Articles Tagged wine book

Wine Humor: Doug Pike’s “Gone With The Wine”

Vinted on December 1, 2009 binned in book reviews, wine books

I was recently contacted by Doug Pike, the cartoonist whose wine-related humor has been published on the subscription-only portion of eRobertParker.com for about four years now.  Doug has released a collection titled Gone With The Wine, which pulls together about 100 of the cartoons that appeared on Parker’s website (Parker supplies the book’s foreword).

Doug came across 1WineDude.com via my recent contribution to CNBC’s Wines for the Holidays, and has become a fan “mostly because of your non-elitist approach to wine, which I share.”  Amen to that, brother!

Doug was kind enough to send a review copy of Gone With The Wine and also give permission for me to post some of the cartoons from the book.  While some of the cartoons are clearly geared towards the fine-wine-loving crowd that have made Parker a household name, I found myself chuckling more often than not at the fun being poked at wine geeks (myself included among those ranks) throughout Gone With The Wine

The cold hard truth is that we really are that goofy – and long may we remain that goofy, so long as we take the wine – but not ourselves – seriously.

A few samples of Doug’s work appear below, with his permission – enjoy!…

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Riesling, Rocks, and Magic: The Effects of Soil on Aroma

Vinted on October 29, 2009 binned in german wine, wine books

At this point, most anyone who has listened to me speak (or read my blog posts) about Riesling for more than six seconds is (painfully) aware of my love-affair with the noble wine grape, I consider it probably the greatest white wine variety due to its uncanny ability to retain a signature while also elegantly translating a sense of place as purely as the best red wine grapes, blah blah blah…

Truth be told, even I’m getting sick of hearing about how great I think Riesling is.

Having said that… I cannot resist the temptation to relay some interesting facts about how Riesling is able to translate a sense of place so well.

You see, I’ve been sitting on a book (well, not literally sitting on it, just waiting to read it… ah, forget it…) that I received as a sample from the Wines of Germany folks during my trip to German wine country earlier this year.  The book is a bit of a sleeper – it’s dry reading, oscillates wildly between wine-geek information on Riesling, producer profiles, and beginner’s guide takes on how to enjoy Riesling wine.  It’s also translated a bit awkwardly from the German, which means the English version reads with an odd cadence and uses the word “indeed” multiple times in the same sentence – as in

Indeed, what I am about to write in this sentence is indeed going to reinforce what was stated in the sentence prior to this one!”

No surprise then that this book isn’t exactly lighting up the Amazon.com sales rank charts (currently, it’s at number 2,832,386).

But, that doesn’t stop the book, titled simply Riesling, by Chrstina Fischer and Ingo Swoboda, from delivering a masterstroke of Riesling wine appreciation.  At least, it did for me. (Indeed) Chapter three of Riesling is (indeed) so freakin’ awesome that I’m going to summarize a large section of it, because it provides what might be the most eloquent overview of the link between Riesling wine aromas and soil types that I’ve ever seen.

(Indeed) It’s like the f—king Rosetta Stone for translating Riesling soil types!

And that is enough to get any Riesling wine geek’s mouth watering (Indeed!)…

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Zen Wine: David White’s Sippin’ On Top Of The World

Vinted on October 21, 2009 binned in book reviews, wine books, zen wine

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.”

Uh-ohhhhh.

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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A Portrait of the Satirist as an Old Winemaker: An Interview with Bonny Doon’s Randall Grahm

Vinted on October 8, 2009 binned in book reviews, interviews, winemaking

To many people, the charismatic front-man of the iconic Boony Doon wine brands, Randall Grahm, is the Mad Hatter of the wine world.

Once they read Randall’s recently-released book, Been Doon So Long: A Randall Grahm Vinthology, those same people will realize that they’re dead wrong.

Randall Grahm is not the wine world’s Mad Hatter; Randall Grahm is the wine world’s Cheshire Cat, equally (and eloquently) adept at satirizing the modern trends of the wine industry as he is at continually surprising wine consumers with quirky, excellent wines inspired by a desire to transmit the equally quirky and excellent message that California’s terroir has to tell.

Been Doon So Long is, at times, a masterstroke; it’s just as interesting, funny, poignant, and acerbic as any wine that California has ever had to offer.  Clearly an avid lover of literature, music, and wine, Randall Grahm has somehow managed to utilize all three as he takes us through the history of Bonny Doon, offers intimate glimpses of his personal demons, and sends up many of the wine world’s most sacred cows.  If he has a mad hat, Grahm is clearly capable of pulling rabbits out of it – both when it comes to wine and when it comes to writing.

Been Doon So Long is a unique work, and while it might not be the kind of book that you’d expect from the world of wine, it’s probably the book that the wine world deserves right now.  I found reading the book to be rewarding, but rather like the fabled rabbit hole, the deeper you get into it, the more difficult it becomes to fully explain.  Which is why I figured I’d let someone msarter (Randall) explain it instead.

[ Special note to the FTC: Have I received the book and Bonny Doon wines as free samples? Yep. Did that influence my review of the book? I don’t think so, but I’m not a psychologist. ]

Following is an interview I conducted with Randall this week while he’s in the midst of his promotional tour for Been Doon So Long.  Like the book, the interview will give you a glimpse into the rabbit hole of Randall’s mind.  You’ll encounter below a guy with a formidable prowess with the written word, strong opinions, a consuming passion to find a Californian wine that truly speaks of its origin, and who isn’t afraid to wear his emotions in plain view.

But before you head down this rabbit hole, be sure to gather up your smarties, love of literature, an open mind, and a glass of something unique and terroir-driven.  You’re gonna need ‘em…

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