Okay all of you “book club” people, I know the real reason you meet: to talk about a book, yes, but while being well lubricated by fine wine, food and friends. So this book, The Booklover’s Guide To Wine by Patrick Alexander is just perfect for your next meeting, eh? Let me share a few pairings, and a bit of historical information, that I picked up from Alexander’s book, at nearly 400 pages and his sixth to author so far.
Authors Paired With Varietals
I kind of expected some scientific approach to how to pair wine and books, but that was definitely not the case. Just like with your book/wine clubs it’s all about what you just might happen to crave while reading Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, Harper Lee and F. Scott Fitzgerald, to name a few.
I really don’t want to give it away – as you should just buy the book to see – but Austen with Chardonnay and Dickens with Cabernet pair well, because they both “have a universal appeal.”
Another interesting pairing is Alexander’s idea that authors, and some of the characters, have become winery or wine namesakes. Alexander cites Carl Doumani, former owner of Stag’s Leap Winery and now the owner of Quixote, for naming an organic Petit Syrah Sancho Panza and his Cabernet Sauvignon Quixote, important characters from the classic novel Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes.
What Else You Will Learn
From the preface through to the epilogue readers will learn everything from why the author has a dislike for wine critic Robert Parker that is completely logical yet surprising, basics on how to taste wine, read labels, naming different varietals, how to make wine, why sweet wines are popular, the connection between religion and wine, the difference between an American’s understanding of wine and that of a European’s in relation to terroir, what the 100 year war did to the wine industry, why the opinions on wine are so subjective and finally, why Alexander is “never happier than with a glass of wine in one hand and a good book in the other.”
From The Author
My book evolved out of the twelve-hour wine appreciation program I originally developed for the University of Miami and which I have been teaching here in Miami for the past six years. The book, like my program covers all the usual aspects of the grape but with particular emphasis on the history and the culture of wine, from Noah’s first vineyard to the arrival of Two-Buck-Chuck. I compare the concepts of terroir and varietal, and discuss the difference between New World and Old World wines. I also explore the reasons that England, a small wet, offshore island with no significant vineyards, should have had such an unparalleled influence on the world of wine. But what makes my book especially unique is its emphasis on the literary aspects of wine.
Throughout the ages, wine and literature have been closely connected. Whether we refer to the Bible, Homer, Shakespeare, John Keats or Marcel Proust, great literature is always filled with references or metaphors for wine. Mitchell Kaplan, the legendary founder of Books & Books – and co-founder of the Miami Book Fair – suggested the idea of pairing my favourite writers with my favourite wines. An inspired suggestion that resulted in a pairing of the Albarino vines of North Eastern Spain with J.R.R. Tolkien, or Chenin Blanc with Rabelais, not to mention the wines of Grüner Veltliner with The Good Soldier Švejekstumbling through our pages.
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.