Friday, April 01, 2005

What to write about...

Tom's recent post regarding "wines to drink....not write about" got me thinking. Is there really no market for entry-level wine consumer writing? It seems that if all of the writing is about the so-called "intellectual" and "artistic" components of wine, aren't we just reinforcing wine's insular behavior?

By that, I mean that the most frequent reason that people don't get into wine is that they find it intimidating, full of obscure terms phrases that require a
dictionary to understand. Is there no need for writing at multiple levels? For example, I really like the San Francisco Chronicle's weekly wine section because it has articles for the wine geek as well as introductory articles for those with less exposure to wine and its terminology (note their recent article on Sauvignon Blanc descriptors). Also see this article from the Washington Post and this one from the Detroit News.

Honestly, this kind of approach is much of the reason why I started this blog. I want people to realize (among other things) that:

1) pink/sweet wines are wines too
2) any wine you like is a good wine, and
3) just because the wine world is full of pretentious assholes doesn't mean that you can't find a place for your own enjoyment of the beverage.


Blogger Andrew said...

I think you are right - there is more than enough room for the snob end (it is here I place Mr Broadbent I am afraid), the mid-level to those who know a little but want to know more (where I guess my writings are aimed) and the entry level. the latter is very important - to introduce the 'novice but interested' into the whole shebang

April 01, 2005 10:34 AM  
Blogger Tom said...


I fear I might seem to fall into the "Pretentious A**hole" category. Though, if you saw my choice of wines you might downgrade me to just "A**hole status.

You do have a point. There is of course room for "entry level" or educational articles and stories. In fact, the vast majority of what is written falls into this category. And you are right, again, that the SF Chronicle is doing it well.

What I'm calling for is a more inspirational, more probing, more deeply thought out element of the wine writing genre. Let's call a spade a spade, wine lovers and wine writing CAN be pretentious because both are reacting to a very unique and inspirational product, something so deeply rooted in cultures, so loved, so broadly refective of societies and histories that once you start to consider the drink in any depth you are obliged to dig deep.


April 01, 2005 11:16 AM  
Blogger Chloe said...

Huge - While I can't agree that pink wine is of the same caliber as any other wine (though I do feel differently about pink champagne), I respect what you are doing for wine. I sit here, partaking of a $7.99 bottle of shiraz, and enjoying every taste. I don't believe that only high-brow wines deserve discussion, but rather that every wine can be discussed in such a fashion.

Bon buvant!

April 02, 2005 6:33 PM  
Blogger Huge said...

Andrew and Chloe:

Thanks for the comments.


I didn't mean to imply that you were an a**hole, pretentious or otherwise. That comment was not aimed at you.


April 04, 2005 9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I get the impression there's a new species out there, a kind of anti-snob snob. I can enjoy simple wine too but what's to write about? It's fruity, it's good, end of story. A lot is written about baseball, not as much about hackey-sack. I wonder why?

I hate to break it to Huge, who seems to despise everything about wine except fruit, but maybe he's missing something. Why assume that people are so easily intimidated? There's plenty of Yellow Tail out there to console people who feel that way.

Many enjoy curious flavour combinations and view the strange names on wine labels as offering an opportunity for discovery.

April 12, 2005 9:11 AM  
Anonymous john said...

Anonmymous says, Sorry I forgot to include my name. John

April 12, 2005 9:58 AM  
Blogger Huge said...

John, thanks for posting. For the record, I don't drink YT. Too much a 'concocted', laboratory wine for me and too simple as well. Although I don't like heavy handed oak, I do like what judicious use can bring (toast, vanilla, depth, etc.). I love big complex wines that have a long, hearty finish. How's that for a generic synopsis?

What I don't like is the arrogance and elitism that many so-called experts bring when they decry certain wines. Why bother? While I don't eat at McDonald's, I don't feel superior to people who do. For those of you who need to build themselves up by bringing others down, feel free to do so. I will continue to mock you when you do.


April 12, 2005 1:21 PM  
Anonymous john said...

Your love of wine shows through, Huge. I'm just worried about a counter-elite forming out there. An equally exclusive club that rejects every notion that's not firmly grounded in tried and true verifiable sense.

And while I respect the right of anyone to eat at McDonald's, I just don't think it's worth reading about from a culinary point of view.

April 12, 2005 2:23 PM  
Blogger Huge said...

Why are you worried about a counter-elite? What threat would that pose to the 1st growths or the Napa Bourgeois? or to your own appreciation and enjoyment of wine? The converse is what I'm concerned with....

Further, there is nothing exclusive about such a group, that's the very point! Wine appreciation should not be exclusive whether you drink wine that's $3.50 per bottle or $350 per bottle.

And I'm really confused as to what you mean by "rejects every notion that's not firmly grounded in tried and true verifiable sense." Is there a particular position that I espouse that isn't grounded in reality? Would you prefer I talk about the proper Riedel stemware for the varietal, or support the AOC as the pinnacle of wine regionalization?


April 12, 2005 3:26 PM  
Anonymous john said...

Aw Huge, I'm just defending the right of a wine drinker to come unhinged every once in a while, and at the risk of sounding pretentious, attempt to express the inexpressable.

I take your point about the established nobility. Those demi-gods I will only read about in books. But there's a mob out there clamouring for an end to every tradition. I don't trust them either. Before you know it they and their marketing masters will be ripping out old vines and planting shiraz everywhere.

Cheers, Huge, great blog, funny name.

April 14, 2005 5:33 AM  
Blogger Huge said...


All right, points taken, truce made....I agree that we don't need to go to the LOWEST common denominator ;)


April 14, 2005 9:15 PM  

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