What’s the difference between wine writer Michael Green and moi?
I mean, other than his five-star education, superior working knowledge, pixie-like profile and ability to see dead people?
This: Michael Green proudly pronounces that he decants everything, while I assure you, severely and unequivocally, that I decant nothing.
His reasons for decanting everything, including fino and Fido (who is, last I checked, an integral part of ‘everything’) and even champagne is simple:
He loves to decant stuff whether it’s stuff that needs decanting or not.
Actually, I do too, but at the core of things, I am a petty, puerile, passive-aggressive prick who has spent years waging a personal vendetta against Decanter Magazine for reasons I will relate shortly.
For now, suffice to say that as a result, anything that contains the words ‘decanter’, involves decanting, smacks of fluid filtration or rhymes with ‘glass receptacles used to separate sediment from the rest of the wine’ is verboten in my household on the same level as is turning your head 360° while puking up split pea soup, which, like Michael, is green.
My esteemed colleague, who spent nineteen years with Gourmet Magazine, publishes a blog not unlike this one except that it makes sense. Oh, and Michael Green never uses words like ‘fuck’ and ‘prick’ and ‘fibromuscular tubular tract leading from the opening of the vulva to the uterus’—at least, not in the same paragraph as he discusses decanting. And in his latest piece, entitled ‘The Deal on Decanting’, he gets so horny over the subject that you are convinced that decanters exist on the same erotic plateau in his psyche as the aforementioned fibromuscular vajayjay.
As Green correctly points out in his article, people not currently involved in an ongoing blood feud with a British wine magazine tend to decant wine for one of two reasons: First, to remove sediment from older wine and second, to aerate younger wines.
In general terms, the problem with this theory is that older wines may be too delicate to withstand a decant (Green points this out) and younger wines can aerate via the bottle-to-glass pour just as effectively (Green does not point this out).
Well, that’s a bit of a subjective call, don’t you think Mike? Like most of us, I was one of those kids who dug reading the cereal box while eating cereal at breakfast, and today, I dig perusing the weasel words on a wine label when drinking wine—especially when I am drinking wine for breakfast. Of course, that point becomes moot to someone like Michael who decants Count Chocula.
There are, of course, some complex economic considerations to contemplate as well. One of Adam Smith’s basic economic formulae states:
…where R = cost of wine, D = cost of decanter and all the rest of the gobbledegook simply means that if your decanter costs more than your wine, in order to calculate wine value you have to divide the sum of all fixed expenses (defined to include all opportunity costs) by the sum of all variable expenses, or per unit variable cost times quantity; (per unit VC × Q), and as Smith indicates on pp. 962 (footnote) in Wealth of a Nation, should you use the lovely handmade Riedel Amadeo Lyra Decanter pictured above, a single glass of Woodbridge White Zinfandel will cost you $73.40.
Naturally, there is no ‘decanter depreciation’ to be figured into that equation since you are a clumsy oaf when you drink and will break it the first time you use it.
Back To Decanter Magazine…
There is an old Mexican proverb that my Hispanic grandfather taught me right before he forced me to eat soup made out of cow stomachs: ‘The horror continues after the cause is forgotten’.
This held true for the Hatfields and McCoys, the Montagues and the Capulets, the Corelones and the Tattaglias, the Toms and the Jerrys. But for me and Decanter, not so much: You see, I remember in precise, excruciating detail that cause of this one-sided hate fest.
Several years ago, Decanter commissioned a story from me, then decided it wasn’t good enough to print. Considering that I have an entire wing of my home festooned with awards, trophies, letters from famous writers like Poe, Shelley, Wilde, Trollope and that dude that wrote the fake Hitler autobiography assuring me that I am the literary shite, the Aeschylus of the Age, Decanter’s snub stuck like a Count Chocula nugget in my craw. It was the extirpation of an estimable ego, an evil the equivalent of my wearing a Sturmabteilung parade uniform to the synagogue—something I would never do, incidentally, not because I am particularly enamored of Yiddish culture, but because I refuse to listen to de Kantor.
But I will state for the record that in the ancient Hebraic context, it was considered the duty of the individual to avenge iniquity on behalf of God. The one who personally punished the wrongdoer was given a special designation: go’el haddam, the blood-avenger or blood-redeemer (Book of Numbers 35: 19).
I am, and will hitherto be known as, Go’el Haddam.
Is that perfectly clear?
Back To ‘The Deal on Decanting’…
With buzz-killing wine writers ready to pounce upon the suggestion that decanting is anything other than an inordinately expensive metrosexual affectation—not the domain of keepin’-it-real street winos but of grandiose dog-and-pony show-offs who could probably get something printed in Decanter; and with a surfeit of cerebrally-challenged scribes quite prepared to mock somebody’s name simply because they disagree with an innocuous position on fino/Fido/Veuve Cliquot filtration, my heart, soul, radix, bulb, crus , corpus and epithelium goes out to Michael.
In short, with folks like me on the planet, breathing your air and drinking your wine, it can’t be easy being Green.