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by Fred McMillin
for November 2005
Books & Bottles
For Holiday Gifts
"The best glass of white wine is the first, the best glass of red wine is the last."
—The Gadding Vine by Walter James, very sharp Aussie writer; written 50 years ago, but still pertinent and mighty entertaining, mate.
"I have drunk every vintage of Beaulieu Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve from 1939 to l979."
—The Brady Book
These are the unpublished works of the late, great Roy Brady, no doubt the best mathematician ever to devote his life to fermented grape juice. (His prof at the Universiy of Chicago, Bertrand Russell, was impressed by Roy's math skills; you'll be impressed with Roy's wine words.)
"A wine merchant in the Rhone Valley secretly imported 154 American vines around 1862" bringing a plague that soon was killing the wine vines of France and then throughout most of the world. For the gripping story of "how wine was saved for the world," read...
—The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell
Don't leave your bookshop without it.
(All are current releases.)
A Sonoma Chardonnay (say, Marimar Estate, $40) or a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (D.R. Stephens, $90) dazzled my classes. If a $46 Cab fits the budget better, the Reserve Geyser Peak of Sonoma scored very well, too.
If your gift goes to an aficionado of one of the other major varietals, here are some of our winners.
Sauvignon Blanc—Navarro, $15
Riesling—Daniel Gehrs, $15
Zinfandel—Steele, Pacini Old Vine, $16
Pinot Noir—David Bruce, Santa Cruz Mountains, $55
Malbec—Gascon, Argentina, Pasternak Imports, $12
Muscat d' Orange dessert wine—Ventana, $18 for 375 ml.
And a Parting Chuckle
A British connoisseur was asked whether he preferred wine or women. After a long pause he said "it depends on the vintage!"
Note: I use book sleuth Gail Unzelman to find volumes not on local store shelves. Phone (707) 546-1184.
About the Writer
Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. For information about the wine courses he teaches every month at either San Francisco State University or San Francisco City College (Fort Mason Division), please fax him at (415) 567-4468.
This page created November 2005
Copyright © 2005
electronic Gourmet Guide, Inc.