Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Why a Column on Wine?

Draft of my first wine column for the Chico Beat:

Why a column on wine? That’s probably the first of several questions that crossed your mind when you saw this article. In order to head you off at the pass, I’ll answer them all for you now, and save us all a lot of trouble.

Q: Isn’t wine the preferred beverage of rich upper class hedonists detached from – and uncaring of – the rest of us who work for living?
A: Well, yes, I suppose it is, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t drink it too. Wine is a strangely magical liquid that is accessible to anyone.

Q: Don’t you have to be a pretentious snob in order to “enjoy” wine?
A: Not at all. Anyone can enjoy and understand wine. You only have to be a pretentious snob if you also want to be a pretentious snob about wine. That’s where I come in. No, I’m not a pretentious snob (though I’m hearing some disagreement from the peanut gallery). My purpose with this column is to turn you on to the enjoyment of wine, hopefully demystifying it a bit in the process.

Q: Don’t you have to spend an arm and a leg in order to get “good” wine?
A: Sometimes it seems like it, but that’s my personal problem, not yours. In fact, the “globalization” of wine (a topic for another day) has forced producers all over the world to produce better wines at reasonable prices. There has, in fact, never been a better time in all of history to get truly great wine at affordable prices. I plan to make it my mission in this column to find those great wine bargains and drink them down. I know it’s a heavy burden and a great sacrifice, but I feel compelled by an overwhelming sense of public duty to do it for you.

Q: Isn’t Chico a beer town? Why the heck are you writing about wine?
A: While I love beer (nothing like a Summerfest on a hot day!), there’s no conflict in loving wine too. And as some wise (but sexist) philosopher once said, “man can’t live on beer alone.” We are actually quite lucky in Chico to have three establishments devoted solely to the enjoyment of wine, as well as several others that carry a decent selection of wines for our purchasing pleasure. Over the next few months, I’ll review those establishments as well as a number of wonderful – and maybe not so wonderful – wines.

Q: Why are you doing this column in the Chico Beat?
A: Obviously, they’re desperate.

Q: Who the heck are you and what do you know about wine?
A: You know, I’m starting to get really tired of your questions. Don’t you have something else to do? Actually, this is the best question of the bunch. Do I have a lot of fancy wine credentials (preferably in impenetrable French)? No. Am I a “master sommelier” (whatever the heck that is)? No. Have I ever tasted anything more expensive than Two Buck Chuck? Truth to be told, I save the “Charles Shaw” for special events. Is there anything that would qualify me to write a wine column? Not that I know of, but I did drink three bottles of wine one night last month without blacking out. Mostly. Well, I don’t actually remember much about the whole business with the cookies, but otherwise I was totally there.

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