Evelyn Waugh, Wine Writer

A wine blog called wineanorak has posted a profile of the wine writings of novelist Jay McInerney, best known as the author of Bright Lights, Big City (1984). Among those who McInerney identifies as having influenced his wine writing are Norman Mailer, Ernest Hemingway, and Evelyn Waugh:

…He cites the remarkable section in Brideshead Revisited where Sebastian and Charles raid the cellar at Brideshead and enter into drunken discussions of the wines they’re drinking. ‘Waugh did a great parody of English wine writing.’ But McInerney thinks that perhaps Waugh’s greatest service to the world of wine was to sire Auberon Waugh, who wrote a wine column for Tatler, and whose writing was collected in Waugh on Wine. ‘He was a practitioner of the vituperative arts. Filthy and disgusting were his favourite descriptors.’ McInerney adds that, ‘one of the great flaws of contemporary wine writing is ignoring the idea that wine is an intoxicant …Thomas Jefferson was another influence in my wine writing,’ says McInerney. ‘He was the founding wine geek.’ Jefferson once said that no nation is drunken where wine is cheap, and he regarded it as the antidote to the bane of whisky.

The Brideshead scene to which McInerney refers is mentioned in an earlier post. His wine writings have been collected in several volumes, such as Bacchus and Me: Adventures in the Wine Cellar (2002).

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