Thursday, September 1, 2016
Alice in Naturaland, or Through the Isinglass
Lisa Perrotti-Brown was one of the panelists on a seminar about minerality I attended at the Napa Valley Professional Wine Writers Symposium last January, along with Doug Frost and Jeannie Cho Lee. That’s three MWs and an MS. Four for the price of three, like a BevMo Five Cent Sale, only not a ripoff. Seems like overkill, though I still walked out thinking minerality is to wine what sand is to bathing suits—it might be there, but it’s incredibly irritating how much it comes up.
I never had the chance to speak with Lisa at the Symposium. I never approach famous wine people I may have insulted. Many want to meet the HoseMaster of Wine™, and many really don’t. I am a recluse anyway, so I just wait for people to introduce themselves to me. But a few days after the Symposium, Lisa tweeted that she wished she’d said hello to me, so I tweeted back, and we met for dinner. A lovely friendship was born.
Of course, most of you know Lisa Perrotti-Brown as the Editor-in-Chief of the Wine Advocate. Recently, the Wine Advocate, under her direction, has launched a new website, with a great deal of free content. A few months ago, Lisa approached me asking if I’d be open to writing a satiric piece for the site once a month or so, the aim being to have something more cutting edge on the new site. We had a long talk about it.
My only concern was the obvious one. Nothing is more deadly to a satirist than becoming part of the establishment, or the appearance of same. Except, perhaps, abject poverty. I’ve long had a champion in Tim Atkin MW (what’s telling about the wine world is that the bigshot MWs tend to be very supportive of what I do while the bigshot MSs, now there’s an oxymoron, tend to hate what I do), and I am very grateful for all that Tim has done to promote the HoseMaster. I never expected that kind of support from anyone as famous and talented in the wine business as Tim Atkin MW. And now along comes Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, with the approval of Robert Parker EW (Emperor of Wine), asking me to write original material for the new Wine Advocate site. And pay me.
Lisa is a very talented writer, a woman who originally wanted to be a playwright, and no doubt has the talent to be a successful one. When we talk, she and I often talk about writing, and she’s very insightful and wonderfully funny. She was quick to assure me that she wouldn’t edit my work, something Tim has always adhered to as well. And that I could write whatever I wanted, and never worry about going after Parker, her, the Wine Advocate, or anyone who writes for them. In other words, don’t change a thing. So I said I would do it.
There isn’t much cutting edge wine writing. I love how Wine Spectator calls Matt Kramer “irreverent.” He’s about as irreverent as Perry Como, or George Will. I appreciate how much attention my raucous, ribald, often nasty brand of satire has been getting lately, not because it brings attention to me (anyone who knows me will tell you I dread the attention), but because the wine business needs satire, needs a skeptical eye, the more eyes the better. That a publication like Wine Advocate, and critics of the status of Tim Atkin MW, Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW and Robert Parker EW (there isn’t any higher status than those three), endorse my work is acceptance that gratifies me enormously.
But enough. Here’s the first piece on the Wine Advocate site. Comments aren’t allowed there at the moment, so feel free to return here and give me a raft of shit for selling out.