Big data 9-30-2015

Big data is big nowadays. Big, really big—just look at the data.

When it comes to wine, however, big data is problematic because wine’s big data is bewildering.

Hurdle one: quantifiable price. IRI, an industry-standard wine marketing firm, uses the following to classify wines by price:

• Value: less than $5.

• Premium: $5 to $7.99.

• Super premium: $8 to $10.99.

• Ultra premium: $11 to $14.99.

• Luxury: $15-$10,000+.

Are you kidding? How do you parse data with that definition? Almost everything I drink is “luxury,” and I am still able to pay off the balance on my credit card each month.

Then there is “my wine industry is bigger than yours” U.S. big data battle—one in which Californians scoff “what are you Lilliputians fighting over? Your numbers are rounding errors in our data.”

Number of wineries: California 3,962; Washington 704; Oregon 632; New York 353; Virginia 260; Texas 222.

Annual production in cases: California 325,000,000; Washington 13,000,000; New York 12,000,000; Oregon 3,600,000; Texas 1,800,000.

New wineries open every day, existing wineries fold, production varies year to year, different states and countries measure production in different ways. Drives a data annalist to drink.

There is big data we can appreciate: more wines, more good wines, better prices, better availability than anytime in history. That’s big data to celebrate.

Tasting notes:

• Gallo Family Vineyards Pink Moscato NV: Bright, light-bodied, perky, sweet (but not cloying) with fresh citrus, red berry, orange, peach; people put off by serious wines love it; nice price, too. $4

• Becker Vineyard Iconoclast Merlot 2013: Simple, smooth, easy drinker; medium-light body; dry, reserved tannin and oak. $9

• Ecco Domani Prosecco 2013: Light, slightly fizzy, crisp, clean; range of palates will enjoy. $11

• Woop Woop Shiraz South Eastern Australia 2013: New World fruity, juicy, flirts with jammy; burgers & pizza value-for-price pour. $11

• Giesen Marlborough Pinot Gris 2014: Off-dry with balancing acidity; smooth, fresh, crisp, clean, fruit-sweetness lingers on finish that includes a hint of honey. $14

• Château Lilian Ladouys Saint-Estèphe 2010: Muscularly flaunts power of cab-driven pour with full, puckery tannin, rich blackberry, black currant, oak, smoke; wonderful; decant; not for newbies. $35

Last round: I only drink wine when I am alone or with someone.

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