This is the third in a series of short reviews of wine books worthy of putting under the Christmas tree for the vinophiliac on your list this year.
I laughed out loud twice reading the first five pages of Roy Cloud’s memoir, To Burgundy and Back Again: A Tale of Wine, France, and Brotherhood, (Lyons Press, 2011, $17) and regularly thereafter. Cloud is a D.C.-based importer with a strong portfolio of artisanal French wines (look for Vintage 59 on the back label). His title suggests a Tolkien-ish quest, and there is some poignancy in his tale. Yet the book is primarily Cloud’s version of Kermit Lynch’s Adventures on the Wine Route (1990), the seminal wine importer memoir, with echoes of Hemingway’s hilarious road trip with Fitzgerald in A Moveable Feast and M.F.K. Fisher’s writings on Dijon. Anyone who has made a bibulous trip through France will relate to these tales, but this is more than just a drunken travelogue. It’s a diverting, escapist read that can make you wish you could tag along on one of Cloud’s regular visits to France.
I recommend this not just because Cloud is a fellow D.C. denizen, but because he succeeds in taking us along and showing us France – in words at least, if not in body. “The magic of wine does not exist in a vacuum,” he writes; “that magic is defined by the place the wine comes from and the personality behind it.”
- The Drops of God, Volume 1, by Tadashi Agi and Shu Okimoto
- The Vintner’s Apprentice: An insider’s guide to the art and craft of wine making, taught by the masters, by Eric Miller
- A Toast to Bargain Wines, by George M. Taber (not recommended)