The New York Times Book of Wine sponsored book review by Billy
Feel: easy to pick up, hard to put down.
Overall: From time to time we at The Wine Cask Blog review items other than the beverage in the bottle. This is one of those times. Our friends at Sterling Publishing (a B&N subsidiary) sent us two books to review. I am reviewing The New York Times Book of Wine (amazon link here) edited by Howard Goldberg.
In short, I love this book. It is a collection of essays and articles curated from the New York Times' collection that started in 1972. Each article is fun and expresses something of the wonder of wine. Because these are short articles (rarely more than 3 pages) the book lends itself well to quick, easy reading. You can pick it up, say, while waiting for your dinner host to come back from the grill outside, and get through a single chapter. You can read several while waiting for your decanted bottle to breathe.
There are recipes. There are rants against the pretentiousness of wine review language. There are homages to favorite bottles, memorable experiences and unexpected finds.
Two in the collection stood out for me. The first, "Big and Beautiful: Lafite for 12" is an enchanting article about a family who found an imperiale of 1986 Chateau Lafite-Rothschild in their father's cellar after his passing. The article is a loving story of the meal they created around the immense bottle of wine (yes, they opened it!) to honor their father. It is warm and enchanting.
The second, "Buried Treasure in Baltic Has Vintage Taste" is the story of a diver who finds a sunken ship wreck and a treasure of old but still drinkable Champagne. We're talking early-mid 1800's Champagne. The story has all the adventure of finding sunken treasure and the care of the subject that someone who honors both antiquities and magnificent sparkling wines can conjure.
There are many articles packed into the book. Like I mentioned above, it is easily accessible for a casual wine enthusiast. Yet it has a depth that will please the oenophile on your gift list. I highly recommend this book.