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Tuesday Tributes: Best of the Blogs
Dear Food & Wine: You Suck

By Charles Olken

The blog as artform can take many shapes. It is nothing more and nothing less than someone’s ramblings, and whether those ramblings are smart and informative, informational and instructive or personal and introspective, blogs are expressions of the people who write them. Even this blog, which is intended to be more of a content-driven daily magazine of sorts, is a reflection of the people who write it. It matters not whether you are reading our restaurant reviews (which, as you have noticed, are of restaurants we like, and thus you are learning what types of restaurants inspire us) or product reviews like Steve Eliot’s takes on liquors and liqueurs, and thus you learn that Steve is omnibibulous and endlessly curious, you learn something about him every time he writes. I’m not sure what you learn about me except that I like a good argument, pro or con, and it matters not whether I am in the middle of it or watching from the sideline. Give me a cogent, well-thought out bit of argy-bargy and I am all in.

Today’s “Best Of” somehow manages to cover all the bases that a blog can cover. It is brilliantly analytical. It is revealing of its author. It is personal. It is instructive. It has moved people to applause as the many, many comments about it reveal, and it has moved people to action. It is written by a woman, Samantha Dugan, whose wine blog voice, indeed, whose writing voice, is unique, involving, inviting. No other wine blog is as personal, touching, giving, revealing as Samantha Sans Dosage. It never wins awards for the best writing about wine in the blogosphere, but it certainly ought to win awards for the best writing in the wine blogosphere. It makes the rest of us look like cub reporters by comparison.

Take her blog, penned last Tuesday, and read by me at least every other day. It had me laughing out loud as Mrs. Olken was walking into my office yesterday. I sat her down and read it to her. She was laughing out loud. But, this is not a humorous entry, dear readers, this is a serious and seriously raucous rant about the follies of a magazine that has let the blogger down one too many times. It is compelling reading.

Here is how it starts. It needs reading all the way to the end, and a link is provided. And when you get there, go find Ms. Dugan’s entry that appeared this morning. It explains, far better than anyone else can, why the amazingly unique and compelling voice that is Samantha Sans Dosage has become required reading.

Dear Food & Wine Magazine,

You suck.

Samantha Dugan

Truth is I have been bitching and moaning about this particular publication for a couple of years now, I think it was about the time I got one of their yearend issues and over half of it was advertisements or even worse, the “special advertisements” which is basically an ad that pretends not to be. Fucking annoying as hell. I will say that I do find the recipes in Food & Wine some of the easiest to execute and for that reason alone I’ve not figured out how to get my goddamn American Express to quit renewing my subscription but I think after this latest craptastic issue I am going to have to call it quits. The wine articles in this glossy rag that proudly boasts wine as half its name are simply dreadful, always have been. They used to just be boring and redundant…I mean whole articles dedicated to steakhouse wine lists... lemme guess, big reds? What the hot new sommeliers are favoring in place of Gruner these days and endless articles about what wines to bring to all those swanky dinner parties or (a personal favorite) perfume and wine, as in “this Barolo reminds me of Chanel” or whatever. Trite and never all that informative, that was the way I saw most of the wine articles in Food & Wine, (all one or two in each issue), before but the utter pile of crap that landed in my mailbox this month had me not only saying aloud, “Oh shut up” but slapping the slippery pages of stupid down on the smashed beige carpet of my living room floor.

This rant has barely begun. The fun really gets going at:


by Ronald Washam
Posted on:11/2/2010 6:30:59 PM

Thank goodness Samantha discovered her voice, and shame on anyone who hasn't discovered it since. There simply and unequivocably is not a more interesting or more talented wine blogger, or storyteller, on the Internet. Please, please, please, I'm begging you, go there, read her, comment, reread her, then tell all of your friends to go there and read her. The wine world will be better as a result. And so will you.


by Samantha Dugan
Posted on:11/2/2010 10:57:43 PM

You two kill me....I love you so. Thank you Charlie and Ron, if I get nothing else out of this blogging business...falling in love with the two of you, worth it.

by Randy Kemner
Posted on:11/4/2010 9:14:36 AM

I work with Samantha every day and don't know where she gets all that, but she continues to astound me with her perception, quick wit and her nimble intelligence.  I'm proud to know her.

by Charlie Olken
Posted on:11/4/2010 9:22:01 AM


We may both look back years from now when she is famous and be able to say "we knew her when".

by Samantha Dugan
Posted on:11/4/2010 10:58:45 PM

Are there famous bloggers aside from your son 1WineDoody and STEVE!? Randy you know you are the one that pushed me to write and you have been the model I hold myself too....well, aside from my naughty pieces. Know me when? The only way a writer gets famous these days is to go on Oprah and if that is the case I'll need all three of you there, that woman scares the living hell out of me....she might be the anti christ

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