It doesn’t matter what got you down the wine-geek rabbit hole, the important thing is that you’re here now and that you’re hungry for more (…or, thirsty for more). What we wine enthusiasts know well is that it’s not about how much wine you drink, it’s about the stories, the quality, and the uniqueness of each wine that makes our hobby truly special. In fact, the more you know about wine, the less you drink to be drunk. For me, being a wine geek involves being drunk on history, drunk on science, drunk on knowledge, and it’s an obsession that will inspire you to try new things and see the world through a different lens. The more you learn the more you identify with this quote:
“The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.”
If you’re reading this and going “that’s me!” then I have some delightful reading material for you. Here are 6 new books that will open your eyes to innovative ideas and surprising possibilities in the areas of science, culture, history, and travel all relating to our favorite topic: wine.
1. Volcanic Wines by John Szabo
Wine masters will talk about the importance of elevation when it comes to wine quality and the distinct taste inherent to wines made from grapes that are grown on volcanic soils. This must have been mulling around in John Szabo’s head until a flash of understanding occurred: the most distinct, terroir-driven wines in the world are found around volcanos. This book identifies eight volcanic wine-growing regions around the world, some of these areas (Macaronesia and Hungary) still rarely (if ever) make blips on Wine Spectator’s point rating database. The book includes exceptional maps, photographs, and special details about each region’s wines.
2. Wines of Faugères by Rosemary George
Forget Bordeaux for a minute and take a trip to the dirty south of France. I say dirty because the Languedoc-Roussillon region has long been considered the dead sea of en vrac – cheap, crappy, bulk wine. Despite this horrible past reputation, this area shows some of the greatest wine potential in France right now. One of the top regions to know here is Faugères and this is the book that will get you into SOF (South of France) in a big way. You’d be smart to have a bottle of Vielles Vignes close by.
3. Uncorking the Caucasus by Charine Tan and Matthew Horkey
Everyone who loves wine deserves to know its history. This book is really an adventurist’s guide to the amazing details of the cradle of modern wine and will inspire you to drink (and travel) outside the box.
4. A Natural History of Wine by Ian Tattersall and Rob Desalle
This book is what you get when you put a molecular biologist, an anthropologist, and a scientific illustrator together to write a book about wine. For a wine enthusiast, it’s a wonderful step back where you’ll look at wine contextually to see how it fits into our world both culturally and scientifically.
5. I Taste Red by Jamie Goode
We understand a great deal about eyesight, but very little about our sense of taste and smell. This book gives simple explanations to the complex science behind taste and smell and discusses how our objectivity plays a much bigger role in wine choice than we may believe. You’ll find yourself starting to question common sense ideologies about wine opinion and will want to tinker with wine ratings.
6. Understanding Wine Chemistry by Andrew Waterhouse, Gavin Sacks and David Jeffery
This is the latest textbook on wine and chemistry, which will complete all the open circuits about wine, chemistry, additives, adulterants, winemaking practices, and the physical properties of wine. This book is not easy to read, but that just means you’ll be that much more accomplished when you finish it.
Image credits: Árpád Czapp