausibility.
Derek wrote:Personally, I would like to see Roy disclose which shippers support :ftlop: just to be completely transparent.
That is a fair enough request. Simply put. Absolutely zero. That means I have no sponsorships, receive no free wines (except for a bottle for review of new cask sample of upcoming VPs and rare “new† releases of Croft Pink Port. Otherwise, I don’t get wine, sponsorships, financial aid, money to spend on dog food and to be perfectly blunt … of the hundreds of people in the Port trade that received my newsletter for the past four years … not ONE, has subscribed as of yet. So am I clear when I say they don’t give me a damn thing? That includes the IVDP, AEVP, ICEP and ViniPortugal either. I did approach TAP Airlines to see about support, but so far nothing … besides they have nothing to do with the Port trade in a direct sense.
Ronnie wrote:Even if he's not being sponsored, there is the issue of his dependency on those shippers who accommodate him during the harvest trips. This makes me doubt the objectivity of his opinions and tasting notes.
Ronnie, why not request information or ask a question like Derek did? You doubting my “objectivity of his opinions and tasting notes† is pure conjecture based on !@#$%^&* at best. When I lead tours to Portugal we pay for every single wine we taste unless a producer tosses in a bottle or more because they have seen the passion within the group and want to make their visit even better. Otherwise, we pay for meals and wines. At hotels Mario and I do not even get free rooms BECAUSE I REFUSE TO HAVE PEOPLE LIKE BE ABLE TO QUESTION MY PERSONAL ETHICS AND INTEGRITY. If anything… “they† the shippers get the better end of the deal as I provide pictures and articles and tasting notes on our visits, which equates to free advertising for THEM, plus they then use my TNs without asking … on their websites and promo pieces and in their tasting rooms. In return, I get to be able to visit them. A hell of a perk. Believe me, if any shipper would not have us, I’d never ask again REGARDLESS of who that was! Is that clear enough?
Simon wrote:I don't beleive Roy's tasting notes are biased either but whenever you need a shipper or shipper's as part of your buisness there will be a conflict of interest.
Simon thank you very much. But you are wrong here TWICE:
a. My palate preferences with Port lead to TNs that have a distinct bias because they are my own opinions. All journalists and critics, amateur and professional have bias when it comes to their TNs. It is the nature of the beast.
b. But can you please share with us how Jancis, Broadbent, Suckling, Squires, Parker et al, are any less “conflicted† as they are paid to write about wines many of which occur during the visits. Richard Mayson’s name is often bandied about as a great Port author, writer and critic? Do you question his integrity? I bet you did not know that he is married to the daughter of Blandy’s Madeira which is owned by the Symington’s. Do you think that Noval or TFP or Sogevinus thinks that he is “objective?†
By the way Simon, I have emails from you since the early part of the decade where you were asking me for information prior to FTLOP website or Forum. I helped you then, provided answers to all of your questions and responded to every single email you sent me, way back when. You only knew me from reading my many articles that used to appear on the Wineloverspage.com website. Just wanted to put that out there to add some perspective.
Ronnie wrote:That's what I tried to point out as well. And because the conflicting interests are visible for me (as consumer of Roy's services) I have the problem of not knowing whether his conflicting interests influence his judgement. This is where Roy's position differs from that of other wine critics.
Not really Ronnie, now that you’ve read the above, I’d really like to understand this better. Because I’ve always respected you, I will explain something that might awaken some here in this thread. Today I had arranged a double horizontal (both 1997 vs. 1977 for all Symington property VPs. You should have been there. Peter Symington, a respected chief oenologist/winemaker for the entire Symington Family Estates was there to preside over this tasting with me and 10 guests. After he and others (-1) enjoyed a particular Port, I spoke up against the tide to inform them that there was a low level (2-3 ppt) of TCA in one of the ‘97s. He did not think so. Then another UK member of our group and friend to many here, spoke up that he also got the TCA. Peter probably was not fond of me proving that point. I later let loose that I have been one of the most publicly critical journalists since 1995 that have written many times publicly on BBs/Forums and in my own TNs and newsletter … said directly to Peter … that imo, the 1977 Graham’s was “a disjointed mess laced with alcohol on the nose and mid-palate.† Oh yeah, btw, Peter made that wine. I then complimented him and said that on this day, in similar fashion to my last two tastings:’ it showed much more integration’ and I gave it 94 points (my highest ever).
But on to a better example of who I could give a damn about who likes or dislikes my TNs or what I believe in the most honest and straightforward way … some would say blunt, and they’d be right … I have about saying what I believe directly to ANY producer/bottler/shipper of Port, Douro wine and/or Madeira. In 1997, I was invited up to Canada for the launch of a brand new Vintage Port. In fact, I was not only the first American to write about this 1994 new release …. I was the very first Yank to taste the juice. It was produced by Niepoort for one of my personal closest friends and my Port mentor … Bartholomew Broadbent. I was not kind to his debut Port and he would not speak to me for nearly a year. I understood and knew that in time, he’d get over it and he did and we are still great friends more than a decade later. However, he felt that I was harsher on the wine just BECAUSE we are such good friends and told me so in no uncertain terms. I honestly don’t believe that was the case, although I was as tough on him then as I would be tomorrow with ANYBODY including Dirk Niepoort who made that wine … with just ONE grape. He was not spared in my review either. Show me just one review by Richard Mayson where he has panned a Symington Port.
AHB wrote:The issue with Roy and Niepoort's wines is one that I would put down to personal preference. It is very clear to me that Roy likes the style and nature of Rolf and Dirk Niepoort's wines (just like Andy does). They just happen to hit the sweet spot in Roy's palate in a way that, say, Noval does with my palate. For this reason, Roy often writes favourable notes about Niepoort ports. Yes, I would say that Roy is biased towards Niepoort's ports but I would argue long and loud that this has nothing to do with friendship or commercial arrangements and everything to do with Roy's interpretation of the port he is drinking. (Plus any planned visit to Niepoort could easily be replaced on Roy's Douro Tour if it had to be.)
Alex, guilty as charged. I don’t know a single Douro winemaker who does Colheita, LBV, Tawny, Vintage Port, even Garrafeira … no less can knockwhite and red Douro wines out of the ballpark on such a consistent basis. So if people think (Alan’s comment for example) that I am showing Dirk favoritism that is not the case. I am however, immensely impressed with his ability to maintain quality AND focus on such an extraordinary breadth of Port and table wines, year in and year out. However, during my last visit, Roy the DIRECT boy, criticized the 2005 …. Which I thought was a solid VP, yet could tell the tannins had been softened and that the structure was not up to the usual Niepoort style (when young). My group was dead silent as all but two had never seen me do something like this in such a direct, venting of my opinion in a critiquing manner. That said (as I did above) of course I am biased to the wines I like .. Vesuvio (you are BIASED here too! ; ) Niepoort, Fonseca and others that FREQUENTLY DELIVER HIGH QUALITY PORTs with extraordinary regularity … at least for my biased palate.
Rubby wrote:Personaly, I always valued the TN's on the FTLOP forum higher than Roy's personal TN's, simply because they're the opinion of one man (as experienced as he may be) and the TN's on the forum are in many cases commented on and enhanced (is that the right word?) by other users. My feeling is that in most cases they are much more spontaneous and less pretentious.
This said, I have much respect for Mr. Hersh's knowledge, experience and enthousiasm.
Thank you, I think!?!?! Show me any critic or journalist that does not have their own personal favorites or biases and I’ll show you a shoe salesman. Yes my opinion is that of just one man … sorry I can’t be more than that. But in all seriousness, I always implore people in my annual Port harvest reviews to taste the wines themselves, read as many opinions as possible and then make up their minds. If they can’t taste the wine (or it is not available to them yet) I always advocate going by the voice of some journo/critic they trust. I appreciate your kind words at the end of your paragraph.
Derek wrote:This is probably due to my part in the circumstances that lead to the creation of TPF, a subject that I have absolutely no wish to see reported or debated here or anywhere else, combined with the fact that it was I would took it upon myself to attempt to persuade Roy to relax his rule on posting links to TPF from FTLOP.
I am in full agreement Derek and Alan’s unfortunate posting and rehash of this was the low point of the entire thread! I took your words to heart and against my own concerns listened to your reasonable request and opened the door for the exchange of offline links on threads on my site. I will say that this thread has definitely not warmed me toward further loosening of my “rules† not matter how many posts ask for that now. Maybe in time, we can get back to the pliant stage I was getting to with you two weeks ago, before this thread. It would be pointless of others to try to change my mind right now, so they can comment to their heart’s desire, flames can fly … all with no resulting change by me for now.

Offending word removed by Admin, 8 May 2008

Roy Hersh
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Post by Roy Hersh » 08:16 Tue 06 May 2008

One last thought.

I thank those who generously voiced an opinion in support or otherwise as some of these things needed to get off your chests ... finally. It was not really easy to stay totally on a positive non-defensive track ... where I failed or succeeded will be up to you, but I did try!

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KillerB
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Post by KillerB » 09:08 Tue 06 May 2008

Roy,

Thank you for responding so fully, I'm sure that this thread was difficult reading for you. Have fun in the Douro,

Cheers,

Alex
Port is basically a red drink

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DRT
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Post by DRT » 10:13 Tue 06 May 2008

Thanks for replying Roy. As Alex says it couldn't have been an easy read.

Enjoy your trip.

Derek
"The first duty of Port is to be red"
Ernest H. Cockburn

Simon Lisle
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Post by Simon Lisle » 14:51 Tue 06 May 2008

I thought you made the points quite well to be honest this thread would not have gotten so far if you'd been here to reply first off.I now feel slightly guilty on the biased accusation.But I've looked back on some of your reply's when the port industry is challenged and realise it's a balanced view and sometimes not your own personnal view reading between the lines but sometimes when it is obvious you could be more critical.This thread I feel is quite poor for TPF which is a fun place which is why I like it but this would have come up at some stage so I'm glad it's over.
Last edited by Simon Lisle on 15:40 Tue 06 May 2008, edited 1 time in total.

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SushiNorth
Martinez 1985
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Post by SushiNorth » 16:08 Tue 06 May 2008

Roy Hersh wrote:...{big snip}...
So that was a big response (thanks roy) but it boils down to a basic reality of wine tasting:

Everyone's got their own opinions, and those with opinions closer to our own are more trusted on wines we have yet to taste.

i think the case was well made that there isn't bias in Roy's TNs, only that he makes a living from port enthusiasts who pay him for content/tourism/VIP-access while we want such benefits to be earned purely through merit and enthusiasm (and personal investment). Not everyone has the time to be obsessive about port, and so Roy's role is to be obsessive for them :)

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AHB
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Post by AHB » 12:30 Thu 08 May 2008

SushiNorth wrote:Not everyone has the time to be obsessive about port, and so Roy's role is to be obsessive for them :)
I love this quote! What a role to have - the professional port obsessive! That's now become my new aspiration.

Roy - I've sent you an email.

Alex
Top Ports in 2018 (so far): Niepoort VV (1960's Bottling), Quinta do Noval Nacional 1994 and San Leonardo Very Old White (Bottled 2018)
2017 Ports of the year: Fonseca 1927 and Quinta do Noval 1927

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Luc
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Post by Luc » 23:41 Thu 08 May 2008

Rubby wrote:
Conky wrote:But we set up this site because of issues surrounding freedom of speech.
As a newbie (I still see myself as one), I was wondering about this for some time.
I found this forum by Googling for Port related websites. It was also on this forum where I first heard of the FTLOP website, on which I am a lurker for quite some time now.
What is the historical relation between this forum and FTLOP?

If you don't mind me asking...[/quote
Rubby , as one the original malcontents who jumped ship , I would like to say that my right to talk about Port in a humourous way was questioned .
Actually , It was all about Peanut butter . ( ask Conky )

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Post by Conky » 23:49 Thu 08 May 2008

Well, I suppose it was :lol: .

It was also Peanut Butter related.

Roy Hersh
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Post by Roy Hersh » 08:43 Fri 09 May 2008

Luc,

I am thrilled that you can post your peanut butter commentary in the Meaningless Drivel section here. It is refreshing to know that you can be sated in this way.

We do appreciate your insights on Port over there on FTLOP when you have had something related to Port which that site is about. I certainly understand and respect the fact that the climate here is much more relaxed, with an any anything goes policy.

It is not an "either or" situation as both sites have a solid raison d'etre and excellent base of members, lots of whom post on both.

Please let's not harp on the past, that was nearly a year ago and between a very small group of individuals .... 99% of whom remain very good friends today.

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Luc
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Post by Luc » 22:33 Fri 09 May 2008

Roy , you hit the nail on the head :)

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