So it’s no surprise that my interest in wine has led me to gobble up wine books across a spectrum of topics. There are the wine information books which explain grapes, soil, wine and food pairings, to the biographies of wine innovators, and the memoirs of wine enthusiasts. And, happily I can move from the substantive reading about wine to lighthearted material which includes wine romances, and wine mysteries.
With the holidays coming up soon, I thought I'd share a few of the wine books I've enjoyed which would make wonderful gifs for wine newbies or wine aficionados:
The Emperor of Wine: The Rise of Robert Parker and the Reign of American Taste by Elin McCoy is still one of my all time favorites. Want to know how that infernal point system you see in the wine stores came to be? Curious about Robert Parker, the ‘emperor’? This is the book for you.
Love the relaxed and fun vibe of Red, White and Drunk all Over by Natalie MacLean. I think the title says it all.
I’ve been deeply immersed in Judgment of Paris: California vs. France and the Historic 1976 Paris Tasting That Revolutionized Wine by George M. Taber. Taber was the only reporter at the famed tasting during which California wines bested the best of French wines. The recent movie “Bottle Shock” is based on this event. The book tells the story of the tasting, but is also a detailed chronicling of the roots of the California wine industry. I have to say the book is well written but it’s a mouth full.
When I finish Judgment, I plan to dive into The Billionaire’s Vinegar: The Mystery of the World’s Most Expensive Bottle of Wine by Benjamin Wallace, a tome of a book which details the history and mystery of a bottle of wine allegedly owned by Thomas Jefferson, a well known oenophile. BTW, I do not know why all of these books have such long titles.
If you need a mindless escape, try the mysteries penned by Ellen Crosby-- The Chardonnay Charade, The Merlot Murders, and The Bordeaux Betrayal. They are fun reading, and rich with wine information. For maximum enjoyment, I‘d pair the books with a bottle of the wine named in the title.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t name some good books which are great to help you navigate your wine education journey:
The Wine Bible by Karen McNeil
And one of my all time favorites, from my wine gurus, Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher. Wine for Everyday and for Every Occasion: Red, White and Bubbly to Celebrate the Joy of Living. Published 4 years ago, it is a great non threatening reference book chockful of wine vignettes to savor curled up in a comfy chair.
If all of these recommendations do not make you salivate, here are some enticing new titles to consider:
Wine Mondays: Simple Pairings with Seasonal Foods Frank McClellan and Christie Matheson. McClellan is the chef at one of Boston’s top restaurants L’Espalier. He has selected simple dishes and affordable wines for pairing.
Andrea Immer Robinson’s latest, Andrea Robinson’s 2009 Wine Buying Guide for Everyone. Robinson’s yearly guide is just what you want in the car when you are pondering a new wine for dinner.
For those of us with a hearty appetite for both reading and wine, wine books are a satisfying read.