A Great Find in Wine Blogging
It's entirely absurd that I spent the past 8 months blissfully unaware of Chris Kassel's blog, "Intoxicology Report".
It is by far the best new wine blog I've come across in many, many months.
Kassel is a long time wine writer and sommelier. He knows wine. But that's not the thing. The thing is just how well Chris writes and how entertaining his writing is in the blog format. Two recent examples:
In Defense of the Wine Snob
"So, put on your butyl gloves and hazmat protective lenses and let’s dissect; you can decide for yourself whether you are proud to be a pretentious wine snob currently, or would like to become such a know-it-all wanker and bask in the bevy of beautiful babes that a wine snob’s obnoxious air of preeminence inevitably reels in. Or alternately, if you would prefer to squander your remaining days as a Woodbridge-wallowing weenie…"
Constellation Brands: A Fallng Star? One Can But Hope
"Such juggernaut expansion is often viewed as a manifestation of the American Dream and mom ‘n’ pop better get with the program and sell up while the offer’s on the table. Having worked for billion dollar Fortune 500s, however, I’m maybe left with a bit of a bile on my tongue; give me a tiny, cash-flow-challenged boutique winery with nine fingers in the loamy clay and the tenth raised at rapacious raiders like Constellation whose primary purpose (I surmise) in a buyout offer would be to increase share value…"
I don't know if Kassel pulled punches when he was a sommelier or when he wrote about wine for the Detroit Free Press, but he sure doesn't do it now at Intoxicology Report. Chris is as equally capable of penning a compelling take down of that he finds offensive as he is marvelling with near ecstatic delight at something he finds worthy. He's a pretty thrilling find in a world of wine blogging that often trades on sameness.
I want to re-post what Chris has written on his "About Page" only because it will give you a sense (or perhaps not) of his unique approach to understanding the wine world and his place in it:
"Chris Kassel is a respected anti-journalist specializing in life, liberty and the pursuit of Happy Hour. Over twenty years, he has developed an international reputation for his
horrifically childish iconoclastic view of the wine industry. First introduced to wine at the workhouses of Northwest Detroit where he was raised, he went on to become a sommelier and to manage award-winning wine programs at orphanages, state mental hospitals and day-care centers throughout the Midwest."
It cracks me up…
Here's the thing…If you want strong opinion delivered up by a well-schooled and experienced wine mind, if you want really well written prose, if you want something you can dig into, then you really need to put Kassel's Intoxicology Report on your reading list.
The blog itself is pretty well organized (though his list of subjects is pretty darned long). The design of the blog is interesting too. And, importantly, Kassel seems to have himself on a pretty regular schedule of posting. My only quibble is that it would be nice if he were somewhat more generous with his links out. But believe me, in the context of what he's delivery up, that's a true quibble.
It's exciting to come across a new wine blog that delivers stellar talent and interesting content all wrapped in wonderful writing. I read lots of wine blogs regularly. Some are great. Some are good, many are average. Chris' Intoxicology Report is Great.