Saturday, October 31, 2009

Down with the Terroir Snobs

Mike Steinberger is probably my favorite wine writer because his writing is just so totally accessible and entertaining. Case in point: his hilarious take-down of Jonathan Nossiter's new book Liquid Memory: Why Wine Matters.

Steinberger is no fan of Nossiter, and hasn't been for a while. While Steinberger probably enjoys many of the same wines as Nossiter, they couldn't be farther apart in their philosophy of wine appreciation. Steinberger is in the more modern "figure out what you like and go from there" camp, while Nossiter lambasts those who disagree with his particular taste (including industry heavies like Robert Parker and Michel Rolland).

On top of that, Steinberger criticizes Nossiter's writing as inaccessible, egotistical, and out of touch. And oh how he does that, pulling quotes so juicy you couldn't make them up if you tried. Like this passage:
Of Burgundies, Nossiter writes that they are "closer to the experience of poetry, particularly as practiced by the ancient Greeks and, say, the classical Chinese or, not coincidentally, by the modernist poets since the turn of the twentieth century who've sought inspiration in the staccato lyricism of the Greeks and in the mellifluous indecipherability of the Chinese." Now, there's a tasting note for the Everyman!

As pretentious and prone to intellectual posturing as I am, even I don't think I could handle a conversation with Nossiter.

Steinberger, on the other hand...I would love to sit down for a glass or two with that man.

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