This article could also be titled: Who will Bind My Wine Columns for ME?
I’ve probably got about four or five folders of columns saved on my computer. One for reviews, another of interviews, Chef 101 stories, and the basic bashing fun of others. Then Borders shut down, e-books became free, and what did I do? Kept writing.
So that’s why this book, circa 2006, from a real published author, Jay McInerney of Bright Lights, Big City fame, Just. Kills. Me.
It’s like he stole my idea and added talent, knowledge and money!
I figured out it was a collection of columns based on two things, he says the word “column” in several and hover at about 3 pages in length. The short missives, making it very easy to read between parasailing and snorkeling during my recent Jamaica trip, was right up my wine-alley.
It was also quite fun to read! Even for your own, Miss-Know-A-Little.
The book is broken down into eight chapters, devoted to his favorite wines, winemakers, sommelier stories, pairings, ending with what we should end with after a night of wine tasting: “Bubbles and Spirits.”
But, instead of writing the same old drivel about Napa Valley being the crown achievement of California winemaking – duh – he takes us to places not as familiar.
For example, in the last chapter McInerney doesn’t spend much more on Champagne than he does on Armagnac, Chartreuse and Absinthe.
Other examples are his columns on Tocai Friulano, Soave, Amarone, Bandol, Sagrantino di Montefalco, Cheval-Blanc and Kosher wines. As a true wine 101er, not all of these are familiar to me, or, I expect, most of my readers. It’s easy reading and the learning… just makes you want to taste something new.
Three things get me every time:
Only liking white wines.
Only liking red wines.
Drinking what I’m drinking.
One and two are obvious, keeping McInerney’s columns in mind, how could you possibly know that you only like one kind of wine if you haven’t tried others? Like the crispness of a Sauvignon Blanc then try the bright cherry in a Pinot Noir. Like the fruit in a rosé then try the young nouveau Beaujolais. And, drinking what I’m drinking because you figure I know what’s good? Great in point, but I tend to side with McInerney and give as many wines as I can their due. That’s how I roll. So, you may want to think about what might really be in my glass and put some more thought into what you want in yours.
Back to McInerney
I dog-eared several pages (Yes, that term actually means something. I turned the tip of a page down as I didn’t have enough book markers and I owned the book) that I liked in particular. Here are some drops of McInerney wisdom:
Writer Auberon Waugh segued from his own work and also wrote a wine column for Tatler. His columns are collected in a book called Waugh on Wine and is known, as McInerney put it, to produce “the liveliest and most pungent wine writing of the century.” He got into trouble using the word “anal” and commonly said wines were “filthy” or “disgusting.”
Another pal McInerney quotes is Kermit Lynch, a wine store owner in California that doesn’t carry California wines. Lynch, per McInerney, said “Why is it that most men don’t like fat women but they think they like fat wines?”
His column on monks making Chartreuse was a real history lesson for this vinophile. If you don’t know where Chartreuse came from, or even what it is, read McInerney’s take on it.
McInerney’s column, “The Mountain Men” The Smith Brothers of Smith-Madrone, takes him on a journey after he discovers a surprise 97 Riesling, made by the brothers, inspired him learn just how an American Riesling from Napa Valley “could taste this complex.”
McInerney thinks out of the box, I only wish I could climb in there with him.