Included in astute Episode Cuozzo commentary were Eric Asimov, Jon Bonné and Talia Baiocchi--who I believe broke the story. Analysis of this train wreck was so spot on I didn't think I could possibly have another thing to add. Really, I should be telling you about the sad time the vines are having in Burgundy or about the wonderful wines of Jean -Yves Bizot--but I after going in search of gas in Beaune, cursing the provincial idea that the gas station at LeClerc only accepts European credit cards I realized I'm not finished with the subjet.
To begin with: most restaurant critics know little more than red, white and pink about wine. They mostly avoid mention, usually a wise move because when they do opine, they can step into a smelly pile of it. And a pile is exactly what The Post's Cuozzo squished into with his inept spanking of Lee Campbell's list over at Reynard's.
Wine choice can well fall in neatly along the lines of politics. Mostly, how one chooses wine has a lot to do with personality. Do you stay in your comfort zone or not? Are you adventurous or not? Will you eat local food? Are you curious?
Anyone who has ever ventured out into a foreign country without enough facility in a language can attest to the unwarranted terror of being seen as stupid. Some get their courage up and start to speak, showing off lousy accents others buy what they need through their concierge. Perhaps they eat at McDonald's, look for the comfort of The Gap or Starbucks, even in Paris. Perhaps theytravel only on tours. Many tourists go out of their way to stay familiar so they aren't confronted with their lack of sophistication, experience or knowledge.
In this way, in Cuozzo's article on Reynard's Cuozzo focused on the need for wine to be familiar, he never said good. But familiar. Recognizable. And that is the issue.
Mr. Cuozzo looked at a list, put together by a talented sommelier who could have guided him to pleasure, yet he was pissed she spoke another language. She had the skills to communicate to him, he wasn't going to tolerate her accent.
We must not forget the man writes for a tabloid-esque newspaper. It's The Post for Godsake's. I had a harder time when the New Yorker didn't get its sherry right. I mean, they're supposed to know, or at least know when they don't know. The Post, afterall, is most famous for Page 6, not its news. We are afterall, a tribal bunch. Sometimes humans are xenophobic. This gets demonstrated historically through serious issues like immigration to tamer ones such as Picasso couldn't paint. The Guggenheim was the toilet on 5th Avenue. Cuozzo felt stupid.
I have no idea if Cuozzo knows about food ot not but I would bet good money he has very little knowledge about wine, except that he likes big reds from obvious, pronouncable locales. But one thing he has spot on, knowledge of his audience and plays to their Archie Bunker stereotype (whether or not the stereotype is true.). He plays it safel, making sure he doesn't encourage them to go to the tabac, on an errand, in, God forbid, a foreign language.
(but really, the LeClerc in Beaune SHOULD accept global credit cards. I mean, I don't need them to write it in English, they don't even need to take my Amex, just take my damned credit blue.)