Vol. 1 No. 30 …all I want for Christmas…

If you have someone on your Christmas list who is a winelover, perhaps instead of a bottle of wine a good book on wine would be a good choice. There are a lot of new ones out there this year. Too late you say? Perhaps not if they have a Kindle…available instantly.

Readers know I like Karen MacNeil’s The Wine Bible, just revised and a great reference when traveling, not just the U.S.but the world.

Also, there are these books,

Vino Business – The Cloudy World of French Wine by Isabelle Saporta – cloudy??? Very Dark Clouds! This book was written by a French investigative reporter with a wine background. The things she says about Bordeaux would be libelous if not true. Question is: why haven’t they sued her…or why is she still walking? Beats me, because she blows the lid of Bordeaux wine production and price increases which can be blamed by Chinese buying. But more than that they are buying (little or run-down) chateaus, but why? They are grossly overpaying but this might be a clue: the counterfeit wine business in China is off the charts. The name of choice there is Chateau Lafite Rothschild. So the counterfeiters use names like Chateau Laffite, or Lafite Harmony…just enough variation to get the non-wine savvy Chinese to buy it. Worse, some of it is made with either inferior grapes or table grapes with sugar and some horrible chemicals added. If you are like me, you will never buy a classified French Bordeaux again. Overpriced and not worth it. Note that this is not happening in Burgundy where the plots are too small to be able to control the market. If you can afford them, stick with the best names there.

Thirsty Dragon China’s Lust for Bordeaux and the Threat to the World’s Best Wines by Susanne Mustacich. She is a wine journalist now living in France, and the tone of this book is damning but not chilling like the first one. I recommend reading the other one first…as I did.
Another good book on wine is The Winemaker by Richard G. Peterson. I haven’t had time to read this but I spoke with the author on the phone and his experience is incredible. It was recommended by Mike Veseth of The Wine Economist blog and should be interesting to anyone wanting to get down to the nuts and bolts of the wine industry.
One of my favorite books this year is Tangled Vines by Francis Dinkelspiel and is about the fire at the former Navy torpedo factory on Mare Island, California. After the Navy abandoned it they turned it into a wine storage facility. It was huge with three-foot thick walls, the ideal place to store wine…unless of course there was a fire…which there was. This book is about a wine ‘snob’ who torched it destroying perhaps 350,000 bottles of wines from Napa and elsewhere, some of which were the entire library of wines for vineyards. But the book goes much further, to Los Angeles in fact, where the author’s relatives had a huge vineyard and some of those wines were lost in the fire. A fascinating read.
The last one is Shadows in the Vineyard by Maximillian Potter. A true story that reads like fiction of a plot to poison the vines of the great Romanee Conti vineyards. It also contains some interesting parts about how the vineyard came to be and about the pre-revolution French royalty.
The best to you all for a happy holiday season…make it merry…with wine!
Trader Bill
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