Jim Laughren loves wine, with a poetical passion. He wants you, the reader, to love wine too, and therefore offers up fifty suggestions – everything from study topics to party-planning suggestions, even volunteer opportunities and travel plans – that will help generate and/or deepen an appreciation for the history, cultural significance, production, and enjoyment of that ancient beverage. He certainly starts the book off with a bang: the first chapter explains how to open a Champagne bottle with a saber, a showy and dramatic gesture that is perhaps not his safest recommendation, but may be among the most fun.
There’s something in here for every approach to wine, however. There’s history, from accounts of ancient Greek and Hungarian wine-production methods now coming back into vogue to discussions of the personalities of wine makers and drinkers over the centuries. There’s science, as he invites the reader to investigate the effects of terroir – that is, the particular micro-climate of soil, water conditions, temperature and other factors that affect the growth of wine grapes – and of wine production methods on the finished product. There are encouragements to travel, to enjoy fascinating cultures and new experiences, and ideas about what to look for and ask about on a winery tour.
Sociable readers will appreciate Laughren’s suggestions for wine-tasting parties that encourage a convivial experience of, perhaps, a particular style of wines, or wines from a particular place of origin. He cheerfully encourages readers who favor wines that more snobbish wine enthusiasts disdain – rosés, for example, or sweet dessert wines – to delight in their preferred styles and offers suggestions about where to find the best of them. He is also eager to share information about more obscure styles and vintages of wines that are worth exploring. His knowledge is extensive, both wide and deep, and he is quite obviously delighted to share it with any reader willing to sit down and explore possibilities with him. At times, his enthusiasm overflows into excessively flowery, overblown language, but his clear, honest delight in his subject, and his warm, non-judgemental attitude, make reading this book a pleasure nonetheless. (And, to be honest, one expects a bit of flowery, overblown poetry from wine enthusiasts – it’s part of the experience.)
50 WAYS TO LOVE WINE MORE is a cheerful, energetic, wide-ranging romp that offers a host of ways to explore, learn about, experience, and thoroughly enjoy wine.
~Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader