I read Mike Steinberger's column regularly, in Slate Magazine. I was surprised by a recent article of his - its viciousness and bite was unexpected: What Jonathan Nossiter's Liquid Memory Gets Wrong About Wine. But maybe I shouldn't be surprised - he's always despised Mr. Nossiter (read this, on Mondovino).
Jonathan Nossiter is of course, the director of Mondovino, a wine documentary which presents the argument about the dangers of homogenized, internationally-styled wines - wines without soul or personality. It's an interesting set of arguments, whether you believe in them or not. Wine writers and press too often take the easy, commercially viable route of publishing mindless tasting notes and scores, amidst the rest of the fluffy junk masquerading as journalism. Really, do we want to read yet more pieces about fabulous and rare wines that we have no chance of ever experiencing? There seems to be two extremes - the writers who insist on writing about the aforementioned Bentley's of the wine world, or the writer with the McDonald's palate, who screeches about the virtues of Australian fruit bombs. That's why I treasure writers like Eric Asimov, Jancis Robinson, and Andrew Jefford - people who understand the true taste.
The argument that serious wine bloggers are the future to wine writing has been made before, but I think it's important to highlight the work of people like Mr. Nossiter as well. We need people to present these kinds of controversial, thought-provoking arguments, irrespective of whether we agree or not. Mr. Steinberger bristles at what he perceives as the snobbishness of this new book - perhaps, but maybe it's also an American reaction to a Euro-centric viewpoint.
In any case, I enjoy Mr. Nossiter's work. And I'm looking forward to reading his book, as well as the 10-hour Mondovino: The Series. Both have been ordered - my thoughts to follow. I'm going to dedicate an entire weekend to devour both. He presents forceful arguments that may not be entirely original or new, but creates discussion that is otherwise lacking in mainstream wine circles.
And if he's a snob along the way, I'm not complaining - just read my profile.