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Item Title:

The Great Wines of America: The Top 40 Vineyards, Vintages


Books, Comics, Magazines


Cookery & Food

Item Condition: New
Current Time:20 Oct 16 18:29:07
Time & Date displayed is forUnited States - EDT
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Quantity: (1 Available)
Price : £18.24 ($22.25)

Postage: £8.99 ($10.97)
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Item Specifics - Books ISBN : 0393051382
Author :
18.24 2635569 Title: The Great Wines of America: The Top 40 Vineyards, Vintages, and Vintners Recommended Retail Price : 17.99 Our Price : 3.88 You Save : 14.11 (78% discount) ISBN : 0393051382 Author : Paul Lukacs
Lot # 2635569
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Title: The Great Wines of America: The Top 40 Vineyards, Vintages, and Vintners

ISBN : 0393051382
Author : Paul Lukacs
Publisher : W W Norton & Co Ltd
Media : Hardcover
SKU MIX31-U31-30A-RES-58318


Brand New Book, Good Condition, Dispatched from our warehouse in the UK

From The Washington Post's Book World/washingtonpost.com&newline;&newline;Food writers, even those as accomplished as M.F.K. Fisher and Calvin Trillin, typically hedge their bets by larding their books with recipes. That way, if you aren't seduced by the prose, you still have a reason to buy them. In the same fashion, wine books -- the ones that sell, at least -- hedge their bets with service tips. They educate the uninitiated on how to read a label or a wine list, how to pair wine with food, even how to pretend you know more about wine than you actually do. Many offer recommendations of specific wines, in the form of ratings or rankings that can't help but be at least mildly controversial.&newline;&newline;After writing an able narrative history of American wine called American Vintage, the Washington Times and Washingtonian wine columnist Paul Lukacs now purports to choose America's 40 best wines. I say &doublequote;purports&doublequote; because the choices he makes really don't matter. (Indeed, if Lukacs truly would rather drink American curiosities such as a varietal Norton from Missouri's Stone Hill than, say, a lush cabernet sauvignon from Napa cult producer Bryant Family Vineyards, I have bottles in my cellar I'd love to swap him.) He works to convince us of the importance of the wines he has chosen, but not too hard. &doublequote;Other American wineries now make Sauvignon Blanc in this style, but Dry Creek Vineyard came first,&doublequote; he writes, in half-hearted praise, &doublequote;and today's DCV-3 tastes as good as any.&doublequote;&newline;&newline;The anointed 40 wines are really an excuse to get at American wine history from a different angle. Rather than proceed chronologically, Lukacs uses each of the short chapters -- arranged alphabetically by the vintner's name -- to frame discussions on various aspects of the evolution of the wine industry in the United States. Sometimes the relevant topic is geographic, as when he devotes part of the chapter on Quilceda Creek Vintners' cabernet sauvignon to Washington state's wine history. Sometimes it centers on a grape variety, fashionable or unfashionable, such as the syrah of vintner John Alban or the dry chenin blanc of Chappellet. Sometimes the concepts are more complicated, such as the mixed blessing of corporate ownership or the counterintuitive principle of coaxing vineyards into producing fewer grapes.&newline;&newline;It's a noble approach, if something of a bait-and-switch for the reader expecting an American Top 40 countdown of greatest hits. The problem is, Lukacs's stories aren't all that interesting. Each is informational enough, and some -- such as the discussion of small-volume, single-vineyard wines in the chapter on the Santa Barbara winery Au Bon Climat, or the portrait of California wine pioneer Martin Ray -- will provide insight for not only the casual wine drinker but also the dedicated collector. But taken together, these stories add up to less than the sum of their parts, like a Bordeaux blend that isn't nearly as pleasurable as its varietal components.&newline;&newline;Part of the problem is repetition. Lukacs is a big believer in the influence of a particular site on a wine, and so are the subjects of his interviews. When asked to explain their success, many of them pay homage to that nebulous sense-of-place concept the French have named terroir. This may be a terrific winemaking philosophy, but it makes for awfully dull reading. We get Gary Figgins of Leonetti Cellar saying, &doublequote;I've come to believe that the soils and climate of Walla Walla make this one of the best places on earth to grow red wine grapes,&doublequote; and Virginia's Dennis Horton asserting that the style of Viognier in Virginia &doublequote;is our own,&doublequote; and Mount Eden Vineyards' Jeffrey Patterson vowing to &doublequote;capture the flavors that this place produces,&doublequote; and Monterey's Robb Talbott boasting that &doublequote;this place really is special,&doublequote; and on and on. Eventually, I yearned for just one winemaker to profess that the secret to his wines' success is his innate genius, not merely weather patterns and the composition of the local soil.&newline;&newline;And, make no mistake, these are interviews Lukacs is conducting. There's no scene-painting involved, no activity -- just st

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