Wine is full of intriguing characters and revealing factoids, not dry tables of economic statistics. Did you know that the father of Galen, the famous second century AD physician, wrote about the use of sulfur dioxide in winemaking? I didn’t. Or that the Gauls (the French) showed a preference for wooden barrels over stone amphorae as wine storage vessels from very early on? Or that the Portuguese created the first system of defined appellations, not to mention the modern, shouldered wine bottle? Or that the particular line of business that had John Hancock so mad at the British Crown that he put his oversized autograph on the Declaration of Independence was the Madeira trade?
It’s my failure that I haven’t reviewed the book before this. Honestly, I read it and then left it on the nightstand in a hotel and largely forgot about it. So let me get my back-cover blurb in now:
Pellechia is a deft and easy writer, easily one of the best I’ve read when it comes to wine narrative. This book is the antidote to the egocentric review-culture of wine writing as it exists today, where the only thing that matters is the writer’s personal opinion. Wine is a broad look at the fascinating history of wine that enriches the wine experience by giving it cultural depth.
He livens up comments, too.