7 Good Reads for Every Wine Fan
Non-reference reads to take you on a journey and teach you a little bit on the way…
Literature is timeless. Writing and reading often renowned for their sense of realism and descriptiveness in communication. What is most to be appreciated about literature is that it is an art form in itself. There are as many styles of writing as their are writers. The good thing? There is always something out there to read. In tradition, we look to share information about things we enjoy and appreciate. Today- wine and literature.
Historically the majority of literature available about wine is mainly for reference. While these books are entertaining and are a good resource to answer wine questions, they are not always as good of a comfort read. However, there are some books out there that can teach you a little about wine, some about history, and their entertainment value is quite different. Take a quick look at these unique stories to experience the world of wine from unique points of view.
The Good Reads
Confessions of a Wine Lover- Jancis Robinson
“Even the French admit that Jancis Robinson is the “undisputed mistress of the kingdom of wine”. Internationally renowned for her work in both television and print, she is the editor of the bestselling Oxford Companion to Wine and has won more than two dozen major awards around the world. Tasting Pleasure is her compelling account of a passion that began while studying at Oxford University.Writing with Julia Child’s authority,Elizabeth David’s intelligence, and M.F.K. Fisher’s verve, Robinson takes us on a journey through the world’s finest cellars, most beautiful vineyards, and best restaurants. As she explores the universe of the grape–from Bordeaux to Australia and South Africa to California–we meet scores of colorful, wine-loving characters, including Philippe de Rothschild, Julian Barnes, Francis Ford Coppola, and Julio Gallo.There are many books about producing and rating wine; this one is about enjoying it. Witty, revealing, and knowledgeable, in Tasting Pleasure Jancis Robinson has distilled twenty years in the wine world into a hugely entertaining read.”
Pick It Up Confessions of a Wine Lover on Amazon
Wine and War – Donald Kladstrup and Petie Kladstrup
“In 1940, France fell to the Nazis and almost immediately the German army began a campaign of pillaging one of the assets the French hold most dear: their wine. Like others in the French Resistance, winemakers mobilized to oppose their occupiers, but the tale of their extraordinary efforts has remained largely unknown–until now. This is the thrilling and harrowing story of the French wine producers who undertook ingenious, daring measures to save their cherished crops and bottles as the Germans closed in on them. Wine and War illuminates a compelling, little-known chapter of history, and stands as a tribute to extraordinary individuals who waged a battle that, in a very real way, saved the spirit of France.”
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The Ripening Sun – Patricia Atkinson
“In 1990, Patricia Atkinson and her husband moved to the Dordogne, planning to earn their living as financial consultants, while an employee tended their small vineyard. Then disaster struck—the stock-market crashed and a debilitating illness sent her husband back to England—and Patricia was left to salvage their life savings from the vineyards. What follows is a remarkable tale of transformation and triumph.”
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Phylloxera – Christy Campbell
“A historical investigation into the mysterious bug that wiped out the vineyards of, first, France and then Europe in the 1860s — and how one young botanist, who had served an apprenticeship at Kew Gardens, eventually ‘saved wine for the world’. Bordeaux, inexplicably began to wither and die. Panic seized France, and Jules-Emile Planchon, a botanist from Montpellier, was sent to investigate. Magnifying glass in hand, he discovered the roots of a dying vine covered in microscopic yellow insects. The tiny aphid would be named Phylloxera vastatrix — ‘the dry leaf devastator’. Where it had come from was utterly mysterious, but it advanced with the speed of an invading army. As the noblest vineyards of France came under biological siege, the world’s greatest wine industry tottered on the brink of ruin.”
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Billionaire’s Vinegar- Benjamin Wallace
“The Billionaire’s Vinegar, now a New York Times bestseller, tells the true story of a 1787 Château Lafite Bordeaux—supposedly owned by Thomas Jefferson—that sold for $156,000 at auction and of the eccentrics whose lives intersected with it. Was it truly entombed in a Paris cellar for two hundred years? Or did it come from a secret Nazi bunker? Or from the moldy basement of a devilishly brilliant con artist? As Benjamin Wallace unravels the mystery, we meet a gallery of intriguing players—from the bicycle-riding British auctioneer who speaks of wines as if they are women to the obsessive wine collector who discovered the bottle. Suspenseful and thrillingly strange, this is the vintage tale of what could be the most elaborate con since the Hitler diaries.”
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Adventures on the Wine Route- Kermit Lynch
“A tale of the travels of a wine merchant through France’s wine regions where he spends several months each year tasting and buying, searching out great wines and talented wine makers. It describes the passions, beliefs, strengths and weaknesses of growers and negociants from both chateaux and farmhouses. Kermit Lynch’s recounting of his experiences on the wine route and in the wine cellars of France takes the reader through the Loire, Bordeaux, the Languedoc, Provence, Northern and Southern Rhone, and the Cote d’Or.”
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Judgment of Paris- George M. Taber
“The only reporter present at the mythic Paris Tasting of 1976—a blind tasting where a panel of esteemed French judges chose upstart California wines over France’s best—for the first time introduces the eccentric American winemakers and records the tremendous aftershocks of this historic event that changed forever the world of wine.
The Paris Tasting of 1976 will forever be remembered as the landmark event that transformed the wine industry. At this legendary contest—a blind tasting—a panel of top French wine experts shocked the industry by choosing unknown California wines over France’s best.
George M. Taber, the only reporter present, recounts this seminal contest and its far-reaching effects, focusing on three gifted unknowns behind the winning wines: a college lecturer, a real estate lawyer, and a Yugoslavian immigrant. With unique access to the main players and a contagious passion for his subject, Taber renders this historic event and its tremendous aftershocks—repositioning the industry and sparking a golden age for viticulture across the globe. With an eclectic cast of characters and magnificent settings, Judgment of Paris is an illuminating tale and a story of the entrepreneurial spirit of the new world conquering the old.”
Pick Up The Judgment of Paris on Amazon
Trivia: A 30th anniversary re-tasting on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean was organized by Steven Spurrier in 2006. As The Times reported “Despite the French tasters, many of whom had taken part in the original tasting, ‘expecting the downfall’ of the American vineyards, they had to admit that the harmony of the Californian cabernets had beaten them again. Read More
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Soak up that knowledge, enjoy some of the beautiful Colorado sun, and learn some trivia about Wine and history! Check back soon for more features on some other favorite wine reference reads!
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