I have received WS for the past 20 years. Everytime the subscription comes
up for renewal I tell my wife "No, I don't really read it." She doesn't read
it, but notices I do. I can't live the lifestyle that WS espouses, but I do
like that Matt Kramer guy. In the current issue he talks about the new Pinot
Noir standard, which is Burgundy, but maybe not for long. Has Matt Kramer
ever written a book? I would buy it. When WS arrives I go first to his
column, And he is doing Italy!
I guess I still read WS for Kramer's editorials. Anyone like me? WS is like
National Enquirer: Interesting, but you would never admit you read it.
The journey is the reward.
Rich asks: "Has Matt Kramer ever written a book?"
Making Sense of Wine (do not know details)
Making Sense of Burgundy, Quill, William Morrow, New York, copyright
1990, paperback, 528pp.
I have the Burgundy book, but have no idea if the two mentioned books
are still in print or if he has more recent books in the "Making Sense"
series. A Google or Amazon search might turn up more recent books.
I subscribe to the winespectator.com but lost interest years ago in the
magazine. I have virtually lost interest in the online as well.
While I am sure there is something redeeming in there I have a hard time
with a reference that makes money on advertising and rates wines. I am sure
there is no conflict of interest but I am somewhat suspect anyway.
Plus I have heard to many stories of James Laube in Napa that I personally
find disturbing with regards to wine snobbery at restaurants. I must admit
I have never met the man.
I don't subscribe anymore, but agree that Kramer is one of prime reasons one
might read. I've haven't read either of his books, but "Making Sense of
Burgundy" has been on my "buy one day" list for ages.
Then of course there's Suckling. Who apparently is still declaring the '96
vintage mediocre (true on Right Bank, but a DAMN FINE Medoc vintage).
Drop "damnspam" to reply
(The opportunities opened by this thread are more numerous than some may
know. I could almost suspect targeted trolling.)
I don't know the W. S. well. Though I live in the US I have only bought
specific issues, for articles of interest. It got many comments over the
years here in the Wine Newsgroup (which I again remind you is the _original_
public wine forum online: begun in 1982 as net.wines, renamed late 1986
rec.food.drink, migrated to a.f.w. in 1994, where it has remained, after the
latter group was created in a moment of impatience. The history of this
group in the good FAQ document understates its full impact. Enough
rambling, I'll correspond privately on that.) For example, one highly
critical comment appeared from a regular and respected contributor to the
wine newsgroup in 1988, which I recall vividly:
From: snipped-for-privacy@mtxinu.UUCP (Alan Tobey)
Date: 17 Jun 88 15:41:38 GMT
|> After a previous discussion on wine, someone suggested that we
|> look into the Wine Spectator ... But the buying guide has
|> caused us to have some interesting (funny) experiences....
|> recently, we have been in ... stores carrying a copy of the buying
|> guide and looking for specific wines. Out of the woodwork, the
|> wine buyers in each of the stores has come up to us and offered to
|> help locate things...
| Well, no wonder: the average subscriber to the Wine Spectator
| has an an annual household income of $140,000! Carrying the WS
| into a wine store is like carrying a cat through the Westminster
| Kennel Club dog show, guaranteed to gain attention. My local
| (and unimpressible) merchant calls it the Wine Speculator, says
| the average person who walks in carrying it is both inexperienced
| and insecure, but will buy anything that WS recommends as long
| as it has an impressive label and ant least LOOKS LIKE it cost a lot!
I'll skip over the 1990 Finger Lakes ("Enquirer") incident and mention
Before association with WS, Matt Kramer was known in the Pacific
Northwestern US as a precocious young Portland-area dining critic of sharp
standards and wit. I still have some of that stuff on file, but don't need
to look it up. Who could possibly forget Kramer's exasperation with pieces
of beef filet "mounted on the seemingly inevitable slice of soggy bread" and
sauces repeatedly "so heavily floured, if it were baked, it might have
become bread." (These two clichés of his reflected no dislike of baking,
that I know.) But he saved his best offense for pretence. He accused one
restaurant of knowing no French but placing fake French on the menu. "Like
an adolescent trying to appear suave, nothing is more pitiable ..." In
another situation, a restaurateur with multiple sites where Kramer
consistently found show rather than go, he described waiting in an entryway
with a display of bottles on their sides; on inspection the bottles were
empty, the capsules carefully replaced. "This row of empty bottles, slyly
pretending to greater riches than actually lie within, captures the spirit
of [this restaurant]."
At the same time he published recipes and celebrations of food, and taught
the region how to make a traditional (almond-milk) Blancmange, updated from
Carême (no more isinglass). I last used that recipe a year ago.
Matt Kramer has a column in our local newspaper. It used to appear every
other Sundays but it is now less frequent since he went to Italy. It seems
like he will not be back until May. Here is the link: