Posts Filed Under book reviews
I first met the World Wine Guys (otherwise known as Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen) when in New York City tasting through a shedload of New Zealand Sauv Blancs and Pinot Noirs (and learning how the Kiwis shuck oysters).
At the time, they told me that they were in throes of writing not a wine tome (despite their impressive resume of wine publication contributions), but a… cook book.
They Summer (now there’s a verb only ascot-wearing jet-setters could love) at a place called Fire Island in the Hamptons (which I like to call the South Fork, because it pisses Hamptonites off when I do that), where there are few restaurants. Out of necessity, they therefore spent a lot of time devising meals and procuring the local fresh produce to make them during their Summer holidays. The result of their experience is the brand-new – and quite excellent – Fire Island Cookbook, recently released by Atria Books (hardback will set you back about $20, the eBook version runs about $15 – I received a sample copy).
To celebrate the dawn of Summer, I’m giving away a hardback copy of The Fire Island Cookbook – here’s how to get in on that action…
For a chance to win, leave a comment on this post and let us know your fave Summer food and wine pairing (I’m particularly interested in your go-to Summer wines… for some reason I’ve been craving Vermentino myself…). On June 5th (in one week), I will randomly pick a commenter from those comments, who will then take home a copy of the book.
Simple enough, right? So get crackin’ – let us know about those awesome Summer culinary picks!
Cheers – and good luck!
Mary Frances Kennedy (M.F.K.) Fisher shuffled off the mortal coil twenty years ago this Summer.
Twenty years on after her departure, her status has not change a single jot: Fisher’s still the greatest food writer who has ever lived.
Don’t believe me? Try out the latest collection of some of her work, Musings On Wine And Other Libations (about $18; I received a review copy), which focuses almost exclusively on Fisher’s wine prose and is edited by Anne Zimmerman (who last year wrote the book on Fisher – literally).
What you will find is a writer who had an ability to ingrain context into wine tales that was so uncannily pure that I suspect it was enmeshed within her DNA, along with an editor who puts context on top of all that context. Musings On Wine And Other Libations ends up providing a surfeit of context that should get most wine geeks swooning.
And when you read Fisher’s insightful musing about vino, know this: as god as it is, it probably isn’t even her best writing…
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In part of his coverage/promotion of wine blogger Alder Yarrow’s new gig as part of Team Jancis over at JancisRobinson.com, wine blogger Tom Wark rightly points out that it’s almost paradoxically at once significant and also a natural, balladromic bit of evolution to have an established wine personality tap into the blog-o-world when seeking to add more wine writing talent to their publications.
Tom also claimed that “we are living in the Golden Age of Wine Writing and the Golden Age of Wine Writing Talent.”
I read those words during the same period of time that I was making way through a review copy of long-time wine scribe Gerald Asher’s new collection of writings, A Vineyard In My Glass (not literally at the same exact time, of course, I’m not Thomas Jefferson, so I’m not reading eight books simultaneously while also dictating correspondences and cataloging in detail how many of my goats died from frost exposure last Winter while slaking my thirst with Scuppernong , or whatever), and I can tell you that just about every page of Asher’s collection screams out (in a polite, congenial British scream, of course) that Tom is way off base in his claim. I say this with mad respect for Tom, of course, but…
Sorry, bro. We are not even close to being in a golden age of wine writing talent – unless you extend that Age’s starting point back far enough to include the writings of Asher and Hugh Johnson; because in terms of plying the craft of writing and applying the focused, dedicated talent of it to the world of wine, those two writers have NO modern equal.
If you’re reading this and you haven’t sampled the writings of those two stalwarts, then you need to do so with all speed. If you’re reading this and you fancy yourself a wine writer, I’m willing to bet a case of DRC that you couldn’t go toe-to-toe in terms of writing skills with either one of those gentlemen, even on your best day…
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“That’s just… man, that’s just… NOT right!”
The above quote is from a friend of mine, in reaction to learning that some of his favorite wines – and, in fact, probably most wines – are made with grapes purchased from growers. As in, grapes that did not come from a patch of land directly behind a winery building on a farm somewhere, tended with care by the winemaker’s own hands.
Imagine how he would have felt if he’d seen the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau’s list of “Materials authorized for the treatment of wine and juice.” While it’s not quite as bad as the list of additives that are used to “enhance” our processed foodstuffs, it certainly feels a lot more “McDonald’s” than “Old MacDonald.”
As consumers, lacking evidence to the alternative we have a tendency to assume (naively) that what we consume is fundamentally natural, or that a “natural” product is somehow a superior one. This premise – that the natural is always the better – serves as a driving force behind award-winning wine journalist Alice Feiring’s new book, Naked Wine: Letting Grapes Do What Comes Naturally ($10 eBook, or about $15 in print – I received an advanced review copy).
Feiring is a self-proclaimed polarizing figure in the wine world, and if her intention with Naked Wine was to solidify her controversial status, she could hardly have chosen a better cement than the topic of “natural wine”…
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