A paean to authentic wines and a New York Times Best Wine Book of the Year from the James Beard Award-winning author of Reading Between the Wines.
What makes a wine worth drinking? As celebrated wine writer Terry Theise explains in this gem of a book, answering that seemingly simple question requires us to look beyond what’s in our glass to consider much bigger questions about beauty, harmony, soulfulness, and the values we hold dear. Most of all, Theise shows, what makes a wine worth drinking is its authenticity. When we choose small-scale, family-produced wine over the industrially produced stuff, or when we opt for subtle, companionable wines over noisy, vulgar ones, we not only experience their origins with the greatest possible clarity and detail—we also gain a new perspective on ourselves and the world we inhabit. In this way, artisanal wine is not only the key to good drinking; it is also the key to a good life.
An unforgettable literary journey into the heart and soul of wine, What Makes a Wine Worth Drinking is a gift to be cherished from a writer “whose id is directly connected to his mouth” (Eric Asimov, The New York Times).
Winner of the Louis Roederer International Wine Writers’ Awards Chairman’s Award
A “Best Wine Gift” by WineSpeed
“Grown-up wine writing, full of emotion . . . and, in these dangerously cynical times, exactly what we wine enthusiasts—we human beings—need.”—The World of Fine Wine
“Theise’s fans, as well as those just meeting him for the first time, will revel as he leads us on an existential tour of wine.”—Dave McIntyre, The Washington Post
In this enthusiastic manifesto, James Beard Award winning wine importer Theise (Reading Between the Wines) celebrates unassuming vintages that "make you feel better without your noticing." Theise supports "small-scale family viticulture" over commercial operations, and offers guidance for interpreting and enjoying the distinctive wines he favors (many originating in regions from which he imports Champagne in France, as well as Austria and Germany). He reveals how industrial producers manipulate flavors to appeal to mass markets (by using oak, or adding residual sugar); shares his negative opinion of "coarse" high-alcohol wines (he prefers the "clear... animated" vintages with lower alcohol content); and administers caution around trendy, often funky natural wines that can be "no more virtuous than body odor" if not guarded by "a few wise elders." Theise philosophizes about his relationship with what is, to him, much more than a beverage: "Wine was a citizen of eternity, just as I was, just as we all are." Yet, despite his disdain for wine writing today, his sensual tasting notes ground the work: a 1953 Riesling "smelled like every weeping buttered nut since the beginning of time," and with Theise at the helm, a "wine moment" like this feels achievable, even to the novice. This intoxicating book illuminates a path to savoring good wine, body, and spirit.