If you’ve a taste for gratuitous, merely space-filling information, a definitive example of the species awaits you in this month’s Food and Wine: It's called “50 Wines You Can Always Trust”.
Simply put, you don’t need the information the article hands you. It’s not only packed full of particulars any typical Food and Wine reader already knows, but it's a dead loss at reassembling that information into a useful guide even for the neophyte. This is because virtually every one of its listed wines is already on the bill of fare of just about every liquor store between Victoria, BC and St. Johns, Nfld. What you need to know is which among the 50 to choose---because that’s the situation actually facing the casual wine-buyer. Studying the article is no more than opening the door to the store---you're really no further forward than you were when you set out.
Two decades ago, a piece like this might have had its place. But the happy result of 25 years of steady improvement in the quality of reasonably-priced wine is that today, in any well-stocked store, virtually everything sold is dependable. It’s what rises above "dependable" that you want to find out more about; what's in the store that can give you a sniff of a more exotic territory.
Ultimately, what's most galling about “50 Wines You Can Always Trust” is how at its heart it caters to the fearful rather than adventurous wine wayfarer. Think about it: You only really need advice when you're exploring new territory and pushing personal boundaries forward---but this article is more like a guide on how to successfully stay home and watch TV. The Food and Wine piece I want to see is "50 Wines to Take a Chance on." Then we'll all learn something worthwhile.