A World of Fine Wine Delivers
I've revisited "The World of Fine Wine" magazine of late and come away still believing that for the wine collector, the connoisseur, the Europhile, the wine investor or for those who crave forceful opinion about wine and the wine world couched in carefully rendered prose, this is perhaps the only publication you need.
Word of Fine Wine is decidedly not a consumer magazine in the vein of The Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast or Decanter magazine. Published quarterly, given over to unusually thick and sturdy paper stock, and with an editorial direction that appears to not put up with anything other than comprehensive coverage of the subject, WoFW is much more a "journal". It is also much more expensive: $150 a year for 4 issues.
Looking over Issue #27, published this year, it's clear that there remains a clear bias toward what I'll call an "old world" sensitivity; a preference for wines that reflect a well worn regional characteristic (regardless of their appeal) and the predictable bias against wines that follow the B-E-M (Big Extracted Monsters) model of winemaking associated with California and Robert Parker. In this issue alone none other than Gerald Asher, Michel Bettane, Francis Percival and even Michael Steinberger produce articles that present either laments for the good old days of terroir or explain how the terroiristas are surely taking back winemaking from the adherents of BEM winemaking.
I like the attitude. Of course, I'd probably enjoy an Asher-written lament on the joylessness that has infected the production of toilet paper…he's that good.
The fact is, Editor Neil Becket never fails to round up an extraordinary crew of writers for the quarterly
issues of World of Fine Wine. The line-up of writers, while somewhat overwhelmed by Brits, is always impressive. Issue 27 alone delivers up Jasper Morris—MW, Stephen Brook, Rod Phillips, Mike Steinberger, Hugh Johnson, Andrew Jeffords, Tom Stevenson, David Schildknecht, Gerald Asher, and Michel Bettane, and more—all between two very heavy stock covers.
More than anything else, what distinguishes issues of World of Fine Wine is a seriousness that is a step above that delivered by more mainstream wine publications. This quality is almost academic in nature. It's that level of commitment to the subject that is two steps above "enthusiast" and and once step above "geeky". World of Fine Wine seems to exist in a self-made clubby world of devoted oenophiles where the commitment to understanding fully and fully appreciating the character of 40 year old Champagne and the stewed woodcock with which it is best paired ranks in importance with the critical functioning of the fine wine market and how wine investments may work as a conservative hedge against the fluctuating Euro.
I love it.
I can't recommend "World of Fine Wine" enough.