The Tuscan wines from our Italian Collection reminded us of one of our favorite wine books, A Vineyard in Tuscany.

This week, we’re going to run through our four favorite wine books.

Our favorite book on Italian wine: A Vineyard in Tuscany, Ferenc Máté

While more of a memoir than a guide to Italian wine, Ferenc Máté’s account of buying an overgrown vineyard in Montepulciano will not fail to leave you salivating for long lunches (accompanied by a bottle of rosso and topped with an espresso) under the noonday Tuscan sun. It’s also the funniest book in this collection, with plenty of colorful anecdotes as Ferenc and his wife Candace (New York artists who move to Italy with their young son) work to renovate a ruined farmhouse and vineyard. Fair warning: you may just start to fantasize about doing the same. For an additional pay off, you can actually order Ferenc’s wines – including a 90+ point Brunello.

Find the book on Amazon (or at your local bookstore)

More on that in a moment… But first, how have this summer’s heat waves affected the 2021 harvest?

In this week’s video, resident expert Julien Miquel takes us through some current events in the wine world… from tornados in French vineyards… to the possibility of sending wine through USPS… and why this year’s grapes may not have been ruined after all…

Our 4 Favorite Wine Books (continued)

Our favorite book on French wine: Adventures on the Wine Route, Kermit Lynch

Author-Importers are the Writer-Director auteurs of the wine world. Californian shop owner Kermit Lynch can arguably be said to have invented the archetype when he began documenting his scouting adventures in France back in the 70s and 80s. Adventures on the Wine Route takes you along on Lynch’s travels as he discovers the hidden gems of French wine. While many of the wineries in the book are now expensive cult classics (see: Châteauneuf-du-Pape’s Vieux Télégraphe), Lynch’s enthusiasm for what were (and often still are) small family operations unadulterated by overly technical winemaking (and the point score arms race kicked off by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate) leaps off the page. If you still have a bottle of Télégramme from our 2019 French Collection, enjoy a glass with his book and see if it doesn’t taste all the better.

Find the book on Amazon (or at your local bookstore)

Our favorite book on Argentine wine: The Vineyard at the End of the World, Ian Mount

Journalist Ian Mount sets the scene out at Argentina’s western fringe:

“A desert slope pressed into the rain shadow of the Andes, Mendoza and its fellow Argentine wine capitals of Salta [ed note: the Calchaquí Valley] and San Juan look like the set of a Sergio Leone spaghetti western. [...]

“Like the western frontier of the United States, Argentina’s Andean desert was a place where pioneers struggled against an unforgiving and brutal landscape. Even today, you won’t hear Mendocinos speak of ‘conquering’ their land, for fear of tempting whatever fates cause the earth to tremble and the sky to lash hailstones.”

Although Mount spends much of his time in Mendoza (many hundreds of miles south of the Calchaquí Valley), his book is a fascinating portrait not just of the punishing landscapes that make Argentina’s wine so flavorful, but also of their contrarian appeal in the post-Parker, points obsessed world. There’s fascinating history in there, too (Argentina, like California, benefited immensely from the advances in winemaking and vine growing that came out of UC Davis in the 70s).

Find the book on Amazon (or at your local bookstore)

Our favorite reference/coffee table book: The World Atlas of Wine (8th ed), Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson

The Partnership publishes a digital reference book Everything You’d Care to Know About Wine (and probably a bit more)which is free for all members. However, if you’re looking for a hard cover for your coffee table, we’d highly recommend The World Atlas of Wine. A few Fridays a month, we pop our son in the stroller and go to select a vintage from a style, region, or grape with which we are less familiar. Upon returning home, our first move after opening the bottle is to open the atlas for a quick lesson before our first sniff.

Find the book on Amazon (or at your local bookstore)

Bonus: The 24-Hour Wine Expert, Jancis Robinson

Jancis Robinson, co-author of The World Atlas of Wine (along with a host of other wine books) also produced this short, 112-page pocket guide to wine. Don’t let the word “guide” throw you. As a wine critic, Robinson writes engaging prose with a definite point of view. Buy it. Blow through it in an afternoon. And consider yourself an expert.  

Find the book on Amazon (or at your local bookstore)

Until next week,

The Wine Explorer

Bonner Private Wine Partnership