From the author of Bright Lights, Big City comes Bacchus & Me, Jay McInerney’s exploration of the world of wine. A successful author and a connoisseur of fine wine, McInerney was approached to be the wine writer for Conde Nast’s House & Garden. Today, McInerney is the wine columnist for the Wall Street Journal. Bacchus & Me is compilation of stories that he wrote while at House & Garden.
Although the book is 12 years old at this point, it holds up. McInerney’s writing is timeless, as is the topic. In reading Bacchus & Me, McInerney takes you on a voyage of vino. You fly through a flight of white wines, starting with California Chardonnay with a side trip to France (think Condreiu, Chablis and Burgundy) and end in South Africa. In reading the section on white wines, I was particularly jealous of the private tastings with Helen Turley, arguably one of the most talented winemakers California has ever seen. You then tromp through the vineyards in Oregon and the Russian River to explore the fickle Pinot Noir grape with further explorations in Australia, France and Italy. Then you set sail through the sweets with a visit to Sauternes, Port and Vin Santi in Italy. Reading through McInerney’s wine travels made me want to take a trip of my own to allow Bacchus to enlighten me.
If traveling the globe in pursuit of red, white and sweet wines wasn’t enough, McInerney also pontificated on romantic wines and food pairings. For wines of romance, McInerney unsurprisingly recommends a number of Champagnes with Dom Perignon at the top, followed closely by a number of Rose Champagnes. Personally, I would reverse those. After leaving Champagne behind, McInerney recommends Condreiu, which smells like floral perfume, a red Burgundy, a red Bordeaux, a rose and closes out with Chateau Y’quem. My list my have been slightly different but McInerney’s picks are good one. For food pairing, the book reprints some of the Home & Garden articles on pairing with turkey and cheese and then appends his own classic wine pairing and modern pairings.
For a fun, yet informative read, try Bacchus & Me. You get to explore some of the upper echelon of the wine world from a very down to earth writer. There is no pretension, only love of the grape and the wonder that accompanies any fine journey.