Monday, March 9, 2015

Pizza, Merlot and the Pursuit of Pleasure

Last night I pulled a bottle of 2010 Shafer Merlot to drink with some takeout pizza last night, and I got to thinking about Jon Bonne's move back to NY and his time as the wine editor of the San Francisco Chronicle wine department.

I had the honor of writing for several of the past wine editors at the Chronicle, including the wonderful Linda Murphy, Blake Gray, Michael Bauer (during a period of vacancy) and Jon Bonne. Jon was a pleasure to work with, an extraordinary editor and a great writer, to be sure.

I wish I could have written more for the Chronicle, but time saw the fees dwindle and column inches recede. The opportunities just weren't there. Seeing the continued, steady cutbacks at the SF Chronicle, I think it's pretty clear why Jon is taking leave of the situation. If you're a polar bear on a cracking ice cap, the best thing is to just keep moving.

Now Jon can correct misguided French vignerons from a more proximate perch in NY, where he has taken a position at Punch. And it does appear that he will continue to pen a monthly column at the Chronicle.

Anyhoo, as I sat enjoying that zaftig Shafer Merlot, a very well made  and lavish red, I got to thinking about how wines like Shafer, generous wines, but very correct wines, too, have been poopooed by the Chronicle in recent years - dismissed and coldly exiled to Winterfell with the IPA beers and 15% alcohol Zinfandels. I'd like to think that some of these wines will again be praised in a way that they deserve, praised as a product of their place and not derided because they aren't French or German or as minimalist as a cot is to a bed.

If part of the journey of wine appreciation is the pursuit of balance, surely part of it is also the pursuit of pleasure, and let me tell you, that Shafer Merlot delivered.

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