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Unreserved Wine Talk

237 EpisodesProduced by Natalie MacLeanWebsite

The Unreserved Wine Talk podcast features candid conversations with the most fascinating people in the wine world. Your host, award-winning journalist Natalie MacLean, dives into how it feels to compete in the nerve-wracking World's Best Sommelier Competition, the shadowy underground of wine forgery… read more


125: 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 at


  • 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.


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.

  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!



To learn more about the resources mentioned in this episode, visit

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