Jay McInerney's A Hedonist in the Wine Cellar, the second collection of his wine columns from House and Garden, is like a snapshot album of wine experiences, featuring a mix of big-name winemakers, exotic locales and big bosomy wines. (Full disclosure: I've shared a couple of rare wine dinners in France with McInerney, but that is the extent of our acquaintance.) McInerney, who describes himself as an enthusiast rather than a critic, writes more of the experience (and the hobnobbing) of big-name wine drinking than of technology. And he has developed a particular style and rhythm attributable in part to the limits of a magazine column that can stale a bit if you read too many in a row. Like a flight of wines, three is about perfect.
McInerney tends to describe wines as often by pop-culture images as by taste, which sometimes works he riffs off a funny comparison of decoding German wine names and diving into Finnegan's Wake and sometimes comes off as a pure setup (a super-Barbera becomes, inevitably, a Barbarella ). Cahors is butch is a prime McInerney-ism: it's catchy, it's irreverent and it's arresting for a couple of moments, but it doesn't really impart any information. Still, A Hedonist in the Wine Cellar is fun, especially in small doses, and aimed squarely at the metrosexual/boomer drinkers.