I seem to be in ‘book mode’ the last week or two. I’m a bit of a bookworm, so it’s fun for me to mess around at the intersection of wine and the printed word. I still don’t own an eReader device, by the way – I prefer Book 1.0 – you know, the kind with actual pages that you can stick a bookmark between.
Anyway, here’s another piece of printed word that intersects with the wacky world of wine.
David White’s Sippin’ on Top of the World: Toasting Good Times and Better Days, of which I recently received a sample copy, is a bit of a strange book.
In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it’s being misrepresented.
Sippin’ on Top of the World isn’t so much a list of wine toasts (as the subtitle would lead you to believe) as it is a series of spiritual wine meditations. Which makes sense when you consider that its author, David White, is the co-founder of the “WineSpirit Institute for the Study of Wine and Spirituality.”
At this point, your mind may be screaming “CULT! CULT!” and planning to run away as quickly as you can lest you be tainted by the odiferous funk of the religious cook. It would be an understandable reaction, though one that I’d argue was totally incorrect.
In fact, depending on your point of view, dismiss Sippin’ on Top of the World too readily and you’d be missing out on some potentially enthralling conversation topics, not to mention possible sources of inspiration…
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I find wine history fascinating. This is because I’m a geek not only about wine, but also about history in general – a trait I picked up in undergrad when I roomed with two good-natured History majors at Saint Joseph’s University. My undergrad studies centered on English Lit., and so the combination of overdosing on fiction and being subtly influenced by my roomies has led to, well, let’s just say several years of reading fascinating non-fiction.
No surprise then that Rod Phillps’ A Short History of Wine should be right up my alley. And while it is a very good read – I’d certainly recommend the book to budding wine geeks – I’d caution that it doesn’t exactly jump out of the gate with intoxicating speed.
Like a young Barolo, Phillips’ book starts dryly and slowly. In fact, it took me several months of starting, stopping and restarting it before I finally got into the rhythm of A Short History of Wine. I’m pleased as syrah-spiked punch that I did stick with it, though, because it offers up a dizzying array of well-researched and fascinating wine facts (along with subtle notes of Phillips’ opinion) on nearly every page – that is, every page after wine hits its heyday (Medieval times) as a precursor to the beverage and industry that we now know and love.
I thought that I’d offer up a couple of the mythbusting tidbits that Phillips’ deftly provides in A Short History of Wine, both to tempt those budding History buffs out there and to( hopefully) clear up misconceptions about a few assumptions that even experienced wine lovers tend to make about the history of their favorite beverage.
Francophiles be warned, I’m going to bust up some French-related wine myths first. Also, if you’re French, note that the next few paragraphs involve both the Dutch and the English. Try not to let your thousand years of mutual aggression get in the way of the enjoyment, ok?…
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I know what you’re thinking, and the answer is No, 1WineDude has not become a German Wine Blog. It just looks that way because October has (primarily) featured German wines and German wine happs. This is due to TasteLive.com having dedicated the month to featuring selections picked by the organization Wines of Germany (I helped to set this up and might collect a modest “finder’s fee” for that – if I’m lucky). Also, Wines of Germany keeps sending me pictures of the German hotties who were vying for the German Wine Queen title, and I’m just shallow enough that those caught my interest.
I’m excited to announce that I’ll be your co-host for the wrap-up German wine event at TasteLive.com on October 22, which is open to the public – that means that you can join us in tasting and tweeting about the following wines live from the comfort of your favorite drinking chair! (TasteLive has partnered with Bacchus Wine and Spirits for those that can’t source the wines locally).
- Selbach-Oster, Riesling, Kabinett, Mosel, 2007/2008
- Leitz, Riesling, “Eins Zwei Dry,” Rheingau, 2008
- Dönnhoff, Riesling, Nahe, 2008
- Darting, Riesling, Durkheimer Nonnengarten, Kabinett, Pfalz, 2008
I’ve had the Selbach-Oster and the Leitz, and they’re both really tasty wines, which probably bodes well for the other selections. Those of you who have been following along at home with the previous October events featuring German wines know that the selections have all be very good, so I’m really looking forward to the 22nd.
More detail is available on the TasteLive Blog.
Sign up over at TasteLive.com, get yourself the wines, and join us on the 22nd!