If I didn’t already know an industry legend who had the alias ‘silver fox’ – then I’d bestow the title on Jay ‘North-Slope’ Youmans. If one generally thinks of the term MW ‘Master of Wine’, perhaps there is the inclination to think of the caricature portly connoisseur in a bow tie, with a red nose, spouting forth pomp, bombast and arrogance as he lords his knowledge about wine like a Vet with a Purple Heart above everyone he encounters.
Of course this is an outdated vision and though many patrons of the wine industry may fit the above description, by and large the industry is rife with cool, open minded, centred and all round amicable characters – and Jay Youmans is certainly no exception.
In the first hour of meeting Jay we didn’t talk about wine for a second – and instead he gave me the what’s-what about college basketball (which faired me well in many future conversations); chatted about the team he coached and told me about his children. It was only a little later that I learned about the arduous and rewarding path one must travel en route to being worthy of having the title ‘Master of Wine’ bestowed upon them. Jay is one of a handful of Wine Masters in the United States – which puts him in a unique position, the saying ‘in the land of the blind, the man with one eye is king’ comes to mind – and by this measure, MW’s have two eyes. To this end, there can be no doubt that all MW’s carry a depth of the industry that few of us can even fathom (Wine Spectator journalists included.)
If Gary Vaynerchuck is a poster-boy of the potential for wine critics that pack as much enthusiasm and charisma as a national radio-jockey; then Jay Youmans is the perfect example of the youthful and princely sophistication that exists in the industry.
His bi-monthly magazine, I-winereview.com is packed with objective and unbiased wisdom – and it would be a great honour if Jay (who runs much sought after wine education courses in DC) could weigh in on Grape Thinking from time to time to share some valued insite.Tags: review, Wine