IN VINO VERITAS
The Top Books for Wine Lovers, Chosen by the Editors of Half Full
Sit back, sip your pinot, and read about the history and future of the red (and white) stuff.
Wine certainly has a lot of history. From its religious implications to the bottles found on the Titanic, there’s a lot to unpack when it comes to wine. Good thing there’s a ton of literature about where wine has been and where it’s going, and you deserve to read it all. These eight books were all picked by Half Full’s very own Noah Rothbaum, so you know they’re going to be filled with the vino vernacular you’ll surely enjoy.
Secrets of the Sommeliers: How to Think and Drink Like the World's Top Wine Professionals, $26 on Amazon: “Rajat Parr’s profound knowledge of wines, deep relationships with producers, and renowned tasting abilities have made him a legend in the business. As wine director for the Mina Group, Parr presides over the lists at some of the country’s top restaurants. In Secrets of the Sommeliers, Parr and journalist Jordan Mackay present a fascinating portrait of the world’s top wine professionals and their trade.”
The Sommelier's Atlas of Taste: A Field Guide to the Great Wines of Europe, $24 on Amazon: “The first definitive reference book to describe, region-by-region, how the great wines of Europe should taste. This will be the go-to guide for aspiring sommeliers, wine aficionados who want to improve their blind tasting skills, and amateur enthusiasts looking for a straightforward and visceral way to understand and describe wine. In this seminal addition to the wine canon, noted experts Rajat Parr and Jordan Mackay share everything they've learned in their decades of tasting wine. The result is the most in-depth study of the world's greatest wine regions ever published.”
Adventures on the Wine Route: A Wine Buyer’s Tour of France, $15 on Amazon: “Kermit Lynch's recounting of his experiences on the wine route and in the wine cellars of France takes the reader through the Loire, Bordeaux, the Languedoc, Provence, Northern and Southern Rhone, and the Cote d'Or.”
The Dirty Guide to Wine: Following Flavor from Ground to Glass, $17 on Amazon: “Featuring a foreword by Master Sommelier Pascaline Lepeltier, who contributed her vast knowledge throughout the book, The Dirty Guide to Wine organizes wines not by grape, not by region, not by New or Old World, but by soil. If you enjoy a Chardonnay from Burgundy, you might find the same winning qualities in a deep, red Rioja. Feiring also provides a clarifying account of the traditions and techniques of wine-tasting, demystifying the practice and introducing a whole new way to enjoy wine to sommeliers and novice drinkers alike.”
Tangled Vines: Greed, Murder, Obsession, and an Arsonist in the Vineyards of California, $12 on Amazon: “In her new book, Frances Dinkelspiel looks beneath the casually elegant veneer of California's wine regions to find the obsession, greed and violence lying in wait. Few people sipping a fine California Cabernet can even guess at the Tangled Vines where its life began.” Frances is also a Half Full writer.
Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California, $19 on Amazon: “Ripe with great historical events that filled the early days of California such as the Gold Rush and the San Francisco earthquake, Towers of Gold brings to life the transformation of California from a frontier society whose economy was driven by the barter of hides and exchange of gold dust into a vibrant state with the strongest economy in the nation.”
Judgment of Paris: California vs. France & the Historic 1976 Paris Tasting That Revolutionized Wine, $16 on Amazon: “The only reporter present at the mythic Paris Tasting of 1976—a blind tasting where a panel of esteemed French judges chose upstart California wines over France’s best—for the first time introduces the eccentric American winemakers and records the tremendous aftershocks of this historic event that changed forever the world of wine.”
The Billionaire's Vinegar: The Mystery of the World's Most Expensive Bottle of Wine, $7 on Amazon: “The New York Times bestseller, updated with a new epilogue, that tells the true story of a 1787 Château Lafite Bordeaux—supposedly owned by Thomas Jefferson—that sold for $156,000 at auction and of the eccentrics whose lives intersected with it. Was it truly entombed in a Paris cellar for two hundred years? Or did it come from a secret Nazi bunker? Or from the moldy basement of a devilishly brilliant con artist? As Benjamin Wallace unravels the mystery, we meet a gallery of intriguing players—from the bicycle-riding British auctioneer who speaks of wines as if they are women to the obsessive wine collector who discovered the bottle.”
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