Wed 11 Nov 2009
My constant reader and responder-to-posts Thomas Pellechia, author of the blog vinofictions, had a reasonable point when he said to me, in an email, after I described, on Oct. 23, a $45 bottle of Elodian Pinot Noir that I sampled with a plate of cheese toast:
The post popped a thought into my head. I wondered first whether this was a bottle that you were sent or that you bought for at-home dining.
The reason I wondered: if wine writers are trying to reach the general audience and not the geek, your cheese toast with a $45 Pinot Noir might seem rather extravagant (to the audience). If that is the case, then I further wonder what exactly are we saying to the general audience that likely can’t afford a $45 wine just to have each night with dinner, let alone with toast!
Well, ahem, I suppose (I answered) that part of it has to do with the element of surprise, of extravagance, even of theater, in the sense that I don’t mind if people think, “That F.K., what a goof-ball, opened a $45 pinot noir with his cheese toast!” Yeah, I’ll do pretty much anything, verbally and conceptually, for a laugh, for a bit of attention, to keep — and this is the motivation — people coming back to BTYH.
Of course most of the wine I write about comes to me as samples, so, perhaps unfairly, I do have the ability to snatch a $45 wine from the rack to open with my cheese toast or roast chicken or whatever. Such wines exist, and I don’t think they should be ignored just because they’re expensive.
I also provide reviews of inexpensive wines, as in the Wine of the Week (rarely over $20) and in, for example, the post called “12 Under $20: White” that went up on Nov. 8. It’s probably not a good idea to try to be all things to all people, or the general all-purpose wine-writer and reviewer, but there it is.
Just to make amends, however, yesterday I made some cheese toast for my lunch, and before I reached for a wine to open, I thought, “Careful now, let’s be fair to The Readers.” So I opened a bottle of Redtree Pinot Noir 2008, California, which cost me — yes, my own hard-earned cash –the princely sum of $9. And you know what? Not only was it a pleasant and drinkable little wine, it actually displayed hints of real pinot noir character, in the form of smoky black cherry scents and flavors, plums with a hint of cola, subtle touches of spicy cranberry and rhubarb and a bit of clean earthiness; it even offers some pinot noir satiny sleekness for texture. The alcohol level — 12.5 percent — makes no demands. I rate the Redtree Pinot Noir ’08, a product of Cecchetti Wine Co., Very Good. At about $9, it represents Good Value, though you see it around the country as low as $6.50.
See, I’m not always “Mr. Forty-Five-Dollar Man.”