I am French so oenology is obviously a big thing here.
I then read from time to time that it is, generally speaking, a scam - "scam" being defined in various ways:
- that the influence of the context (place, bottle, atmosphere) is preponderant and that the actual wine does not make much of a difference
- that oenologists fail to differentiate wines and that the whole exercise lacks scientific methods and critical approach
In other words, it is presented in a similar way to homeopathy.
The concept of "good wine" seems to be very individual (I like wines which would be an abomination to others) and classification highly subjective (for lack of quantifiable reference) so I was wondering to what extend oenology is something more than a circle of reciprocal adoration and more like a quantifiable exercise.
EDIT: I am not asking whether the concept exists (it does) or whether it is studied (it is). This does not make it a scientific (reproducible, measurable) activity where people objectively decide whether a wine is good or not.
To take an analogy - painting is a completely subjective area. It is studied and people learn how to draw. This allows them to move from a stick figure to a realistic portrait. It does not mean that there is an objective classification of good and bad art, this is purely a biased decision of an individual or a group group with their own preferences.
Oenology is seen as a "science", that is a place where you can objectively decide about the quality of a wine, by tasting it. The competition is not done with a chromatograph but with someone who takes a sip, looks at the wine and says "this one is better than this other one".