There are moments that mark a sort of rite of passage for personalities in any field. With respect to writing on the topic of wine, there’s the first time you’re given a wine sample, the first time you’re invited to a tasting event or a tour of a wine region, the first time someone quotes your review of a wine, etc.
Like sex (okay, that’s a really poor comparison), they say you never forget your first time, and I suspect that in any case several of those first time events were almost as awkward an exchange as that first time.
I was recently involved in another first (for me) when it comes to being a wine personality (for lack of a better term): being asked to write a blurb for someone else’s wine book, the soon-to-be-released “Wines of South America: The Essential Guide” by Master Somm. Evan Goldstein.
On the finished product (a page proof copy of which I recently received), my blurb in support of Goldstein’s latest shares the back page with another blurb penned by the indefatigable Laura Catena of Catena Zapata; so I’m in very good company as far as covers go…
It’s a bit flattering to be asked, I suppose, but also awkward in the sense that, if the book sucked for some reason, I’d have to figure out how to gracefully decline. But after reading a pre-proof copy of Evan’s new book I was pretty enthusiastic to be a part of recommending it.
Since I’m now quoted on the back of the thing, I can’t give you an impartial review, but I can tell you that I found Wines of South America informative and entertaining. Being a fan of writing that’s soaked in personality, this was right up my alley. It helps that, having recently toured some of the countries given focus in Evan’s book – Uruguay, Chile, Argentina – my experiences in those locales mirror the highlights, stories, tips and anecdotes that Goldstein includes in the new book, which from my perspective means that he “got it right.” It also means that I felt his takes on the South-American wine-producing countries that I’ve not yet had the pleasure of visiting – Brazil, Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, and Venezuela (yes, seriously, that Venezuela) – are as authoritative and trustworthy as a wine geek might hope.
So… here’s what I had to say (in condensed form) about Goldstein’s Wines of South America:
“Evan Goldstein’s ‘Wines of South America’ is as long on facts, useful information, and entertainment value as the Andes range is long on mountains. If you’re looking for a complete reference on the winemaking countries of South America – from honest appraisals of the region’s best producers to practical tips on how to best enjoy and visit this beautiful continent – you’d be hard-pressed to find another wine book that measures up to Goldstein’s latest.”
Wines of South America will be be available on August 22, 2014 but you can pre-order it now (and if you’re a fan of the South American wine scene, you’ll probably want to do that); the hardcover will set you back about $31.