I read quite a bit about wine online and on crushed trees smeared with oil. On the latter format, I’ve been converting of late to the online editions of magazines like Wine Spectator as I don’t find the features too interesting and I can browse the tasting notes just as efficiently online (more so, actually) as in their print counterpart. So call this my contribution to the environment. By the way, I don’t count the Wine Advocate or International Wine Cellar as a “glossy” here; those are still best consumed in their classic, paper format.
One of my daily online sources is Decanter which publishes a fine RSS news feed which keeps me somewhat current with the thinking on wine “across the pond.” Whilst on a visit to downtown Minneapolis this weekend I noted the print version of this British wine journal on offer at a local news agent. I eagerly plunked down my Ã‚Â£3.60 to sample the best wine magazine from the UK (eight bucks over here).
What a revelation.
As an old print guy, the production is excellent; much better, technically, than the Spectator or any other wine glossy in North America. But the writing is what drew me in. Instead of browsing features, I actually read them, and have a boatload more to read making this a fine value. I also appreciated the focus on Bordeaux and Burgundy which gave me an appreciation for the debate over the 2005 (a Parker favorite) and 2006 vintages like no other wine journal.
I also enjoyed comments like Steven Spurrier’s assessment of ’06 Bordeaux as, “…not a vintage to buy off the peg.” My translation would be that 2006 Bordeaux is, in general, a bad value, but Mr. Spurrier’s understatement allows for the reader to infer their own experience. I enjoyed Mr. Broadbent’s comments comparing Madeira to the “morning coffee” at Christie’s with equal gusto. This took me back to my days working in London some years back, but I digress.
So the point here is to pick up a copy of Decanter when you see it, North American readers. It’s very worth your hard-earned eight U.S. Dollars or ten Canadian Dollars.
I’d like to mention another recent wine-related magazine/journal that was a revelation for me: Gastronomica. It’s not a wine publication first and foremost, but their writing is great, their photography is terrific, and they treat food and wine with academic interest…so it’s cool when they talk about wine!
Decanter has traditionally been seen as the magazines for ‘the trade’ while the consumer read Wine magazine (the other UK glossy). Things have blurred over the last few years. Decanter has gone out of its way to appeal to the American market while Wine has an odd mix of consumer and specifically trade focused articles.
I actually prefer Wine – mainly for the writing. Decanter is still more ‘high end’ with lots of fine wine type writing.
Thanks for the tips, guys. I’ll have to pick up a copy of Gastronomica and Wine the next time I see them here.
Perhaps I like the style of writing in Decanter because I’m in the trade, Andrew 😉
Dr. Debs says
I adore Decanter. It does have lots of trade news, or at least it did when I was living in the UK and subscribed. I got my fix of the mag last week and it was great to touch base with it and see that it’s still going strong–pricey, but strong!