Monday, August 29, 2016

Jay McInerney - Novelist & Wine Critic

RE-PRINT - Views on the Village, 2012

Most people who have heard of Jay McInerney know him as a literary author, most famous for his classic 1980s novel Bright Lights, Big City.  However, these days he has as much of a reputation - maybe more so - as a wine critic who writes a regular column for the Wall Street Journal.  McInerney always had the voice of a magazine writer, albeit a literary one, and his columns on wine read like engaging stories, using the narrative of experience to open the world of wine to the novice and afficiannado alike.  Since developing a column for House and Garden - and then moving on to the WSJ - McInerney has published several works of non-fiction focusing on the wonders of the fermented grape.  I enjoyed Jay's fiction, and I'm developing a newfound enjoyment of his taste in vino.

In his most recent piece for the WSJ, McInerney spends some time with Steven Tanzer whose popular wine newsletter - International Wine Cellar - has been published since 1985.  Tanzer's newsletter has taken on additional prominence recently after the news that iconic wine writer Robert Parker sold a controlling interest in his newsletter the Wine Advocate.  Apparently, there seems to be some question to the credibility of Parker's information if it's not coming directly from his palate, or is potentially influenced by investors.  And, there is also a difference in the personalities and reputations of these men.  According to McInerney, Tanzer is a wine expert who favors "finesse over power" or more aptly, a pinot over a cabernet.  Favoring the cold climate delicate pinots is definitely my taste in wine, though I can enjoy a nice meaty cab on occasion.

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