This came up in the morning anxiety because I was thinking, Alice you're an idiot. Why are you traveling soon again? Is it because I am that dog on the bone mission? But instead, it is me, looking for the story.
Would you care to read about unknown Beaujolais? The people to matter and how they work? My inside scoop the most natural of the Burgundy producers? What about a piece on Burgundy Monopoles? Parsing the secret of Clos de la Maréchale? Or an in depth visit with Lafarge. What about Ott and his anfora gruner or recipes from Nikolaihoff or a trip with Jutta in the vineyards and the renaissance of the Wien wines? How come there's room for these stories in let's say, Rouge et Blanc for the French but not in any publication for Americans?
We've gone retrograde. I suspect the 100+ system is to blame, yet again. The ease of buying wine by the numbers certainly didn't hurt hasten the demise of the art of wine writing the same way that eight years of Bush hastened the demise of literacy, and certainly heightened the distrust of intellect.
Has wine journalism become a victim of reductionism in search of a soundbyte, just shut up and tell me what to drink? Give me a score and send me to the store.
Now, food gets its due. Zagat hasn't reduced culinary literacy to a score, but wine? Not so. For some reason wine, that glorious one where culture meets agriculture meets humanity meets soul, is disrespected. How can it be otherwise if talking about bottles have been so reduced to 88.
So this morning, on the way to the tax man, I was wondering, will resurrection be ours? Will the love of the story and the reason for wine revive? The genre thrives in England, certainly in France, but in America?
In the past even when we were exclusively a beer and booze nation, there were actually real columns of real worth, not just celebrity-driven copy of today. Hell, even New York Magazine had solid wine writing. Gerald Asher had his legendary column for Gourmet. Jay M's columns for House & Garden were always a pleasure.
I do understand why good wine journalism isn't being championed by culinary magazines, (except for the occasional story, like Saveur's fabulous American Wine issue) which is why the others, what's left of them, should step up. Why doesn't the New Yorker, Atlantic or Harper's, magazines devoted to culture and literacy help out? Hell, what about The Paris Review or Tin House. Even a 500 word spot would help, though add another 1000, and so much the better. Wine is worth reading about, wine literature is worth saving.
And so, I thank goodness for Jon Bonne, Mike Steinberger and Eric Asimov and San Fran Chron., Slate and the Times, the publications that house them and give serious ink to wine. (with nods and applause to Bloomberg and the WSJ for keeping their columns.)These folk do their homework and back it up with solid journalistic skill.
It was with these thoughts I set to compiling a short list of wines I like to be included in the back of Naked Wine, when I stopped by to Steinberger's blog on the quirky and troublesome issue of wine journalism ethics and realized the synchronicity of it all.