I am always asked to recommend wine books. Each year hundreds of new wine books are published. Taken together, they provide more than 15 original thoughts and more than 25 things worth knowing about wine! With some foresight, a novice wine enthusiast could spend a year reading these books and emerge with more than six minutes of insight. Which is more than one can say about reading the collected works of Glenn Beck, which would more than likely produce brain hemorrhaging and the desire to tithe 10 percent of your income to Summers Eve.
|Receiving an MS|
Here are my favorite new wine books.
Natural Wine Is Crap by Rudolf Steiner (translated from Austrian by Professor Irwin Corey)
Originally published in 1932, here is Steiner's argument for never using organic or biodynamic practices as an excuse for making crappy wine. "Biodynamic practices were never intended to make wine," Steiner says, "that's just stupid. Wine is the most manipulated thing on the table, aside from my nephew's ding-dong. There is no such thing as 'natural' wine any more than there is 'natural' Wienerschnitzel. By definition, wine, from start to finish, from vineyard to bottle, is a product of man's intervention, so it's about as natural as mustard gas. How ignorant are people to believe 'natural wine' has any meaning? It's like thinking mannequins regurgitate plastic vomit."
This is a must read for those who will certainly never read it.
A History of The Hundred Point Scale by Madge N. Airy
|The 100 Point Scale--Weigh Stupid|
Perhaps the most controversial wine book of 2011, Airy's book argues that the Hundred Point Scale was originally conceived as a joke. Her meticulously researched book includes historic letters from Robert Parker to several of his attorney friends that explain, as one letter puts it, “The scores I add to my reviews have no meaning, but, hell, they’re a damned funny joke. And now people believe them! What a bunch of rubes. I made up the scores just like I made up billable hours.” From there, Airy reveals insider Wine Spectator emails from Marvin Shanken to Spectator wine critics that say, “Just write the descriptions using the approved Wine Adjective Software and we’ll assign the numbers in the editorial meeting. This means you, Fish. You wouldn’t know a 96 from a 69, which explains why your moustache smells funny.”
Airy makes a compelling case that the 100 Point Scale was diabolically forced on consumers much like the SAT, Credit Ratings and Ralph Nader.
The Oxford Encyclopedia of Wine Encyclopedias edited by Jancis Robinson, Oz Clarke, Hugh Johnson, and Tom Stevenson; Introduction by Larry the Cable Guy, MW
This is a must-have for every wine lover. Worth it just for Larry the Cable Guy, MW’s lucid introduction. “Hell, my grandpa made wine every bit as good as anything from France. French wine is stupid, and I’ll tell you why. French people make it. Same people as make Renaults and Jean-Luc Godard movies. Them people that worship Jerry Lewis and think Roman Polanski has a “Genius Get Out of Jail Free” card taped to his Andouille sausage. All they know how to make right is white flags.” On top of that, you get 1200 pages of recycled wine facts expertly alphabetized. No one knows how to alphabetize like the English. Wondering what comes first, Petite Sirah or Petite Syrah? (I won’t give it away.) It’s here in this handy reference guide to handy reference guides. I can’t wait until next year’s blockbuster, “The Oxford Guide to the Oxford Encyclopedia of The World Atlas of Wine Encyclopedias: A Complete Guide.”
There’s an MS in My Pants, or At Least Something is Warm, Smelly and Squishy by Sara Doctor Indehaus.
A fascinating tell-all book by an MS candidate that reveals the secretive, misunderstood and dangerous cult of Master Sommeliers. Indehaus, for the first time in print, reveals the secret Master Sommelier Oath, “They don’t know shit, and we do.” She takes us step by step through the sommelier tests, including her final oral exams. Who knew they had gloryholes? Yes, this is the real world of MS and the people who strive who join their ranks. It will surprise you, it will enlighten you, and, most of all, it will make you want to spit.