Wine Lovers Soon Can Read About Wine Again
After 25 years or reading the wine media fairly closely I can honestly say I still enjoy reading it closely. In large part this is because the drink and the culture that surrounds it still fascinates me, but also because I’ve learned how to be discerning about which writers I read for pleasure.
However, I really do feel burdened reading about wine at this particular time of year. In November and December it seems a vast majority of wine writing focuses on how to drink while celebrating the holidays.
I pity the writers whose editors insist on these articles. It so often appears the writers is really explaining to readers how not to look stupid, or at least how to not feel stupid putting wine on a table with a turkey or a roast.
It’s this time of year I realize I probably could would not be a good mainstream wine writer. The problem is that I simply don’t possess the kind of empathy and imagination it takes to conjure up an image of the person who frets over what wine to serve with a turkey or roast. And it certainly is empathy and imagination that is necessary to put yourself in the shoes of someone who frets about wine. More accurately, it’s a matter of fretting about looking stupid putting the “wrong” wine on the table next to the roast or turkey.
For 25 years I’ve been listening to wine pundits and cultural mavens explain that wine is too complicated, that too many experts are too fussy about wine or too snooty. But really how hard is it to choose three different flavors of wine, put them on the table with the roast or turkey and be done with it? How hard is it really to tell the person that mocks your choice of wine to fuck off? Is it really so hard to do these things that multiple columns in magazine after magazine must write the same story: “Putting the right Wine On Your Holiday Table” (Or, “Here, Read This And You Won’t Look Stupid—Plus You Can Tell Them I Told You To Serve This—and I’m an Expert”)
Why is it that at this time of the year, when all the Oscar-worth films are released, I’m not inundated with stories in magazines and newspapers about “How to Analyze the Subtext of Post-Modern Disaster Films” or “Five Insightful Things To Say About Meryl Streep’s Current String of Cameo Roles”?
Everything has its more complex angles. You don’t need to know the details of Bordeaux terroir or Concrete Egg fermentation regimes in order to put tasty Chardonnay, Alsace Pinot Gris or Napa Cabernet on your table any more than you need to know about early 21st century lens technology or liberty taking protocol in popular historical drama in order to discuss your opinion of a film about the financial crisis of 2008.
So, for two months out of the year I turn pretty quickly past nearly any wine column in a popular newspaper column or magazine. I wait for the holidays to pass so I can get back to more interesting wine reading. The good news is that in a few days New Year’s Eve will soon be over and I’ll not have to read about alternatives to Champagne.
For this I am grateful.