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Bacchus and Me: Adventures in the Wine Cellar Paperback – March 12, 2002
The Amazon Book Review
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“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
Top Customer Reviews
For a good overview of just about every major grape and region, this book may be more helpful to a beginner than a more detailed Parker book which might give more than you need to know. I appreciate McInenery's taste for good wine and his lighthearted columns on his experiences. Every once in a while I'd have a jealousy attack (not all of us can quaff a Petrus or Yquem on a weekly basis), but at least I can afford to read about it. This is a great introduction to wine tasting with none of the technical stuff that should get in the way. I'll conclude with another one of my favorites "rants," this one on Robert Parker, "The self-proclaimed American Wine Advocate, who at the start of his career couldn't even speak the language, was recently awarded the Legion d'Honneur for telling the Frogs that a lot of their venerable Bordeaux and Burgundy isn't as great as it should be and some of it positively sucks." Nice to keep a sense of humor while discussing these wine topics.
Ostensibly, this is a book about wines -- one of my passions -- and for the first few dozen pages it appears to be just that. There are some interesting and unusual observations about wine on the pages of Bacchus & Me, and Mr. McInerney deserves credit (hence the three stars) for breaking many of the crusty and useless conventions that limit most wine literature.
But the more one reads the book, the more one realizes that the chapters are less about wine than about Mr. McInerney himself. He reveals himself as a shameless name dropper, and someone most interested in repeating a half dozen humorous and entertaining observations in a variety of contexts while boasting about his fat expense account and privileged access to bottles of wine that most of us will never even see.
The problem is not that these lines are uninteresting or irrelevant -- as an occasional aside they would add to the intriguing take on one of the world's most written-about subjects. But in the frequency in which they appear here they can leave a throbbing in the head like an old bottle of jug wine does, when what we really wanted was one of those fine bottles of Bordeaux Mr. McInerney seems to be in love with.
First off, the repetition is ridiculous. Helen Turley, "the wine goddess," should pay or possibly sue McInerney for mentioning her every third paragraph, and even some jokes get recycled. More frustrating is the lack of context: as this book is squarely pitched to the uneducated wine enthusiast, a little contextualizing would go a long way to making the columns actually useful(as would the occasional sop to those of us not regularly spending over $100 a bottle). And eventually we tire of hearing about the fabulous literary/oenophile dinner parties to which Jay is constantly invited.
All that said, the columns are funny and opinionated, and give a nice overview of a wide range of grapes and manufacturers. I'm sure reading one a month would be perfectly satisfying. It's just a shame the publisher was so lazy in assembling this package.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I must confess that I picked this book up only because I recognized the author’s name and knew that I was long overdue to read something of Jay McInerney’s. Read morePublished 21 months ago by R. Russell Bittner
Reading over fellow Amazon book critics, the observation came up that Jay McInerney is far too involved in this book for his own good. I suggest readers take it for what it is. Read morePublished on July 13, 2009 by Flippy
excellent treatment of many topics in wine.
If only one could have joined Jay in his wine adventures!
I read "A hedonist in the cellar" first and the reading was so enjoyable that I was looking forward to this one. It turned out that "Bacchus & Me" is not as good... Read morePublished on August 20, 2008 by Clemence
I personally have not read the book, I gave it to my father for Christmas because he owns a liquor store. Read morePublished on August 10, 2008 by B. Martinez
I'll admit it I bought this collection of wine essays because I liked the title. Also, because there was a blurb in the dust jacket about French and German wine. Read morePublished on December 8, 2003 by britneyxyz
This book is the most fun I've experienced, doing something that sounds instinctively wrong... reading about wine! Read morePublished on April 9, 2003 by W. John Switzer