Feature

Author of the week: Jay McInerney

McInerney’s third book on wine, “The Juice,” proves again he’s not a stereotypical wine snob.

Wine probably isn’t the first intoxicant that comes to mind when you hear the name Jay McInerney, said William Sidelsky in The Observer (U.K.). The Bright Lights, Big City author made his name in the 1980s by fictionalizing Manhattan’s cocaine-fueled party scene. “I was fortunate to get a lot of mileage out of my vices,” he says today. In recent decades, the 57-year-old McInerney has been getting mileage out his love of wine. His wine columns and essays have won him awards, and at least a little help with paying for his 4,000-bottle collection. “It’s a way of intellectualizing the pleasure principle,” he says. “Wine exfoliates in all directions—in terms of literature, history, agronomy, meteorology.” He pauses. “And it’s a way of getting drunk. I don’t think I’d be nearly as interested if it wasn’t alcoholic.”

McInerney’s third book on wine, The Juice, proves again he’s not a stereotypical wine snob, said Troy Patterson in Slate.com. His approach is no-nonsense, his vocabulary distinctly his own—one he invented because he remembers being a wine drinker who could only afford $2 bottles from Yugoslavia. “I don’t like to endlessly parse the nose of a wine,” he says, savoring the irony. “That was the big joke when I first got the column: ‘How could he possibly have a nose left?’” If he has a favorite, it’s French burgundy. “Burgundy is a wine for tilters at windmills,” he says. “Burgundy is a diva. It’ll take you home, and then it’ll break your fingers in the door. It’s not a sensible enthusiasm, but I’m not a particularly sensible person.”

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