Nearly 300 pages of continuing education, that’s how I saw this book. I took diligent notes through to page 180 (below) of key items that I thought would be of interest to wine 101ers.
The second section of the book, however, was very subjective as Bonné covered many popular California grape varietals, and growing areas, and then made suggestions – The Three-Bottle Tour being the narrowest view and his choice of Top Producers getting a paragraph or two. How can you narrow down the best Cabernets of California to three bottles or 8 wineries? Even with the addition of a “More Notable Wines” section, we only got eleven more Cabs.
So, are you going to stick to 19 wineries for your California Cabs? I think not. This was the theme throughout and all I could imagine were the thousands of hard working winemakers shaking their heads in disgust…and wondering how they will ever get their wine tasted. I, dear reader, plan to do my part and keep tasting. Some of Bonné’s suggestions, some of yours, and some that I happen to come across on my own. I urge you to do the same.
Notes from Bonné for Wine 101ers
Bigger isn’t always better. (I’ve had many high-octane California wines and am happy to see a return to less alcohol with good flavor and tannin structure.)
Terroir does matter. You can’t just plant any grape anywhere. California winemakers are learning by doing.
In the section “Searching for The New California” Bonné gives a respectful nod to winemakers off the beaten path of wineries we normally visit.
Readers will get a wealth of wine history – from prohibition, the Judgment of Paris, growers morphing into winemakers, phylloxera, current winemaking practices, through to Bonné’s list of current cult winemakers.
Find new ways to discover wine with destinations like the Lompoc Wine Ghetto for the Garagiste/Garage winemaker.
Wineries that are making more than one label so that people can enjoy both “table” wines as well as special occasion wines.
Comprehensive sections on each grape growing region, and what’s special about each, makes you feel as if you have seen the terrain yourself.
Color photographs throughout, though having them all captioned may have been more helpful.
Praise for THE NEW CALIFORNIA WINE:
“The New California Wine delivers some of the most insightful wine writing you’ll read anywhere. This is the real skinny on cutting-edge California wine from somebody who’s on the ground, knows his stuff, and could care less about offending the Establishment.”
– Matt Kramer, author and columnist for Wine Spectator
“An impeccably timed, beautifully written book chronicling a profound generational shift in California winemaking. Required reading for any sommelier, retailer, or consumer who’s left California behind for other pastures – it’s time to come home!”
– David Lynch, owner/wine director of St. Vincent Tavern and Wine Merchant and author of Vino Italiano
The New California Wine is the untold story of the California wine industry: the young, innovative producers who are rewriting the rules of contemporary winemaking; their quest to express the uniqueness of California terroir; and the continuing battle to move the state away from the overly-technocratic practices of its recent past. In this comprehensive guide to the new generation of must-know wines and vintners, Jon Bonné writes from the front lines of the California wine revolution, where he has access to the stories, philosophies, and techniques of top producers.
Well-Connected Author: As the wine editor for the San Francisco Chronicle, Jon has won a regional following in the Bay Area as well as national recognition as one of the most important voices in the wine community. He is very active on Twitter and has nearly 14,000 followers.
Winning Book Formula: The New California Wine will do for California what Vino Italiano did for Italian wines: rid the industry of its overly-commercialized image and introduce the public to the avant-garde winemakers who are making compelling–and better–wines. The New California Wine includes evocative, full-color photography, giving it the same visual appeal as the top-selling Secrets of the Sommeliers.
Featuring discussions on more than 600 wines and detailed maps of growing regions and vineyards, The New California Wine is a necessary addition to any wine lover’s bookshelf. Part narrative, part authoritative purchasing reference, it is the story of the winemakers who have changed the very face of California’s wine industry.
|Jon Bonné is the wine editor of the San Francisco Chronicle and covers wine and spirits throughout California and around the world. Previously Bonné was lifestyle editor and wine columnist for MSNBC.com and wine columnist for Seattle magazine, and has written for such publications as Decanter, Saveur, and Food & Wine. His work in food and wine journalism has earned awards from the James Beard Foundation and the Association of Food Journalists. Follow him on Twitter @jbonne.|
The New California Wine, Jon Bonné. $35.00 paper over board • 304 pages • 50 full-color photographs • 7 7/16 x 9 inches. ISBN 978-1-60774-300-2 • On-Sale Date: November 5, 2013