Jay McInerney: Wall Street Journal Wine Critic

Can anything compare to the singular pleasure of a $360 bottle of Dom Perignon? In his first column for the Wall Street Journal famous novelist Jay McInerney tries to explain why you should be drinking ludicrously expensive alcohol.

Expensive wine is apparently as much about experience as it is about taste. And so, McInerney opens his inaugural WSJ wine column—Rose-Hued Memories of a Summer Night—with an anecdote:

My first experience with a sparkling pink wine took place on a blanket on the lawn at Tanglewood in the company of a girl named Joan Coughlin. The Who were onstage performing "Tommy" and the warm summer air was perfumed with incense and cannabis smoke. The wine in question, Cold Duck, was, I discovered much later, composed of two parts New York State sparkling wine and one part California bulk red wine.

McInerney and the young Coughlin obviously did it, thus cementing McInerney's "abiding enthusiasm for rose Champagne." Gives new meaning to the Who's "Teenage Wasteland": They were actually singing about an unhinged world where teens just mix up any two random wines with no regard as to how it will affect the "attack".

For those cheapskates who were swore off wine when the price of Charles Shaw was doubled to $4, McInerney offers this rationale for spending $360 on a bottle of Dom Pérignon Rosé:

I'm not going to pretend that either the 2000 or the 1990 Œnothèque is inexpensive, but look at it this way: The former costs about the same as the tasting menu at Joël Robuchon in Las Vegas; the latter the same as the tasting menu for two.

Or look at it this way: The former costs about as much as a 16 year-old Chinese factory makes in a year; the latter the same as they make in two years. A pittance.

But how does the wine actually taste? In an act of oenophilic synesthesia, McInerney conveys this through another anecdote:

Among many pleasant sensations it evoked, I thought of Julianne Moore, a mature pinkish-hued beauty whom I'd seen on the street in the West Village earlier that day-but this is the kind of wine that can call forth a thousand associations.

I recently thought of Julianne Moore, and all I was doing was sitting in my underwear on the couch. And my couch only cost $200.

You would be forgiven for throwing your copy of Bright Lights, Big City into a deep well after reading this column. But, honestly, any novelist writing about wine so expensive it makes our brains hurt would seem like an insufferable douche. Let's just give McInerney the benefit of the doubt here and assume he needed this gig to pay for some typewriter ribbon with which to write something that has absolutely nothing to do with wine.