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The best books to buy wine lovers as Christmas gifts in 2021 Wine News

Only a handful of wineries in the world attract selfie-sticks and tourists alike the Leaning Tower of Pisa. One of them is Romanée-Conti from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. I myself stood by its low stone walls, gazing at a seemingly unremarkable patch of vines, vainly trying to discern the grandeur in their swaying leaves as a bus packed with tourists walked along the narrow alleyway. Burgundian behind me.

Another would be Screaming Eagle in Oakville, Calif., If only it were that easy to find. Screaming Eagle doesn’t make it easy for aspiring wine pilgrims. The only address on their website is a PO Box. Exceptionally, there are also no photos of vineyards and in On California: From Napa to Nebbiolo Wine Tales from the Golden State edited by Susan Keevil (Wine Academy, £ 30), journalist Adam Lechmere, describing his own visit to the property, said he was asked not to photograph the entrance “for fear of facilitating its identification”.

Screaming Eagle is, as Lechmere points out, one of the lesser-known wines in the world. Older vintages can sell for over £ 15,000 a bottle, yet its fame is widespread, “it’s amazing how many people – veteran wine writers, sommeliers at world-class restaurants – haven’t tried it. nor visited the cellar ”. The mystery makes Lechmere’s living essay, a mixture of observation and research, all the more illuminating. It’s one of some three dozen articles in On California, one of the beverage books published this year, that should be on every wine lover’s Christmas list, even if they don’t think so. not very interested in American wine.

This is in part the formula that makes this book so successful. The traditional approach to exploring a wine country in book form usually ends up looking more like a textbook than something you want to read for fun. Too often you feel the pressure of the writer to go through every detail, from soil types to growers, and what gets lost is the very heart of what you actually want to know. On California eschews this bear trap, instead offering a diverse banquet of commentary and ideas, some specially commissioned, others adapted from previously published work, which tells the story of California wine’s meteoric rise under a much more appetizing and digestible form.

This is a recipe that the Académie du Vin has already deployed, with On Bordeaux, published last year, and it does it well: the other reason why On California is so good is that it has been extremely well ridden. Contributors include Jon Bonné on “the Mavericks who paved the way for the glory and the storm they created when they got there”; Fiona Morrison MW on Ridge Vineyards; Elaine Chukan Brown on recent forest fires; Jane Anson on the personalities who brought cabernet sauvignon to California in the first place; and Patricia Gastaud-Gallagher and the late Steven Spurrier in conversation, discussing the famous 1976 Paris Judgment.

Best wine books to buy as Christmas gifts in 2021

The Académie du Vin, a publishing house created to specialize in wine, also published two of my other favorite books this year. Both are reissues. One is the revival of a forgotten classic. In the Vine Country by Edith Somerville and Martin Ross (with an introduction by Me, Académie du Vin, £ 16.99) was originally published in book form in 1893. Written in first person, it depicts a glorious image of Bordeaux, seen through the capricious and mischievously observant eyes of Somerville and Ross – cousins ​​and writing partners.

The second is – or should be – a modern classic. Oz Clarke on Wine: Your Global Wine Companion by Oz Clarke (Wine Academy, £ 30) was originally published by Little Brown a few years ago under the title Red & White in a package that did not do this great book justice and great man. It’s a digest of his life’s work and you can feel his expansive and chatty presence in every sentence.

Passionate wine lovers with even the slightest interest in Portugal are urged to consider putting Foot Trodden: Portugal and the Time Forgot by Simon J Woolf and Ryan Opaz (Morning Claret Productions, £ 25) on their Santa Claus list. There is more to Portugal than port and vinho verde, and the wines are worth knowing. This beautiful work, by Woolf (author of Amber Revolution) and Opaz (whose excellent photographs adorn the book) is not intended to be encyclopedic, but rather to introduce readers to a range of winemakers that the authors love.

The other regional guide that impressed me this year was Wines of the Rhône by Matt Walls (Infinite Ideas, £ 33.60). It’s written in the classic regional style manual, but Walls does it very well and, with a few years of living near Avignon under his belt and a bright, hardworking palate, it’s a confident voice.

My last recommendation is a piece of fun for flavor lovers. It’s called The Alcorithm: A Revolutionary Flavor Guide to Find the Drinks You’ll Love by Rob Buckhaven (Michael Joseph, £ 16.99). Kind of a flavor thesaurus, but for drinks of all kinds, including mint tea, sauvignon blanc, chartreuse, and stout, it analyzes liquids based on their aromatic notes and flavors, so whether you can look for a drink or taste that you enjoy and follow the scent trail to another, you might want to give it a try. For example, search for “Vegetal Mineral – Greens of the Sea” and you are taken on a coastal path. “Words like ‘salty’ and ‘saline’ don’t do the coastal aromas justice – those smells of iodine, shellfish, plants and sulfur raised by the decomposing algae and algae,” Buckhaven writes. “Pair the picpoul de pinet with lemon and salt, the flavor of the spices of greco di tufo, the citrus and grassy tones of vinho verde.”

There are loads of cross references (must have been a nightmare to prove) so you can also search for wines, for example, viognier, which then allows you to follow marked trails “If you like cooked ginger and quince “And” If you like flat peach and honeysuckle “. Open to any page and you are immediately immersed in a joyful and thoughtful maze where you can happily lose yourself for hours.

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This notice was published: 2021-12-08 14:48:14

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