Courtesy of HarperCollins/Amazon.com.
The gift-giving season roared toward us like some mammoth sleigh piloted by a crazy old coot in a red coat, so it’s the last chance to make some choices. For the wine lover in your life—or simply for yourself—here are fantastic new wine books that make great gifts.
You know the rest of that line, right? Well, it's with some small amount of sadness that I am saying that about this blog: It must come to an end. I've had a terrific time writing it, but we've decided that in the end it's a bit strange, for a magazine that's all about bringing together food and wine, to have separate blogs on those topics.
So, from here on out, any wine blogging that I (and Megan Krigbaum, Kristin Donnelly, and various other stalwart folks) do will instead appear in F&W's primary blog, Mouthing Off. No less wine coverage, just a different venue. See you there.
I wrote about these super-excellent beer journals
last June because I think the idea is just so great—they fit in your pocket, and each page has a spot for all the tasting notes you could ever possibly come up with. I was elated to hear that 33 Books has come up with books for wine notes
), too, because I’m always writing notes on gum wrappers or magazine insert cards that I dig out of the depths of my bag when I’m out. These are a smart way to keep it all in one place. Plus, the wine-colored ink on the covers actually contains some wine from the Walla Walla Valley. These little books would make excellent stocking stuffers or accompaniments to a bottle of wine.
© Random House
If you’re looking for a gift for someone brand new to the wine world, Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl's new Drink This: Wine Made Simple
does just that, and provides a useful survey of who’s who in today’s wine world with her many “Conversations with Bigwigs,” quick conversational snippets from everyone from Robert M. Parker, Jr. to Paul Greico. After the jump, Grumdahl lists the Top 5 things those bigwigs taught her.
Michael Steinberger's Au Revoir to All That
Over on Mouthing Off
, I've just posted about why Slate wine columnist Michael Steinberger's new book, Au Revoir to All That
, is required reading for anyone who cares about food, wine or France (as an added bonus, it's well-written enough to qualify as fun summer reading, too.) The abridged version: Steinberger compiles devastating details on, among other obstacles, France's crippling appelation system, to show why we're looking, well, anywhere but France for culinary innovation. But he also offers a few glimmers of hope. In honor of Bastille Day, after the jump, Steinberger offers a cheat sheet on four maverick French winemakers worth watching.
I spent the past weekend in Portland, Maine, which quickly earned my respect as one of the best food towns around—especially if you weigh the number of terrific restaurants there against the actual population, which is about 230,000 (greater metro area). A couple of chefs there have won F&W Best New Chef awards—Steve Corry at Five Fifty-Five, Rob Evans at Hugo's (where I had a terrific meal, and whose duck fat-fried French Fries at the appropriately named Duckfat are worth a pilgrimage unto themselves). There's also Sam Hayward of Fore Street, kind of the godfather of New England locally sourced cuisine—I stopped in for a bowl of wood-roasted thumb-sized mussels that were just sublime. And there's Browne Trading, which has the unique status of being both a terrific fish purveyor (Le Bernardin uses fish from Brown, as do a host of other top restaurants) as well as the best wine store in town.
On top of all that, there's Rabelais Books, where I spent a very cheerful half hour or so chatting with owner Don Lindgren, and on another day an equally cheerful few minutes chatting with co-owner Samantha Hoyt Lindgren (they're married). Don knows the used & rare food/wine book world inside out and Samantha knows the Portland food scene equally well, though for all I know they're both equally knowledgeable about both subjects. Along with that, they're charming, smart and funny, and the shop's pleasantly spacious and is great fun to poke around in. First edition of Evelyn Waugh's Wine in Peace and War? Sure. First American edition of the Savoy Cocktail Book? Righto (for $350, a bargain in relative terms). Plus it's got every new release wine or food book you might want, too. Check out the website, but make doubly sure to stop in if you ever get to Portland.
And it's only about 200 feet from a large order of those duck fat french fries...