food & drink

Old bloggers never die

Most of the blogs on the web are in English, and when anyone searches for 'the best wine blogs', for example, thousands of pages are laid bare. But who writes these blogs? After all, it is an unpaid occupation and in many cases the blogger in question is offering the benefit of a lifetime's experience of some aspect of the fascinating world of wine. There are of course 'professional' blogs, like that of José Peñin, Spain's No 1 wine reviewer, but of course this free offering is a sprat to catch a mackerel and is intended to make you buy his books and wine guides.

How far bloggers actually exert any influence on their chosen world depends of course on the number of followers they have. The attraction of blogging is the opportunity of having a free ride as far as expressing any sort of opinion is concerned, and while it is tempting to float the idea that controversy attracts readers, it is actually the blogger's depth of knowledge on their subject that clinches the deal. The most famous bloggers are definitely not household names, for example, Huda Kattan (24 million followers) and Cameron Dallas (20 million). The absolute key to blogging success is to be totally frank and sincere. Many bloggers, particularly in the world of gastronomy, are unable to offer impartial reviews because they have eaten free at the restaurant or received wine samples from a bodega.

A blogger who can never be accused of partisanship is Paula McLean, whose blog focuses on sherry and other wines from Andalucía. Paula, who is Scottish by birth and a Mijas resident, was brought up in Cadiz and is acknowledged as a leading expert on sherry. She refreshes her blog daily by reviewing at least one wine (paid for by her). Recently Paula had a mild stroke, which, although not impairing her writing skills, may reduce her tasting programme. As she just wrote, 'There is no doubt that my condition was brought on by excessive wine consumption, so from now on I intend to drink less quantity and more quality'.