Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Very Good Year

At dinner one evening at a friends house I mentioned wanting to read a book about how wine is made. The story behind the wine. Wine lovers they are they recommended and let me borrow A Very Good Year by Mike Weiss.

It's an interesting read in that he literally takes you through all the steps of how a wine is made from the vineyards in early spring through the harvest and on to the wine making process. We meet the owners and get a vague idea of what these millionaires are like. Mostly we get a feel for the field workers and the wine makers. We meet the head guys and we meet the grunts, the Hispanics that migrate up and spend 10 months of the year doing hard labor in the fields. I enjoyed these parts of the story. Learning the smaller details and I can't think of any Mike missed. At one point he goes into detail about how corks are made and picked out by each vineyard, and the quality control measures Ferrari-Carano takes.

At times I found the writing annoying with too many similes for my taste. But more than anything I found it informative and interesting. The book de-romanticizes the wine industry and explains how much the wine industry thrives on that romanticism. How vineyards make a Story and how important it is for them to keep this story alive even if it isn't reality. Which I think they have a point. I knew wine making had to be hard work, I was surprised by the drama between the farmers and the wine makers. Or the the scoring system that could make or break a wine or even that vineyard. But when I'm drinking a glass of wine I tend to forget that and look at a pretty bottle, with a fun label and just enjoy the drink. Now I might drink a glass and think a little deeper now and then. But I think its more enjoyable to just listen to the story.

All in all I did enjoy the book. I'm glad I borrowed because it's not a fave. I do want to go out and get a bottle of Ferrari-Carano's Fume Blanc (Sauvignon Blanc). I'm curious after reading so much about it. Knowing the vineyard names and the personalities in it. The vintage won't be the same but it'll be close enough.

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