Alexis Bespaloff and our Wine Lives

Once you realize you like wine, really like wine, you start to read about. What you are looking for in the books and magazines is clarity and confirmation of your excitement.

For people like myself, who started getting into wine in the 1980s, Alexis Bespaloff was one of the writers who delivered replaced my excited confusion with clarity and confirmed for me that there really was something very special about the juice.

Alex Bespaloff, one of the great American wine writers, died on Saturday. He was 72 years-old.

The Wine Enthusiast has a lovely obituary.

I met Mr. Bespaloff on two occasions, both business related. The first thing you do when you meet someone who has, in one way or another, brought clarity into your life is to thank them. I’m very happy I had the opportunity to tell him how much I enjoyed being educated by his books and writings. I told him as I had a chance to sit with him in a restaurant in San Francisco that his Signet Book of Wine was among the first books on wine that broadened my horizons.

While best known as a wine writer, Bespaloff was in fact one of America’s first well-known "wine experts", a person upon whom magazines, editors, the electronic media and the wine industry relied upon to make simple the complexities of wine. He was very very good at this.

If you ask around, if you ask the likes of Robert Parker, Marvin Shanken of the Wine Spectator, Jancis Robinson, or any American winemaker in their 40’s or older, they are more than likely going to tell you that Bespaloff was an important influence in their wine lives.

Every time I hear about the passing of someone like Mr. Bespaloff, someone who has influenced me positively, I am reminded that I really ought to let those who are still with us and who had a positive influence on me, know that I appreciate them.

I’m going to make some calls today..

One Response

  1. Martha G. Galphin - November 17, 2021

    Thank you!
    Back in the old days Alex meant a lot to me. At that time, he lived on E. 79th Street.
    As I look this morning for gift ideas for current friends, my mind wanders to those friends from the past whom I loved and appreciated. That is such a pleasure! Thank you for your thoughts on Alex expressed in the fermentation winelog way back in 2006! God bless you and Merry Christmas.

    Martha Galphin

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