Kathryn, my lovely wife, sometimes gives me a hard time about the pile of books I have collected over the years that sit by my bed side. She thinks that rather than buy these books, I should better utilize the libraries we fund so generously here in Berkeley (a topic for another entry) and she decries the sheer numbers of wine books we have. I need your help. Am I being unreasonable in my obsessions? Collecting and reading so many wine books? Or is this a realistic number of wine books a reasonable wine lover and winemaker would have?
Adventure on the Wine Route, by Kermit Lynch. This is a tale of Kermit’s travels throughout the wine regions of France in search of the best wine to import. Kermit Lynch, besides being our favorite local wine merchant for the last 25 years, is formidable figure in the wine world. He is also one of the few Americans to receive France’s highest honor: the Légion d’honneur. This was in recognition of his influence in bringing about some changes for the better in French wine making. He is also one of the first importers to start shipping wine in refrigerated containers. Some of his stories are funny and some are sad (buying wine in Burgundy was no picnic 20 years ago.) Once we got turned on to Chevillon’s Nuits St Georges, there was no turning back. A must read.
What can I say that hasn’t been already said about DRC or Olney? Just read Olney’s book and you’ll understand what all the fuss is about. Olney’s description of the Vendanges alone is well worth the book’s price. The description of the Pinot Noir grapes, the vineyards and the wine making methodologies of the most celebrated domain of Burgundy are pure poetry; the description of the food procession during the harvest, mouthwatering.
About how a Texan, T.V. Munson, saved the French wine industry, no really! In 1869 France, as well as most of Europe was devastated by the Phyloxra bug. You see this habit of saving France started way earlier than you think. The book reads as good as any mystery novel.
Knowing and Making Wine, by Emile Peynaud. A very technical book that is at times a bit dated, but never the less a superb, thorough enology manual by one of the most renowned wine educator in France. A classic.
I could go on….
The House of Mondavi by Julia Flynn Siler
The Heartbreak Grape by Marq De Villiers
Techniques in Home Winemaking by Daniel Pambianchi
The Way to Make Wine Nicely written by our neighbor and fellow winemaker Sheridan Warwick
What’s your vote? Overboard or reasonable? Any titles I have forgotten that you recommend? Please feel free to comment.