Books and Wine

Yep. That's a legit covered bridge.
Halter Ranch Winery, Paso Robles.

I like books. I like wine. I went wine tasting recently. Time for a pretty picture from one of my favorite wineries and a wine booklist!

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The Wine Club Book: A Month-by-Month Guide to Learning about Wine with Friends by Maureen Christian Petrosky

This book was my starting point for taking wine more seriously. My brother, his then-fiancée, and I picked this book up on a whim in a wine shop nearly nine years ago with the idea that we would throw some wine parties and learn a bit more about wine. Boy did we ever. The book tackles one variety of wine per month, providing some basic information about the wine and a set of recipes to pair with the wines. The writing is straight-forward and unpretentious, and the information about wine and food is solid. We passed the book around for a year, taking turns hosting some really great wine parties, being exposed to new types of wine, and sometimes even learning something. I’d highly recommend this book (in spite of the awful cover art) to anyone looking to start learning more about wine and wine pairing.

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What to Eat with What to Drink by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page

For those who have spent a bit more time in a wine shop…This is THE book about pairing wine and food. Hell, why limit it to pairing wines? This book cover everything: more wines than I could possibly drink in a lifetime, a variety of beers, liquors, coffees, teas, even mineral waters. There are several chapters laying out a philosophy of beverage pairing along with general rules and guidelines, but the meat of the book is two lists towards the back: “What to Drink with What you eat” and “What to Eat with What you Drink.” Need to know what to eat with that Montepulciano D’Abruzzo your friend brought back from Italy? Want to know what to pair with sauerkraut? Wondering if there is something you can pair with both doughnuts and popcorn?  This book can help. (Answers: lamb; Gewürztraminer; Champagne).

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Bacchus and Me by Jay McInerney

In 1996, novelist Jay McInerney, until then best known for Bright Lights, Big City, began a second career as one of America’s great wine writer. Bacchus and Me is the first of three collections (the other two being A Hedonist in the Wine Cellar and The Juice) spanning his twenty year career writing about wine for House and Garden magazine, the Wall Street Journal, and other publications. McInerney is a smart, engaging, and sometimes snarky guide to the world of wine (think an oenophile Anthony Bourdain), and any of his books would be great place to deepen your knowledge of wine.

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The Billionaire’s Vinegar by Benjamin Wallace

The story of the world’s most expensive bottle of wine. I reviewed this one here.

I’ve read and can vouch for the above books. Following are some books from my TBR that I plan on reading to continue journey into books and wine:

How to Love Wine: A Memoir and a Manifesto by Eric Asimov

Did you know Isaac Asimov’s nephew writes about wine for the New York Times? Neither did I until this book came out. I thought I already knew how to love wine, but I’m hoping how to love it even better.

The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman who Ruled It by Tilar J. Mazzeo

The story of the French widow who put the Veuve in Veuve Clicquot. Now I want champagne.

Uncorking the Past: The Quest for Wine, Beer, and Other Alcoholic Beverages by Patrick E. McGovern

Recommended by one of the most knowledgeable about wine people I have ever met, this is the story of humanity’s driving desire to get drunk.

Judgement of Paris: California vs. France and the History 1976 Paris Tasting that Revolutionized Wine by George M. Taber

The story of the historic 1976 Paris wine tasting event pitting the best French wines against lowly American wines. A landmark event in American wine history also memorialized in the 2008 film Bottle Shock, which might not be terribly good but does feature both Chris Pine and Alan Rickman.

Napa: The Story of an American Eden by James Conaway

As a Californian who has taken a few trips to Napa in my day, I’m looking forward to learning more about the history of the region.

Now I’m in the mood for a glass of wine. Happy readings!

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