Tuesday, October 26, 2010
I'm Quitting You
Dear Food & Wine Magazine,
Truth is I have been bitching and moaning about this particular publication for a couple of years now, I think it was about the time I got one of their yearend issues and over half of it was advertisements or even worse, the “special advertisements” which is basically an add that pretends not to be. Fucking annoying as hell. I will say that I do find the recipes in Food & Wine some of the easiest to execute and for that reason alone I’ve not figured out how to get my goddamn American Express to quit renewing my subscription but I think after this latest craptastic issue I am going to have to call it quits.
The wine articles in this glossy rag that proudly boasts wine as half its name are simply dreadful, always have been. They used to just be boring and redundant…I mean whole articles dedicated to steakhouse wine lists…lemme guess, big reds? What the hot new sommeliers are favoring in place of Gruner these days and endless articles about what wines to bring to all those swanky dinner parties or (a personal favorite) perfume and wine, as in “this Barolo reminds me of Channel” or whatever. Trite and never all that informative, that was the way I saw most of the wine articles in Food & Wine, (all one or two in each issue), before but the utter pile of crap that landed in my mailbox this month had me not only saying aloud, “Oh shut up” but slapping the slippery pages of stupid down on the smashed beige carpet of my living room floor.
Anyone that reads much about wine these days is hearing an awful lot about Syrah. Now if you are a light reader or skimmer you might believe that Syrah is the hottest thing going right now….the flavor of the month if you will but for those of us in the industry…or uber wine freaks we all know that the current cheerleading about Syrah is a industry wide push to put some energy behind a group of wines that just aint selling. There is some serious mouth to mouth going on and I will spare you rehashing of why these wines aren’t moving. Steve Heimoff, Eric Asimov, Charlie Olken and many others have already had the conversation and they are far better, not to mention way more important voices than mine…that and an opinion about why, changes absolutely nothing about the situation. Dead. The sales for Syrah are dead or dying and marketing gurus, winery reps and the press are doing all they can to resuscitate. I’m not against that per se but when a leading food and wine publication tells the unsuspecting public that they should drink Syrah with their Thanksgiving meal?! Well that’s going too far in my book and in the end it is just robbing from Peter to pay Paul. You really think offering a shitty pairing will inspire people to drink and crave Syrah? You truly expect people to wash down turkey, gravy, sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce with Smoking Loon Syrah? Might these folks that came to you for pairing advice take a sip of that wine…with that food and come to the conclusion that either they don’t get it or worse, they simply don’t like wine? Yeah, that should fix things…jackholes.
Okay so I’m willing to admit that not everyone gets as hung up about pairings as I do, I get that and might even be willing to say that’s fine, (begrudgingly) might be able to overlook this dreadful combination they are pushing but…holy mother of all stupidity, the writing in this hunk of advertisements is bloody awful. Jesus, I avoid most wine blogs because I can’t choke through the clunky, sophomoric, snooze inducing, makes-me-want-as-much-as-a-eunuch-does sludge and now this publication…that I pay for goddamn it, is making me feel like an asshole just for having it come to my home in my name. As a wine professional I’m horrified that this is what we as a group are tossing about. Really insulting and honestly shit like this here does more to hurt our business than grow it.
Okay I am gonna try and ignore the little drawing of the “writer” that penned this hunk of garbage, the one with a megaphone drawn by his face that says, (no lie) “Rah rah Syrah”…sigh. I will instead stick to the profoundly stupid and slightly ironic might I add, premise of this steaming piece on Why You Should Drink Syrah on Thanksgiving…
1- People Who Buy Syrah Are Independent & Smart
I shit you not, that was number one on the list! What the hell? What are you even talking about? Can we flip that fucking megaphone over and make you wear it as a dunce cap? You are advising people on what to drink and the number one reason you give them to drink the wrong wine with their meal is because they are “independent and smart”?! You sir are an ass.
2- Cool Climate Syrahs Are Exceptionally Food Friendly
Have no problem with this…well other than this, “High end sommeliers tend to put down American Syrah in particular, dismissing it as bulky, ponderous, alcoholic and sweet. But cooler climate regions in California and Washington make streamlined, evocative, spicy, aromatic, food friendly Syrahs.” Um, what are the WalMart sommeliers saying? Just wondering if the low end guys know a little something about…the northern freaking Rhone, you know the place this “rah rah” grape comes from. Are the 7-11 sommeliers offering a reason as to why one might pair Syrah with Thanksgiving…because so far you haven’t…just sayin’
3- Syrah Is One Of The Safest Bets Around
This is where this idiot goes on to say that finding a Pinot Noir under $20.00 is like finding a “diamond in your gravel driveway” and finding a delicious under $20.00 Syrah is like finding diamonds in a diamond mine. Okay not only are you “deficient” you are a liar AND um, dude….are Pinot and Syrah the only two varieties we have? What the hell happened to; Zinfandel, Gamay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Barbera, Dolcetto…oh and God forbid we talk about white wine….so for beginners and chicks that. Blow me.
That’s it. I wish I could tell you there was something more. Some insight as to why this article was written and someone felt it was fit for print but there you have it. You should drink Syrah with your laboriously cared for meal because…it makes you smart or independent or Pinot is expensive. I swear I just lost brain cells reading this hunk of crap and as I wine professional, a wine lover and someone that aches to have everyone have that little light go off…have their switch flipped, I just have to say….I’m sorry. I’m sorry this was what Food & Wine thought of you and I for one am yanking my pennies from their pocket for their flippant disregard for teaching people anything about wine.
I am calling in the morning and ending my ten year subscription to Food & Wine magazine and the only regret I have is that I didn’t do it sooner. I would like to thank whoever let this particular article fly…you kicked me in my waffling ass. I’m tired of rolling my eyes and cringing at what is basically a finger to the average consumer and as a result…our industry. Bullshit is bullshit and no matter how trained the palate this was a hunk of marketing garbage that wont salvage Syrah, in fact you may have just hammered another nail in the coffin. Write an article on how sexy and alluring these wines can be and I would freaking write you a love letter but peddling lies and bad pairings is just insulting and disingenuous. I’m out….