Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Summer Wine Reads

Wine geeks read, well, books about wine. And the wine business. And people who love wine. The good news is that a lot of wonderful writers have made it easier to do. Assuming that you've already made your way though the classics like Kermit Lynch's Adventures on the Wine Route and The House of Mondavi, here are a few more summer reads on your favorite juice.

The First Crush: The Down and Dirty on Making Great Wine Down Under, Eric Arnold: This is possibly the funniest and best book on winemaking I've ever read. And it's not just that he says mechanical harvesters strip vines faster than a sailor rips the dress off a $20 whore. (He likens wine consultants to sorority girls -- the kind that have a boyfriend in every frat house.) Bottom line: he blows off a year and heads to New Zealand to work for Allen Scott Wines in Marlborough. Hilarity ensues. (Hat tip to The Good Grape since I bought it months ago after their pointer.)

The Billionaire's Vinegar: The Mystery of the World's Most Expensive Bottle of Wine, Benjamin Wallace: In the 1990s, the old and rare wines market exploded with the discovery of the "Jefferson bottles," a cache of 1787 Bordeaux unearthed in a cellar renovation in Paris. When experts like Michael Broadbent declared them authentic, what started as a flurry of interest became an decade-long investigation of not only one high profile collector -- and counterfeiter -- but a crack in the entire market.

The Emperor of Wine: The Rise of Robert M. Parker, Jr. and the Reign of American Taste, Elin McCoy: Love Parker or hate him, there's no denying the mark he has left (and continues to leave) on wine. This fascinating biography offers insight into his early wine interests (not unlike a *lot* of amateurs, he just kept tasting), how he started Advocate (it took him 10 years to make enough money to quit his day job as a corporate lawyer), how he created the 100-point system, and even his prickly personality. It's an insightful view into the world of reviewing, tasting, and the business (Bordeaux futures, anyone?) Even if you hate everything Parker stands for, this one is worth the read.
Next up for me? The Judgement of Paris: California vs. France and the Historic 1976 Paris Tasting That Revolutionized Wine, George M. Taber. I want to read it before the movie, Bottle Shock, opens!

1 comment:

CorrND said...

The Judgement of Paris is wonderful! I didn't know a movie was being made about it. Is it based on the book or just roughly on the events of the time? It was gifted to me and it's pretty much the only book I've ever read on the subject of wine so I'll have to go check out the "classics" you mentioned.