Bright lights: Krug, Latour, Lafite, Montrose. Big cities: Montalcino, Hampstead, Reims, Geyserville. Welcome to Bacchus & Me: Adventures in the Wine Cellar
, bestselling novelist Jay McInerney's mixed four-case lot of wine essays culled primarily from his output of "Uncorked" pieces written for House & Garden
magazine. Reflecting the author's wit and opinion, it's tasty and stylish stuff. And nestled between glossy pages of photos depicting, say, a 396-square-foot TriBeCa loft decorated with a pair of Eames chairs purchased at a Brooklyn swap meet for $45, McInerney's blend of self-deprecation (his "eyebrows raised and jaw dropped" when H&G
editors broached his name as wine columnist) and irreverence (on straw-covered Chianti bottles: the "bong component of choice in dorm rooms around the world") is refreshing juice. Unfortunately, as a compilation, it serves more to unmask a Eurocentric name-dropper: the bon-mot-coining D2 dilettante on an expense account who got the gig because he knew the editor. It's distressing, because there's so much to like here: "A Ticket to the Veneto" is a sparkling meld of ego and yeast; questioning whether or not to cellar wine, he concludes, "What could be more all-American than instant gratification?"; and his dead-on description of a Port hangover is quintessential McInerney. But numerous repetitions, imperceptible when published monthly, irritate when separated not by 30 days but 30 pages: Sauvignon Blanc's aroma of "pipi du chat" is funny the first time you read it, less so two essays later; likewise you won't find a single California piece that doesn't contain the words "dude" or "Helen Turley." And while it's admirable to break the mould of stuffy wine writing, McInerney's a bit long in the tastevin
to adopt a "Wine Brat" posture comparing, for example, Martinelli Jackass Hill Zin more to "Free Bird" than "Jumpin' Jack Flash," or describing his first sip of Mouton "like hearing Nirvana on Saturday Night Live
." Blame it on the editor, or maybe it just depends on how you devour Bacchus & Me
. Sipped slowly, McInerney's words taste of the passionate amateur oenophile and skilled raconteur. Gulp 'em down and the finish is of the bestselling bon vivant with a blank check. --Tony Mason
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Brilliant, witty, comical, and often shamelessly candid and provocative thoughts about the world of wine and many of the people who produce it.” –Robert M. Parker, Jr.
“McInerney has become the best wine writer in America.” –Salon.com
“McInerney’s wine judgments are sound, his anecdotes witty and his literary references impeccable. Not many wine books are good reads; this one is.” –The New York Times
“In the fruity, buttery world of wine writing, there’s nothing else like it.” –Atlanta Journal