Okay so as many of you know I canceled my ten year subscription to the wildly popular publication Food & Wine last year. I did so for their complete lack of interest and respect to people that actually care enough about wine…you know that beverage that they splash on the cover of their magazine, to seek out actual information or at the very least pairings that are not squeezed through the tube of ad dollars and presented to the public ala a Lancome makeover for Wilbur. I had been smelling their fertilizer for a long time, big poo smeared pages of useless and horribly constructed wine advice that read like nails on a chalk board to those of us that are in the trenches, like selling wine to real people.
It was laziness that kept me from killing the subscription before, my credit card just renewed the damn thing every year and when the stupid thing showed up in the mail every month I would grumble, “Dammit! I need to call them”. On the rare occasion that I even opened an issue I would find myself lost in pages and pages of ads, many of which cleverly camouflaged as actual articles, before I would land on yet another dung filled piece of wine writing that made me cringe and bark, “What the fuck are you talking about?!”. Took their November issue last year to push me completely over the edge, I finally contacted them and made the idiocy stop. Took a bit of hoop jumping to remove that leech from my credit card but after sending a link of my somewhat pissy blog post to both the complaint department and the editor I was credited the remainder of my subscription and the plastic wrapped pile of steaming stupidity stopped showing up in my mailbox. I was free of them, or so I thought….
The other afternoon I was stocking my Champagne shelves when a very regular customer approached me. He has been coming in for years, mostly when he and his gourmet group have one of their get-togethers and he wants me to pair a wine to the dish he has been given to prepare. I happen to love this part of my job and it appears to be one of those things that I have a bit of a knack for. I am a total geek about these things, probably think about it way too much but I absolutely adore tweaking my flavor memories around ingredients and walking the isles at the shop until I land on a wine that I “just know” will pair beautifully with something. Yeah, like I said, total geek. So I am always thrilled to see this cat coming at me with his folded pieces of photocopied recipes.
Our usual “how are you?” exchange out of the way and I looked at his paper saying, “Okay kid, what have we got?” and was a bit bummed to hear, “Oh I need a Riesling”. It wasn’t the Riesling part, honestly many of the wines I have paired with his “foodie” groups, somewhat trying dishes have in fact been Rieslings. No, it was the fact that I didn’t get to play match-maker and that he didn’t seem to need a recommendation from me. Seeing that he knew he needed a Riesling I went to the best guy for the job….Randy. That man knows his German section far better than I do and I wanted to make sure that we continued serving this loyal customer to the very best of our abilities….you know, so he keeps coming to us when he needs wine pairings and junk.
Randy had been helping him for only a few seconds before I heard a bit of a grumble coming from the German department. I had been heading there to see just what Riesling Randy might give him but started moving a little quicker when I heard the rumblings. Got there just in time to hear, “Who are these people?” as Randy looked over the photocopied pages before he looked at me with a slightly annoyed grin, “Of course. Food & Wine”.
The recipe was for poached pears and the Riesling the gentleman needed was not for pairing with the dish but for the poaching liquid and just what does this craptastic rag recommend for the task? Icewine. Not just an Icewine but a German or Canadian Icewine, 750 ML bottle to boot. Um, practical much? For those of you that aren’t quite sure what I’m talking about here, German and Canadian Icewines are very sweet, very labor intensive and somewhat rare wines that are not only almost always bottled in 375 ML bottles, they tend to start out at around $50.00, some German versions upwards of $200.00. Recommending that a person spend over $100.00 to cook….cook a precious bottle, oh wait, two precious bottles into a sauce is the height of douchbaggery and so off the mark with regards to respecting your readers oh and let’s not forget WINE….assholes.
We sent our customer on his way with a bottle of Domaine Piquemal Muscat Rivesault, a full bottle for $18.00 to poach his pears in, along with a lesson about complexity and nuance. The very idea that a wine focused publication would instruct their customers, (and that is what they are) to cough up the money for a world class wine and then tell them to dump vanilla pods, cinnamon and whatever else in it….and then cook it?! Well that right there is a gigantic FAIL and only perpetuates the idea that wine is for the uber sophisticates, “Mmmm yeess, I only poach my pears in Icewine” (helps to imagine a nasal heavy voice here) and people that have money to burn. Yeah, that’s gonna help…
Way to help Vodka sales….dickwads.
I still hate you
Hugs and Kisses