Michael’s nose and Christian’s magazine

I was amused to see Michael Fridjhon’s waspish comments about other journos trashing the results of Wine mag tastings, and then doing rather the same thing with regard to the latest Chenin Challenge relegating FMC to some lowly position. (I suspect he was venturing a naughty pun when he wrote of “soft pouf critics”.) No doubt if he’d been in charge, that dubious positioning couldn’t possibly have happened.

But Michael has been without a nose, as it were, for a while and was unwilling to emulate Jancis Robinson’s heroism of a few years back by tasting without one. I’m happy to report that Michael’s anxious public needn’t fret, however – some deft surgery has sorted that out, and he’ll be back. Though I’m told that after the operation he looked rather like one of William Kentridge’s etchings for Gogol’s story and Shostakovich’s opera The Nose (you can see more of them reproduced here, by the way)

Less happy news about poor old Wine mag – poor old editor Christian Eedes seems to be having trouble dumbing it down enough and saving enough money to please his Board of Directors, who’re not making enough from the likes of Getaway and Car. Watch out for some deletions. Firstly, I believe that he was obliged to ask his two regular columnists to accept a pay cut, and thereby save Ramsay Media a few hundred rands a month. One accepted eagerly enough, the other demurred. I’ll leave it up to you to guess, or find out in the March issue, which of them did what (presuming that the remaining one does survive).

Then it was Jancis Robinson’s turn to get the chop. Altogether too highbrow and elitist her syndicated column is, apparently (not to mention too expensive, one imagines). What are we to expect from forthcoming issues of Wine? Perhaps a cover feature of Angelina Jolie with a story of the drinking preferences of her babies. Or, between the reviews of steakhouses and fish and chips shops, shock-horror revelations about Princess Di’s early love of BabyCham. Or more sport. Perhaps they’ll sink to the level of the Cape Times and reprint press releases with a byline indicating quite mendaciously that it was written by one of their reporters. One has to feel sympathy for the best informed, most wine-caring editor the magazine has yet had having to preside over its dilution as a half-way serious offering

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