The New York Times Book of Wine: More than 30 Years of Vintage Writing has been my bedtime reading for the past month or so. It’s an immensely civilised project: one drifts off to sleep in a setting that can only remind you of an Agatha Christie murder mystery. Piece after piece relates journeys to chateaus, vineyards, estates accompanied by only the finest wines and foods. It’s a very rarefied air at many points.
But this book never gets to snobby. Some pieces are quite enlightening, others quite humorous. The tone is one of “good sense”; not too pretentious, but not too pedestrian. One feels classy and sophisticated without being an unbearable snob.
This is a collection of newspaper articles, so each piece is quite short; this makes it nice and light. Eric Asimov and Frank Prial are the main voices of this book. They do a good job. Good amounts of information conveyed through human interest stories.
One thing though. This book made me feel poor. I realised that without dropping everything and committing myself to the wine industry, I will probably never have the resources to really try the vast majority of the wines mentioned in this book. Just a sad fact.
I love wine, and this book increased my knowledge and appreciation of wine. And helped me settle into a peaceful, civilised sleep at night. Enjoyable and light.