12 Books About Wine
#1 Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way to Civilization by Edward Slingerland.
An “entertaining and enlightening” deep dive into the alcohol-soaked origins of civilization—and the evolutionary roots of humanity’s appetite for intoxication (Daniel E. Lieberman, author of Exercised).
While plenty of entertaining books have been written about the history of alcohol and other intoxicants, none have offered a comprehensive, convincing answer to the basic question of why humans want to get high in the first place.
Drunk elegantly cuts through the tangle of urban legends and anecdotal impressions that surround our notions of intoxication to provide the first rigorous, scientifically-grounded explanation for our love of alcohol. Drawing on evidence from archaeology, history, cognitive neuroscience, psychopharmacology, social psychology, literature, and genetics, Slingerland shows that our taste for chemical intoxicants is not an evolutionary mistake, as we are so often told.
In fact, intoxication helps solve a number of distinctively human challenges: enhancing creativity, alleviating stress, building trust, and pulling off the miracle of getting fiercely tribal primates to cooperate with strangers. Our desire to get drunk, along with the individual and social benefits provided by drunkenness, played a crucial role in sparking the rise of the first large-scale societies. We would not have civilization without intoxication.
From marauding Vikings and bacchanalian orgies to sex-starved fruit flies, blind cave fish, and problem-solving crows, Drunk is packed with fascinating case studies and engaging science, as well as practical takeaways for individuals and communities. The result is a captivating and long overdue investigation into humanity’s oldest indulgence — one that explains not only why we want to get drunk, but also how it might actually be good for us to tie one on now and then.
A popular science book by cognitive psychologist Edward Slingerland is dedicated to the evolutionary meaning of alcohol. Why does alcohol play an important role in human life? How was it approved or, conversely, banned in different eras? The author explains in simple language how alcohol affects health in general and the brain in particular, as well as what mechanisms in the body are started and turned off when it is used. Together with the scientist, we will go into the depths of time to get acquainted with the alcohol traditions of different peoples and learn about the function of alcohol in people’s lives.
“Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way to Civilization” is a thought-provoking book that explores the role of alcohol in shaping human civilization. It delves into the cultural, psychological, and evolutionary dimensions of humanity’s relationship with alcohol, providing a unique perspective on the impact of intoxication throughout history.
The book begins by acknowledging the prevalence of alcohol consumption in societies across the globe, highlighting the fact that alcohol is deeply intertwined with human culture. Slingerland suggests that our inclination towards alcohol consumption is not merely a product of modern society but has deep evolutionary roots. He argues that the desire for altered states of consciousness and the pursuit of pleasure have driven humans to seek out substances like alcohol throughout history.
Throughout the book, Slingerland takes readers on a fascinating journey through time, exploring various cultures and civilizations and their interactions with alcohol. He examines how alcohol has played a role in religious rituals, social bonding, and the development of complex social structures. Slingerland draws on evidence from archaeology, anthropology, and psychology to paint a comprehensive picture of the impact of alcohol on human societies.
Slingerland also delves into the physiological effects of alcohol on the human body and brain, shedding light on how it alters perception, cognition, and behavior. He explores the paradoxical nature of alcohol, which can lead to both positive and negative consequences. While alcohol has the potential to facilitate social interactions and creativity, it can also lead to addiction, violence, and other harmful behaviors.
The author addresses the complex relationship between alcohol and morality, questioning the conventional views on drinking and its impact on individual and societal well-being. He challenges the notion that alcohol is inherently destructive, arguing instead that our cultural attitudes towards alcohol and the way we incorporate it into our lives determine its effects.
In “Drunk,” Slingerland combines scientific research, historical anecdotes, and philosophical reflections to present a nuanced exploration of alcohol’s profound influence on human civilization. By examining the interplay between biology, culture, and human psychology, he offers a fresh perspective on our complex relationship with alcohol and encourages readers to reconsider their preconceived notions about its role in society.
Overall, “Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way to Civilization” is a captivating and enlightening book that invites readers to reflect on the multifaceted aspects of alcohol and its impact on our past and present. It encourages a deeper understanding of our relationship with intoxication and invites us to critically examine the role alcohol plays in our own lives and in the broader context of human civilization.
#2 The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World’s Great Drinks by Amy Stewart
“A book that makes familiar drinks seem new again . . . Through this horticultural lens, a mixed drink becomes a cornucopia of plants.” – NPR’s Morning Edition
“Amy Stewart has a way of making gardening seem exciting, even a little dangerous.” – The New York Times
Sake began with a grain of rice. Scotch emerged from barley, tequila from agave, rum from sugarcane, bourbon from corn. Thirsty yet? In The Drunken Botanist, Amy Stewart explores the dizzying array of herbs, flowers, trees, fruits, and fungi that humans have, through ingenuity, inspiration, and sheer desperation, contrived to transform into alcohol over the centuries.
Of all the extraordinary and obscure plants that have been fermented and distilled, a few are dangerous, some are downright bizarre, and one is as ancient as dinosaurs – but each represents a unique cultural contribution to our global drinking traditions and our history.
This fascinating concoction of biology, chemistry, history, etymology, and mixology – with more than fifty drink recipes and growing tips for gardeners – will make you the most popular guest at any cocktail party.
In the book, the author humorously explores the vast array of herbs, flowers, trees, fruits, and mushrooms that humans have distilled and turned into alcoholic beverages over the centuries. You will learn how sake came from a grain of rice, and whiskey from barley, as well as what unusual and even dangerous types of raw materials were used for alcohol. This is a work at the intersection of biology, chemistry, history and etymology, which also includes more than 50 original recipes for alcoholic beverages.
“The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World’s Great Drinks” by Amy Stewart is a captivating and educational book that explores the fascinating botanical origins of the world’s most beloved alcoholic beverages. Stewart takes readers on a journey through the rich history and cultural significance of various plants that have been used to create the drinks we enjoy today.
The book is organized into chapters that focus on different categories of alcoholic beverages, such as grains, grapes, fruits, herbs, and spices. Within each chapter, Stewart delves into the specific plants and botanical ingredients that contribute to the flavors and aromas of these beverages.
Stewart begins by exploring the importance of grains in the production of beer, whiskey, and other grain-based spirits. She discusses the various types of grains used, such as barley, wheat, and rye, and provides insights into their cultivation, processing, and fermentation. She also highlights the key botanical elements that give these drinks their distinct characteristics.
Moving on to grapes, Stewart delves into the world of wine and uncovers the intricate relationship between different grape varieties, terroir, and winemaking techniques. She discusses the evolution of grape cultivation, the science behind grape breeding, and the impact of climate and soil on wine production. Additionally, she explores the cultural significance of wine throughout history and its role in various societies.
In subsequent chapters, Stewart explores the botanical origins of spirits derived from fruits, herbs, and spices. She discusses the vast array of fruits used in the production of brandy, rum, and other fruit-based spirits, revealing the diversity of flavors and techniques involved. She then delves into the world of botanical ingredients, uncovering the herbs, flowers, and spices that add complexity to cocktails, liqueurs, and bitters.
Throughout the book, Stewart weaves together historical anecdotes, botanical facts, and cocktail recipes to provide a comprehensive understanding of the plants that shape our drinking experiences. She shares interesting stories about the origins of specific drinks, the role of plants in traditional medicine, and the cultural and economic impact of botanical discoveries.
“The Drunken Botanist” is not only a delightful read for cocktail enthusiasts and gardeners but also a valuable resource for anyone interested in botany, history, or the world of alcoholic beverages. By highlighting the vital connection between plants and drinks, Stewart encourages readers to appreciate the natural world and the intricate botanical tapestry that lies behind our favorite libations.
In summary, “The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World’s Great Drinks” offers a captivating blend of botany, history, and mixology. Amy Stewart’s engaging writing style and comprehensive research make this book an enjoyable and informative read, shedding light on the remarkable plants that have shaped the world of drinking throughout the ages.
#3 The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson
“The most useful single volume on wine ever published… If I owned only one wine book, it would be this one.” – Andrew Jefford, Decanter
A major new edition of this landmark wine book that has sold 4.7 million copies worldwide.
Few wine books can be called classic, but the first edition of The World Atlas of Wine made publishing history when it appeared in 1971. It is recognized by critics as the essential and most authoritative wine reference work available. This eighth edition will bring readers, both old and new, up to date with the world of wine.
To reflect all the changes in the global wine scene over the past six years, the Atlas has grown in size to 416 pages and 22 new maps have been added to the wealth of superb cartography in the book. The text has been given a complete overhaul to address the topics of most vital interest to today’s wine-growers and drinkers.
With beautiful photography throughout, Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson, the world’s most respected wine-writing duo, have once again joined forces to create a classic that no wine lover can afford to be without.
“The World Atlas of Wine is the single most important reference book on the shelf of any wine student.” – Eric Asimov, New York Times
“Like a good bottle of wine, you’ll find yourself going back to it again and again… Perfect for anyone who has a thirst for greater wine knowledge.” – Edward Deitch, NBC/today.com
“The World Atlas of Wine belongs on your shelf… The essential rootstock of any true wine lover’s library. A multi-layered snapshot of wine and how it has evolved.” – Dave McIntyre, Washington Post
A “masterwork” and a “must-have” – Food & Wine
This comprehensive reference book provides an in-depth exploration of wine regions around the world. It includes detailed maps, information on grape varieties, vineyards, and winemaking techniques, making it an invaluable resource for wine enthusiasts.
“The World Atlas of Wine” by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson is an authoritative and comprehensive reference book that explores the world of wine. Regarded as one of the most respected and influential wine books, it provides a detailed and in-depth examination of the global wine industry, its history, regions, and specific wines.
The book begins with an introduction that covers the fundamentals of winemaking, including grape varieties, viticulture, and winemaking techniques. It then delves into the heart of the book, which is a meticulously organized exploration of wine regions around the world.
The authors take readers on a journey through the major wine-producing countries and regions, providing detailed maps, descriptions, and analysis of the wines produced in each area. From renowned wine regions like Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Napa Valley to emerging regions such as Oregon, New Zealand, and South Africa, the book offers a comprehensive overview of the diverse wine landscapes across the globe.
Each chapter focuses on a specific region and includes information on its geography, climate, soil types, grape varieties, and winemaking traditions. The authors provide insights into the history and culture of each region, discussing notable wineries, producers, and the characteristics that make their wines unique. They also offer guidance on navigating wine labels, understanding wine classifications, and selecting wines based on personal preferences.
In addition to the regional coverage, “The World Atlas of Wine” delves into broader topics that shape the world of wine. It explores topics such as wine production and consumption statistics, emerging trends in winemaking and viticulture, and the impact of climate change on wine regions. The authors also touch upon wine-related subjects like wine and food pairing, wine service, and the art of wine tasting.
The book is complemented by stunning and detailed maps, which visually represent the wine regions and their sub-regions. These maps provide a visual aid in understanding the geographic layout of the wine-producing areas, the boundaries of appellations, and the proximity of vineyards to key landmarks and bodies of water.
“The World Atlas of Wine” is a comprehensive and authoritative guide that appeals to wine enthusiasts, professionals in the wine industry, and those seeking to expand their knowledge and appreciation of wine. The combined expertise of Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson, two renowned wine writers, ensures that the book is a trusted and reliable resource that reflects the latest trends and developments in the world of wine.
Whether one is a beginner exploring the world of wine or a seasoned connoisseur seeking to deepen their understanding, this book provides a wealth of information, insights, and beautiful visuals that bring the world of wine to life.
#4 The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil
Comprehensive, entertaining, authoritative, and endlessly interesting, The Wine Bible is a lively course from an expert teacher, grounding the reader deeply in the fundamentals—vine-yards and varietals, climate and terroir, the nine attributes of a wine’s greatness—while layering on tips, informative asides, anecdotes, definitions, photographs, maps, labels, and recommended bottles. Discover how to taste with focus and build a wine-tasting memory. The reason behind Champagne’s bubbles. Italy, the place the ancient Greeks called the land of wine. An oak barrel’s effect on flavor. Sherry, the world’s most misunderstood and underappreciated wine. How to match wine with food—and mood.
Considered a classic in the wine world, this book covers a wide range of topics related to wine, including grape varieties, wine regions, winemaking techniques, and food pairing suggestions. It is well-organized and accessible, making it a great guide for beginners and experienced wine lovers alike.
“The Wine Bible” by Karen MacNeil is a comprehensive and highly regarded reference book that covers all aspects of wine. Considered an essential resource for wine enthusiasts and professionals alike, the book provides in-depth information about the world of wine, including its history, production, regions, and varietals.
The book begins with an introduction that lays the foundation for understanding wine, covering topics such as the basics of winemaking, wine tasting techniques, and the proper way to evaluate and appreciate wine. MacNeil’s engaging writing style and passion for the subject create an accessible and enjoyable reading experience.
“The Wine Bible” is organized into several sections, each focusing on a different aspect of wine. The first section explores the history of wine, tracing its origins and development from ancient times to the present. MacNeil takes readers on a journey through the wine cultures of the world, sharing fascinating stories and insights into the people, places, and events that have shaped the wine industry.
The subsequent sections of the book delve into the major wine regions and countries around the world. MacNeil provides comprehensive coverage of both well-known and emerging wine regions, discussing their geography, climate, soil types, grape varieties, and winemaking traditions. She offers detailed profiles of specific wines and wineries, highlighting notable producers and their unique styles. The book includes maps, illustrations, and photographs to enhance the understanding of each region and its wines.
In addition to regional coverage, “The Wine Bible” explores various grape varieties and their characteristics. MacNeil discusses major white and red grape varieties, providing detailed descriptions of their flavors, aromas, and typical styles of wine they produce. She also delves into lesser-known grape varieties, showcasing the diversity and richness of the wine world.
Throughout the book, MacNeil emphasizes the importance of food and wine pairing, offering practical advice and suggestions for enhancing the dining experience. She shares her expertise on selecting the right wine to complement different types of cuisine and explores the concept of terroir, which examines how a wine’s taste is influenced by the specific environment in which the grapes are grown.
“The Wine Bible” also includes informative appendices that cover topics like wine labeling, wine storage and serving temperatures, and a glossary of wine-related terms. These resources serve as valuable references for readers looking to expand their wine knowledge and understanding.
“The Wine Bible” is a comprehensive and approachable guide that covers the vast and intricate world of wine. With its wealth of information, engaging storytelling, and practical advice, the book is a valuable resource for wine enthusiasts, professionals in the wine industry, and anyone seeking to deepen their understanding and appreciation of wine. It serves as an indispensable companion for exploring the rich tapestry of wines from around the globe.
#5 Parker’s Wine Buyer’s Guide by Robert Parker
Featuring a fresh layout, revised maps, and more detail than ever before, the eagerly anticipated seventh edition of Parker’s Wine Buyer’s Guide offers collectors and amateurs alike the ultimate resource to the world’s best wines. In every way, this edition bears out Parker’s stated goal: “To make you a more formidable, more confident wine buyer by providing you with sufficient insider’s information to permit the wisest possible choice when you make a wine-buying decision.”
Understanding that buyers on every level appreciate a good deal, Parker separates overvalued bottles from undervalued, with wine prices instantly shifting according to his evaluations. Indifferent to the wine’s pedigree, Parker’s eminent 100-point rating system allows for independent, consumer-oriented, inside information.
The latest edition of Parker’s Wine Buyer’s Guide includes expanded information on Spain, Portugal, Germany, Australia, Argentina, and Chile, as well as new sections on Israel and Central Europe. As in his previous editions, Parker provides the reassurance of a simple number rating, predictions for future buying potential, and practical overviews of regions and grapes. Altogether, an indispensable resource from the man the Los Angeles Times calls “the most powerful critic of any kind.”
Renowned wine critic Robert Parker shares his expertise in this book, providing insights into wine tasting techniques and tips for evaluating wines. It offers guidance on developing a palate and honing your wine tasting skills.
“Parker’s Wine Buyer’s Guide” by Robert Parker is a highly respected and influential reference book that offers comprehensive reviews and ratings for wines from around the world. Written by Robert Parker, a renowned wine critic and expert, the book provides detailed information and guidance for wine enthusiasts, collectors, and industry professionals.
The primary focus of the book is to provide readers with in-depth wine reviews and ratings. Parker’s evaluations are based on his extensive experience, knowledge, and tasting expertise. He employs a 100-point scale to rate wines, allowing readers to gauge the quality and potential enjoyment of a particular wine. These ratings have had a significant impact on the wine industry, often influencing consumer purchasing decisions and the prices of wines.
The book covers a wide range of wines, including red, white, and sparkling wines from various regions and countries. Parker provides descriptions of each wine, including details about the winery, vineyard, grape varieties, production methods, and tasting notes. These insights help readers understand the characteristics and flavor profiles of different wines, aiding in their decision-making process when selecting wines to purchase or explore.
In addition to individual wine reviews, “Parker’s Wine Buyer’s Guide” offers broader coverage of wine regions and vintages. Parker provides valuable insights into specific wine regions, discussing their history, climate, soil, and winemaking traditions. He highlights notable producers and recommends vintages that are particularly outstanding or worth seeking out. This information allows readers to navigate the complex world of wine and make informed choices when exploring different regions and vintages.
Another noteworthy aspect of the book is its organization and accessibility. The wines are arranged by region and country, making it easy for readers to find information on specific wines of interest. The guide is regularly updated with new editions, ensuring that the information remains current and relevant to contemporary wine enthusiasts.
“Parker’s Wine Buyer’s Guide” is highly regarded for its authoritative and unbiased approach to wine evaluation. Robert Parker is known for his consistency and integrity in his reviews, making his guide a trusted resource for many in the wine industry. While individual taste preferences may differ, the book provides a valuable starting point for those seeking reliable information and guidance when exploring the world of wine.
Overall, “Parker’s Wine Buyer’s Guide” offers a comprehensive and reliable resource for wine enthusiasts. With its detailed reviews, ratings, and insightful commentary, it serves as a trusted companion for individuals looking to enhance their wine knowledge, discover new wines, and make informed purchasing decisions.
#6 The Sommelier’s Atlas of Taste: A Field Guide to the Great Wines of Europe by Rajat Parr and Jordan Mackay
The first definitive reference book to describe, region-by-region, how the great wines of Europe should taste. This will be the go-to guide for aspiring sommeliers, wine aficionados who want to improve their blind tasting skills, and amateur enthusiasts looking for a straightforward and visceral way to understand and describe wine.
In this seminal addition to the wine canon, noted experts Rajat Parr and Jordan Mackay share everything they’ve learned in their decades of tasting wine. The result is the most in-depth study of the world’s greatest wine regions ever published. There are books that describe the geography of wine regions. And there are books that describe the way basic wines and grapes should taste. But there are no books that describe the intricacies of the way wines from various subregions, soils, and appellations should taste. Now, for the first time ever, you can learn about the differences between wines from the 7 grand crus and 40 premier crus of Chablis, or the terroirs in Barolo, Champagne, and Bordeaux. Paying attention to styles, winemakers, soils, and the most cutting-edge of trends, this book explains how to understand the wines of the world not in the classical way, but in the modern way–appellation by appellation, soil by soil, technique by technique–making it an essential reference and instant classic.
This book delves into the concept of terroir and its impact on the taste and style of wines from different European regions. It explores the connection between wine, soil, climate, and winemaking traditions, offering a unique perspective on wine appreciation.
“The Sommelier’s Atlas of Taste: A Field Guide to the Great Wines of Europe” by Rajat Parr and Jordan Mackay is a comprehensive and visually stunning book that explores the wines of Europe in great detail. Written by two experienced wine professionals, the book offers a deep dive into the diverse wine regions of Europe, providing invaluable insights into the terroir, grape varieties, winemaking techniques, and flavor profiles of the continent’s most notable wines.
The book begins by introducing the concept of terroir, emphasizing the impact of geography, climate, and soil on wine production. It then takes readers on a journey through the major wine regions of Europe, including France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, Portugal, and more. Each region is examined individually, offering a wealth of information on its history, unique characteristics, and notable wineries.
Parr and Mackay share their extensive knowledge and personal experiences to guide readers through the wine regions, highlighting key producers, appellations, and grape varieties. They delve into the specific vineyard sites that produce exceptional wines and discuss the winemaking philosophies and traditions that shape the final products.
One of the distinguishing features of “The Sommelier’s Atlas of Taste” is its focus on flavor profiles. The authors explore the taste profiles of wines from different regions, providing detailed descriptions of the aromas, flavors, and textures that can be expected. They offer guidance on how to identify and appreciate the nuances of each wine style, allowing readers to develop their palates and deepen their understanding of European wines.
The book also delves into the concept of wine and food pairing, providing recommendations and suggestions for matching European wines with various cuisines. Parr and Mackay explore the complementary flavors and textures that enhance the dining experience, allowing readers to make informed choices when selecting wines for specific dishes or occasions.
The visual presentation of the book is notable, featuring beautiful maps, photographs, and illustrations that bring the wine regions to life. The authors utilize these visuals to showcase the vineyard landscapes, key landmarks, and geographical features that contribute to the unique character of each region.
“The Sommelier’s Atlas of Taste” is not just a reference book; it also serves as a practical guide for sommeliers, wine professionals, and enthusiasts seeking to deepen their knowledge of European wines. Parr and Mackay’s expertise and passion shine through, making the book an engaging and informative resource for wine lovers at all levels of expertise.
“The Sommelier’s Atlas of Taste” provides a comprehensive exploration of the great wines of Europe. It is a valuable tool for those seeking to expand their understanding of European wine regions, discover new producers and vintages, and further their enjoyment and appreciation of the diverse and fascinating world of European wines.
#7 Adventures on the Wine Route: A Wine Buyer’s Tour of France by Kermit Lynch
When Adventures on the Wine Route was first published, Victor Hazan said, “In Kermit Lynch’s small, true, delightful book there is more understanding about what wine really is than in everything else I have read.” A quarter century later, this remarkable journey of wine, travel, and taste remains an essential volume for wine lovers. In 2007, Eric Asimov, in The New York Times, called it “one of the finest American books on wine,” and in 2012, The Wall Street Journal pro-claimed that it “may be the best book on the wine business.”
In celebration of its twenty-fifth anniversary, Adventures on the Wine Route has been thoroughly redesigned and updated with an epilogue and a list of the great wine connoisseur’s twenty-five most memorable bottles. In this singular tour along the French wine route, Lynch ventures forth to find the very essence of the wine world. In doing so, he never shies away from the attitudes, opinions, and beliefs that have made him one of our most respected and outspoken authorities on wine. Yet his guiding philosophy is exquisitely simple. As he writes in the introduction, “Wine is, above all, about pleasure. Those who make it ponderous make it dull . . . If you keep an open mind and take each wine on its own terms, there is a world of magic to discover.” Adventures on the Wine Route is the ultimate quest for this magic via France’s most distinguished vineyards and wine cellars. Lynch draws vivid portraits of vintners―from inebriated négociants to a man who oversees a vineyard that has been in his family for five hundred years―and memorably evokes the countryside at every turn. “The French,” Lynch writes, “with their aristocratic heritage, their experience and tradition, approach wine from another point of view . . . and one cannot appreciate French wine with any depth of understanding without knowing how the French themselves look at their wines, by going to the source, descending into their cold, humid cellars, tasting with them, and listening to the language they employ to describe their wines.”
Here, Kermit Lynch assures a whole new generation of readers―as well as his loyal fans―that discussions about wine need not focus so stringently on “the pH, the oak, the body, the finish,” but rather on the “gaiety” of the way “the tart fruit perfume[s] the palate and the brain.”
In this memoir, Kermit Lynch shares his experiences as a wine importer and takes readers on a journey through the vineyards of France. It provides an intimate look at the winemakers, their stories, and the rich tapestry of French wine culture.
“Adventures on the Wine Route: A Wine Buyer’s Tour of France” by Kermit Lynch is a captivating and influential book that chronicles the author’s experiences as a wine importer and his exploration of the diverse wine regions of France. Through vivid storytelling and insightful observations, Lynch takes readers on a captivating journey through the vineyards, wineries, and culture of French wine.
The book begins with Lynch sharing his personal journey into the world of wine, describing his passion for discovering authentic and terroir-driven wines. He then embarks on a series of adventures across France, visiting various wine regions and meeting winemakers who share their stories and philosophies with him.
Lynch’s narrative unfolds region by region, covering famous wine areas such as Burgundy, Alsace, the Rhône Valley, and Bordeaux, as well as lesser-known but equally intriguing regions. He dives into the unique characteristics of each region, exploring the different grape varieties, winemaking traditions, and the influence of terroir on the wines produced.
Throughout the book, Lynch introduces readers to the people behind the wines, providing intimate portraits of the winemakers and their dedication to their craft. He shares their struggles, triumphs, and the challenges they face in preserving traditional winemaking techniques while navigating a changing wine industry.
“Adventures on the Wine Route” goes beyond just wine descriptions and regional exploration. Lynch delves into the cultural, historical, and societal aspects that shape the French wine landscape. He reflects on the importance of wine in French culture, the significance of wine in the French way of life, and the impact of changing consumer preferences on traditional winemaking practices.
Lynch’s writing style is engaging and immersive, allowing readers to experience the sights, sounds, and flavors of the French wine regions. He shares his tastings and experiences, vividly describing the aromas, textures, and flavors of the wines he encounters along the way. Through his personal anecdotes and encounters, he captures the essence of each region and its wines, conveying the passion and artistry that goes into winemaking.
“Adventures on the Wine Route” is not just a travelogue; it is also a guide for wine enthusiasts and buyers. Lynch provides practical advice on navigating the world of French wines, offering tips on selecting wines, understanding labels, and finding value in the market. His insights as a wine buyer and importer add a valuable perspective for those interested in exploring and purchasing French wines.
“Adventures on the Wine Route” is a captivating and educational book that offers a rich and intimate portrait of French wine. It is a must-read for wine lovers, professionals in the wine industry, and anyone seeking to gain a deeper understanding of French wine culture, the people behind the wines, and the intricate tapestry of flavors and traditions that make French wines so special.
#8 The Billionaire’s Vinegar: The Mystery of the World’s Most Expensive Bottle of Wine by Benjamin Wallace
The rivetingly strange story of the world’s most expensive bottle of wine, and the even stranger characters whose lives have intersected with it.
The New York Times bestseller, updated with a new epilogue, that 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.
“Part detective story, part wine history, this is one juicy tale, even for those with no interest in the fruit of the vine. . . . As delicious as a true vintage Lafite.” —BusinessWeek
This intriguing book tells the captivating story of a bottle of wine supposedly owned by Thomas Jefferson and sold for a record-breaking price at auction. It delves into the world of wine collectors, forgers, and the fine wine market, blending history, detective work, and wine lore.
“The Billionaire’s Vinegar: The Mystery of the World’s Most Expensive Bottle of Wine” by Benjamin Wallace is a captivating and true story that delves into the world of fine wine, collectors, and the intriguing tale of a controversial bottle of wine. The book explores the history, allure, and sometimes deceptive practices surrounding rare and valuable wines.
The story revolves around a bottle of wine purportedly owned by Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States and an avid wine enthusiast. The bottle, a 1787 Château Lafite Bordeaux, was said to be from Jefferson’s personal collection and was eventually sold at auction for an exorbitant price, making it the world’s most expensive bottle of wine.
Wallace takes readers on a fascinating journey, unraveling the history and provenance of the bottle, as well as the intricacies of the fine wine market. He introduces readers to various collectors, experts, and wine professionals involved in the authentication and valuation of rare wines.
As the story unfolds, the book delves into the methods used to determine the authenticity of old and valuable wines, such as historical research, scientific analysis, and the examination of bottle seals, labels, and corks. It explores the lengths collectors and enthusiasts go to acquire these rare bottles and the sometimes murky world of counterfeit wine.
“The Billionaire’s Vinegar” also explores the wine auction market, highlighting the competitive nature of collectors and the incredible sums of money involved in the pursuit of rare wines. It raises questions about the influence of branding, reputation, and the psychology of wine collecting.
Beyond the specific story of the Jefferson bottle, the book delves into the broader issues surrounding the wine industry, including the challenges of wine authentication, the impact of counterfeiting on the market, and the blurred lines between historical artifacts and luxury commodities.
Wallace’s writing style is engaging and immersive, blending history, investigative journalism, and wine expertise. He brings to life the characters involved in the story, providing a glimpse into the world of high-stakes wine collecting and the passion that drives it.
“The Billionaire’s Vinegar” is not only a captivating tale of mystery and intrigue but also offers insights into the history of wine, the art of wine tasting and authentication, and the complex world of wine collecting. It raises thought-provoking questions about the value we place on rare and expensive bottles and the lengths people are willing to go to possess them.
Overall, this book is a fascinating exploration of the captivating story behind the world’s most expensive bottle of wine and the broader implications it has on the wine industry and the notion of authenticity. It appeals to wine enthusiasts, history buffs, and those intrigued by tales of high-stakes auctions and the allure of rare and valuable treasures.
#9 The Winemaker’s Dance: Exploring Terroir in the Napa Valley by Jonathan Swinchatt and David G. Howell
There is a saying among winemakers that “great wine begins with dirt.” Beginning from this intriguing premise, The Winemaker’s Dance embarks on an eye-opening exploration of “terroir” in one of the greatest places on earth to grow wine―California’s Napa Valley. Jonathan Swinchatt and David G. Howell weave a tale that begins millions of years ago with the clash of continental plates that created the Napa Valley and go on to show how this small region, with its myriad microclimates, complex geologic history, and dedicated winemakers, came to produce world-class wines. A fascinating look at the art and science of winemaking and the only comprehensive book that covers Napa’s geology, history, and environment, The Winemaker’s Dance will help wine enthusiasts better understand wine talk and wine writing and, most importantly, wine itself.
The Winemaker’s Dance is animated by the voices of Napa’s winemakers talking about their craft. The book also contains two driving tours through the valley that highlight the landscapes and wineries discussed. An array of unique illustrations―including shaded relief maps overlaid with color aerial photographs―provide a new and illuminating look at the region: its bedrock, sediments, soils, sun, wind, and rain. The expansive narrative considers how these elements influence wines from particular vineyards and how specific winemaking practices can bring out or mask aspects of terroir. It concludes with a discussion of the state of the winemaking industry today.
Unraveling the complex relationship between the people, the earth, and the vines of Napa Valley, The Winemaker’s Dance brings the elusive concept of terroir to a broad audience, adding a vibrant dimension to the experience of the valley’s wines. It also provides insights that enhance our understanding of wines and winegrowing regions the world over.
Focusing on the Napa Valley wine region, this book delves into the concept of terroir and its influence on winemaking. It profiles various winemakers and vineyards, providing a fascinating glimpse into the art and science of producing wines with distinct character.
“The Winemaker’s Dance: Exploring Terroir in the Napa Valley” by Jonathan Swinchatt and David G. Howell is a captivating book that delves into the concept of terroir and its influence on winemaking in the renowned Napa Valley wine region of California. Through a combination of personal stories, interviews with winemakers, and in-depth exploration of vineyards, the authors provide a comprehensive understanding of the unique characteristics and diversity of Napa Valley wines.
The book begins by introducing the concept of terroir, the idea that the combination of soil, climate, geography, and human intervention in a specific vineyard site contributes to the distinctive character of the wines produced there. Swinchatt and Howell then embark on a journey through the Napa Valley, examining different vineyards and their specific terroirs.
Throughout the book, the authors highlight the various microclimates, soil types, and geological features that shape the flavors and qualities of Napa Valley wines. They explore the relationship between vineyard management practices, such as irrigation, canopy management, and sustainable farming, and the expression of terroir in the final wines.
“The Winemaker’s Dance” also emphasizes the role of the winemaker in interpreting and expressing the unique characteristics of the vineyard site. The authors provide insights into the winemaking techniques, decisions, and artistic choices that winemakers employ to create wines that reflect the terroir of their vineyards.
The book features interviews with prominent winemakers in the Napa Valley, who share their personal philosophies, experiences, and approaches to winemaking. These firsthand accounts offer valuable perspectives on the challenges and rewards of working with Napa Valley terroir and the dedication required to produce exceptional wines.
Swinchatt and Howell’s narrative is enriched with beautiful photographs that showcase the vineyards, landscapes, and winemaking processes of the Napa Valley. The visual elements bring the story to life and provide readers with a deeper appreciation for the region’s natural beauty and viticultural practices.
“The Winemaker’s Dance” goes beyond technical descriptions of terroir and winemaking techniques. It explores the cultural and historical context of the Napa Valley, highlighting the pioneers and visionaries who shaped the region’s reputation and contributed to its prominence in the wine world.
Furthermore, the authors touch on the challenges faced by the Napa Valley, including the delicate balance between preserving the natural environment, managing water resources, and maintaining the quality and authenticity of the wines produced. They discuss the ongoing evolution of the Napa Valley wine industry and the pursuit of sustainability and quality in a changing climate.
“The Winemaker’s Dance” provides a comprehensive and immersive exploration of terroir and winemaking practices in the Napa Valley. It offers a deeper understanding of the factors that contribute to the unique character of Napa Valley wines and the delicate interplay between nature, human intervention, and the artistry of the winemaker. The book is a valuable resource for wine enthusiasts, professionals, and anyone interested in the intricacies of terroir and the fascinating world of Napa Valley winemaking.
#10 Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste by Bianca Bosker
“Thrilling . . . [told] with gonzo élan . . . When the sommelier and blogger Madeline Puckette writes that this book is the Kitchen Confidential of the wine world, she’s not wrong, though Bill Buford’s Heat is probably a shade closer.” —Jennifer Senior, The New York Times
Professional journalist and amateur drinker Bianca Bosker didn’t know much about wine—until she discovered an alternate universe where taste reigns supreme, a world of elite sommeliers who dedicate their lives to the pursuit of flavor. Astounded by their fervor and seemingly superhuman sensory powers, she set out to uncover what drove their obsession, and whether she, too, could become a “cork dork.”
With boundless curiosity, humor, and a healthy dose of skepticism, Bosker takes the reader inside underground tasting groups, exclusive New York City restaurants, California mass-market wine factories, and even a neuroscientist’s fMRI machine as she attempts to answer the most nagging question of all: what’s the big deal about wine? What she learns will change the way you drink wine—and, perhaps, the way you live—forever.
In this entertaining and informative book, Bianca Bosker immerses herself in the world of wine professionals and explores the intricacies of the wine industry. It offers a glimpse into the passionate and often eccentric world of sommeliers, wine tasting competitions, and cutting-edge wine research.
“Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste” by Bianca Bosker is a captivating and entertaining book that takes readers on a thrilling journey into the world of wine and the people who are deeply passionate about it. Bosker, a journalist and former technology editor, immerses herself in the wine industry to explore the obsessive and fascinating subculture of sommeliers, collectors, and scientists.
The book begins with Bosker’s personal transformation from a wine novice to a determined wine enthusiast. Intrigued by the sensory complexities and cultural significance of wine, she embarks on a quest to understand and master the art of tasting. Bosker decides to leave her desk job and dives headfirst into the world of wine, taking on various roles and immersing herself in the demanding and competitive world of sommeliers.
Bosker’s narrative takes readers behind the scenes of high-end restaurants, where she observes and trains with top sommeliers, learning about their rigorous tasting techniques and the intense dedication required to develop a refined palate. She shares the challenges, both physical and mental, of blind tasting, as well as the thrill of identifying and appreciating the nuances of different wines.
As Bosker delves deeper into the wine world, she explores the unconventional and sometimes controversial approaches of “rogue scientists” who are using cutting-edge technology and research to push the boundaries of wine production and taste perception. She meets innovators who are challenging traditional winemaking practices and experimenting with unconventional methods to create new and unique flavors.
Throughout the book, Bosker encounters passionate collectors and wine enthusiasts who are willing to spend astronomical sums of money on rare and coveted bottles. She investigates the world of wine auctions, where collectors compete fiercely for prized bottles, and the allure of big bottle hunters who seek out the most exclusive and sought-after wines.
“Cork Dork” not only explores the sensory aspects of wine tasting but also delves into the psychology, sociology, and culture surrounding wine consumption. Bosker investigates the influence of marketing, labeling, and branding on wine perception, as well as the social dynamics at play in the wine industry and the wine-drinking community.
Bosker’s writing is immersive and humorous, offering a mix of personal anecdotes, historical background, and scientific explanations. She manages to convey her own passion for wine while maintaining a critical and investigative perspective, questioning the conventions and assumptions of the wine world.
Overall, “Cork Dork” is a captivating and enlightening exploration of the wine world, filled with intriguing characters, captivating stories, and a deep appreciation for the art and science of taste. It is a must-read for wine enthusiasts, professionals in the industry, and anyone interested in the fascinating world of wine and the obsessive individuals who dedicate their lives to it.
#11 Judgment of Paris: California vs. France and the Historic 1976 Paris Tasting That Revolutionized Wine by 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.
This book recounts the famous blind tasting event in 1976 that pitted California wines against their French counterparts. It explores the surprising outcome and its impact on the perception of American wines, revolutionizing the global wine industry.
“Judgment of Paris: California vs. France and the Historic 1976 Paris Tasting That Revolutionized Wine” by George M. Taber is a compelling and historically significant book that recounts the story of the renowned 1976 Paris Wine Tasting, a blind tasting event that transformed the perception of California wines and put them on the global wine map.
The book revolves around a pivotal moment in the wine world when a British wine merchant named Steven Spurrier organized a blind tasting competition in Paris, France, pitting top-ranked French wines against relatively unknown wines from California. The French wines were considered the pinnacle of winemaking excellence, and California wines were largely disregarded as inferior.
Taber, a journalist at the time, was the only journalist present to witness this landmark event. His book provides a detailed account of the tasting, its participants, and the surprising outcome that shook the wine industry.
Taber introduces readers to the winemakers and personalities involved in the tasting, both from France and California. He explores their backgrounds, approaches to winemaking, and the challenges they faced in the industry. Through interviews and anecdotes, Taber captures the passion, determination, and innovation of these individuals who played a crucial role in the tasting.
The book describes the blind tasting itself, where a panel of esteemed French judges, including some of the most respected wine experts in the world, were asked to rank the wines based on their quality. To the shock and disbelief of many, the California wines, both white and red, surpassed the French wines in the rankings, challenging the long-held belief in France’s wine superiority.
Taber delves into the aftermath of the tasting and its profound impact on the wine industry. He explores how the results of the Paris Tasting led to a newfound recognition and appreciation for California wines, propelling them into the global spotlight. The book highlights the significance of this event in breaking the stranglehold of traditional European winemaking and opening doors for New World wines.
In addition to recounting the events of the tasting, “Judgment of Paris” also provides historical context, discussing the wine landscape of both California and France leading up to the tasting. Taber explores the cultural, economic, and political factors that shaped the wine industry in each region and sets the stage for the transformative moment of the Paris Tasting.
Taber’s writing is engaging and informative, blending storytelling with detailed descriptions of wines, vineyards, and winemaking techniques. He takes readers on a journey through the flavors, aromas, and textures of the wines, allowing them to experience the excitement and tension of the tasting firsthand.
“Judgment of Paris” is a captivating and enlightening book that celebrates the triumph of California wines and the lasting impact of the 1976 Paris Tasting. It is a must-read for wine enthusiasts, history buffs, and anyone interested in the fascinating intersection of culture, competition, and perception in the world of wine.
#12 Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine by Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack
The best introductory book on wine to come along in years” (The Washington Post) from the creators of the award-winning Wine Folly website
Red or white? Cabernet or merlot? Light or bold? What to pair with food? Drinking great wine isn’t hard, but finding great wine does require a deeper understanding of the fundamentals.
Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine will help you make sense of it all in a unique infographic wine book. Designed by the creators of the Wine Folly website, which has won Wine Blogger of the Year from the International Wine & Spirits Competition, this book combines sleek, modern information design with data visualization and gives readers pragmatic answers to all their wine questions, including:
• Detailed taste profiles of popular and under-the-radar wines.
• A guide to pairing food and wine.
• A wine-region section with detailed maps.
• Practical tips and tricks for serving wine.
• Methods for tasting wine and identifying flavors.
Packed with information and encouragement, Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine will empower your decision-making with practical knowledge and give you confidence at the table.
This visually appealing book presents wine information in an accessible and engaging manner. It covers wine basics, grape varieties, tasting techniques, and food pairing suggestions, using colorful infographics and illustrations to enhance understanding.
“Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine” by Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack is a comprehensive and visually stunning book that serves as a practical guide for wine lovers of all levels of expertise. It aims to demystify the world of wine and empower readers to explore, understand, and appreciate wine with confidence.
The book is designed with a visually engaging format, featuring colorful infographics, maps, charts, and illustrations that make complex wine concepts accessible and easy to grasp. It covers a wide range of topics related to wine, including grape varieties, wine regions, wine styles, tasting techniques, food and wine pairing, and wine production methods.
Puckette and Hammack take a systematic approach in presenting the information, starting with the basics of wine appreciation and gradually delving into more advanced topics. They provide clear explanations of wine terminology, guiding readers through the process of understanding wine labels, deciphering tasting notes, and navigating wine lists with ease.
The book offers in-depth profiles of major grape varieties and explores their characteristics, flavors, and typical regions of origin. It provides insights into the diversity of wine styles from around the world, showcasing both classic and emerging wine regions. The authors also delve into the factors that influence wine quality, such as climate, soil, and winemaking techniques.
One of the strengths of “Wine Folly” is its emphasis on visual learning. The book uses infographics and maps to illustrate key concepts, such as the wine production process, flavor profiles, and regional wine maps. This visual approach enhances the reader’s understanding of wine and helps them develop a more intuitive grasp of the complex world of wine.
The authors also delve into practical aspects of wine appreciation, including tips on wine tasting techniques, glassware selection, and proper wine storage. They provide guidance on how to evaluate and describe wines, empowering readers to develop their own wine vocabulary and confidently express their preferences.
Another notable aspect of the book is its exploration of food and wine pairing. Puckette and Hammack offer guidelines and suggestions for successful food and wine combinations, highlighting the interplay of flavors, textures, and characteristics that can enhance the dining experience.
“Wine Folly” is not only informative but also approachable and entertaining. The authors infuse the book with their passion for wine, sharing personal anecdotes and stories that bring the subject matter to life. They convey their love for exploration and discovery, encouraging readers to venture beyond their comfort zones and try new wines.
Overall, “Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine” is an invaluable resource for wine enthusiasts who want to deepen their knowledge and appreciation of wine. It serves as a practical reference that combines visual appeal with comprehensive information, making it an enjoyable and educational read for anyone seeking to expand their understanding of the world of wine.
A bit long list, right? These books offer a diverse range of perspectives on wine, covering topics such as tasting and buying wines, wine regions, history and the culture of wine. They provide a wealth of knowledge and storytelling that can appeal to both wine enthusiasts and those interested in the rich world of wine. Enjoy your reading and drinking!