Thursday, August 23, 2007

Red, White, and Drunk All Over: A Book Review

I think maybe I am going to have to install a “tongue-in-cheek” meter on this blogsite so you readers will know what to expect from the day’s posting.

Since I am not very good at creating images (only stealing pictures), I’ll just tell you that today’s entry is LOW on the tongue-in-cheek meter, i.e., it’s for real. No leg-puller today.

Many of you have probably already read Natalie MacLean's book, Red, White, and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey From Grape to Glass. It’s been on the store shelves since August of 2006 but slow me, who is normally reading business books, only found out about it recently.

I’m glad I did!

One of, if not the best wine-related books I’ve read is Kermit Lynch’s Adventures on the Wine Route. The man knows how to write, and obviously, get you interested in wines. Mainly the wine he imports, but he’s done much to promote the wine industry overall. Long ago I began enjoying his monthly store newsletters, often thinking they should be strung together in a book, and when I found out he had actually written a book I dashed to the store to get my own copy.

Ms. MacLean’s book reminds me of Mr. Lynch’s. Marketing experts will tell you that if you want to capture someone’s attention, tell a good story. That’s what both of these authors do – they tell a good story, taking you along on a first-person journey through their world of wine and making you feel as though you are participating with them in their endeavors.

Contrast this to the majority of wine books, which, in my own little opinion, all seem like reading school textbooks and, like school textbooks, all pretty much tend to say the same thing. Or become dated, as in the case of books that contain wine reviews and ratings. You read them for facts and not for entertainment. There’s definitely a place for them but I wouldn’t call them pleasure reading.

Red, White and Drunk~ is without a doubt entertaining but it’s also educational. Rather than listening to a recitation of facts, however, Ms. MacLean engages you as her buddy while she humbly shares her knowledge with you. And quite humorously too, I might add.

I won’t go into much detail about the book. The adventures include visits to some very famous domains in Burgundy, being an employee for a day in a wine shop, a guest sommelier, prepping and hosting a dinner party, etc. – just the kind of things she does as part of her job and part of her life - but made very engaging by her writing talent, including her choice of words and descriptions.

So why am I reviewing her book so late in the game? Because I just found out about it and I wanted to tell her thank you for a good read and if you haven’t read it, I highly recommend doing so. Also, I don’t mean to imply that MacLean’s and Lynch’s books are the only games in town and everything else is a dry textbook; there’s others in the same vein (or at least I think they are) that I plan on getting to, such as Lawrence Osborne’s, The Accidental Connoisseur : an Irreverent Journey Though the Wine World, but I’ve got so many books in the queue, who knows how long it’ll take me to get there.

Meanwhile, I wanted to say that Red, White, and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey From Grape to Glass is a worthwhile read. Without a doubt, it deserves two hearty thumbs up. And so does Adventures on the Wine Route.

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