Wine, Food & An Intelligent Slice of Vice

Darryl Roberts has been threatening it for quite some time and now it’s here.

Wine X Magazine’s new website is up and running and it looks great. But it reads better.

Darryl Robert’s Wine X Magazine changed the way people viewed wine simply by offering a new vocabulary for describing  it. In the beginning the magazine was panned by a number of people in the business, including writers and winery-types. It got to the point where you could break down the American wine trade into two camps: those that "Got" Wine X, and those that despised it. I think it was just too different for many to wrap their arms around.

But the combination of irreverence, fun, good education and a touch of attitude kept a base of loyal readers following the exploits of of the magazine.

The new website is stuffed with articles from current and past issues of the magazine, reviews of wines using the memorable XXX system of rating, and of course there is the Jelly Bean bar for those who want instruction on how to experience zinfandel on the cheap.

If you are unfamiliar with the…unique…way in which Darryl and his crew describe wines you really do need a taste:

Lawn seats at a Jefferson Airplane reunion concert-some grass, some acid, some flowers…XXX

2003 Summerwood "Diosa Blanc" Rousanne-Viognier
Pogo Stick Night at Hooters-Do we really need to explain this? XX

2003 Napa Ridge Pinot Noir
Gettin some at the discount ho house-simple, spicy and economically satisfying   X

Indeed, this is not your father’s wine magazine. But is sure is fun. And you’ll likely learn a lot.

4 Responses

  1. mark - April 25, 2006

    Hi Tom-
    Great post. I too have been bitten by the Wine X bug. For a while, I considered pitching to them. As a writer, it would be a cool magazine to write for. But you know–I’ve never been able to make a piece of mine fit their eternally hip style–and if I mention that I’m a sommelier on anything they pitch–they immediately throw it out! I love that they do that. And it’s probably why I read them even more.
    In essence, Darryl has created a hip, hyped magazine–that refuses to be hip-and hype wine. Pretty inventive.

  2. Fredric Koeppel - April 26, 2006

    I disagree. “Hip” being necessarily indefinable, anybody or anything that has to try so hard and so self-consciously to be hip just ain’t. When it first came out, I gave the mag to my daughter, who was in her mid-20s and already knew a lot about wine; her comment? “Duh.” Do I really have to explain that?

  3. tom - April 26, 2006

    Hi Fred…
    Yep, this has been the rap that Wine X has gotten from a lot of people. And yes, the magazine is self consciously “hip”. However, it has seemed to resonate with a number of folk, leading me to believe that there are in fact different strokes for different folks.

  4. Jeff Lefevere - April 26, 2006

    Phew … I’m glad that they had the desire to redesign that circa 1997 site. With the wine demographics lining up as they are, Darryl should be sitting at the sweet spot, but even as recently as the last issue (which they have a hard time publishing in a timely fashion and delivering to subscribers without them asking for it) he had a ranting screed about lack of support from the industry. My advice to him (and in fact, I have a scribble in my “wine blog idea” notebook about 10 things they could improve) would be to hire a quality contract ad sales crew. Something isn’t happening correctly if he can’t find the financial support to publish the mag. and its probably more complex then just a blanket “lack of support.” Though, I wish them well, they have everything lined up to be the voice of a new generation of wine customers.

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