Wednesday, April 1, 2015

10 Great Wine Reads

It’s National Library Month, the perfect time to check out a variety of wine books and indulge your interest in all things vino. Here are just a few suggestions for the oenophile and the budding wine lover, alike.

Wine Lover’s Wine Books

1) American Wine: The Ultimate Companion to the Wines and Wineries of the United States by Jancis Robinson and Linda Murphy (2012)

Enjoy an in-depth look into America’s wine culture with over 7,000 wine producers. The book features some of the country’s best wines, wineries and winemakers and includes 54 detailed maps of local wine regions, along with more than 200 photos highlighting just what makes this country a wine-rich nation.

2) Exploring Wine: Completely Revised 3rd Edition by Steve Kolpan, Brian H. Smith, Michael A. Weiss, The Culinary Institute of America (2010)

This is a wine reference book for food and wine lovers, professionals and oenophiles. Written to demystify wine and the winemaking process, it covers major wine regions around the world, explaining which wines and foods pair well together. Tasting notes are offered along with easy-to-use guides.

3) Eyewitness Companions: Wines of the World: Your Essential Handbook
by DK Publishing (2004)

Still a great source about each of the 35 major wine-producing regions in the world. Loaded with history, maps and photos, you’ll get enough of a wine education to forgive references to some producers who are no longer in business. A portable guide that could assist you in mapping out your next international wine jaunt.

The History of Wine

1) Judgment of Paris: California vs. France and the Historic 1976 Paris Tasting That Revolutionized Wine by George Taber (2005)

The factual version of the Paris Tasting of 1976 by the only reporter who covered it. Taber’s Time Magazine article stunned the wine world and transformed it when he reported how a blind-tasting panel of top French wine experts chose two unknown California wineries on which to bestow top honors. It’s the perfect “David and Goliath” story set in the world of wine.

2) Wine and War: The French, the Nazis, and the Battle for France’s Greatest Treasure by Donald Kladstrup and Petie Kladstrup (2002)

In 1940, when France fell to the Nazis, the Germans began looting French wine. While Adolph Hitler did not imbibe, Nazi troops had no such aversion.  This book tells of the extraordinary measures that French winemakers and producers went to in order to save their vineyards and their vino from the Germans.

3) Passions: The Wines and Travels of Thomas Jefferson by Thomas Gabler (1995)

This is a biography about Thomas Jefferson that focuses mainly on his travels throughout France and Europe. Jefferson was well known for his love of good food and good wine: especially French wine. Follow along with Jefferson as he describes his perceptions of the food and wines he sampled along the way. Known as America’s first wine connoisseur, Jefferson’s passion for wine shines through.

Wine Adventures

1) The Curious World of Wine: Facts, Legends, and Lore About the Drink We Love So Much by Richard Vine, PhD (2012)

Vine’s book is full of little known facts, interesting lore, and quirky regional tidbits, all revolving around our love of wine through the ages. Discover some juicy details concerning wine’s founders and fathers along with the movers and shakers of the New World, and how wine has always played a part in love.

2) In Search of Bacchus: Wanderings in the Wonderful World of Wine Tourism
by George Taber  (2009)

Taber chronicles his journey to twelve of the most beautiful wine regions in the world. From Napa, the home of wine tourism, to a thousand-year-old monastery in Tuscany, to traveling the wine routes in Stellenbosch, South Africa, Taber shares his thoughts and recommendations with the reader. Consider this a vicarious chance to travel around the world to a dozen of the most interesting wine hot spots.

3) Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch  (1990)

If you love French wines, or are planning a trip to the French wine regions then Lynch’s book will get you in the mood to explore. Follow his adventures as he shares wonderful discoveries during his twenty years of making annual wine-buying trips to the wine regions of France. While it may have been published 25 years ago, it can still entertain and enlighten.

Bonus Book

Why You Like The Wines You Like: Changing the Way the World Thinks About Wine by Tim Hanni (2013)

Hanni has been called “the Wine Anti-Snob” by the Wall Street Journal with good reason, he believes, and applies science to show, that the wine drinker has been right all along: personal preference rules when pairing wine with food. This concept empowers the wine drinker and makes all those “You Should Be Drinking …” wine guides look rather passé.

Now that you have some ideas, grab a few books from your local library and curl up for a nice read. After all, what’s better than a rainy spring evening spent reading with a glass of wine?

~ Joy