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TomHill

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SBR: Godforsaken Grapes by Jason Wilson

by TomHill » Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:01 pm

Received my copy of this new book, Godforsaken Grapes by Jason Wilson last week. Started reading it today and wound up getting sucked in to reading for several hours, jumping around from chapter to chapter.
This is not a dry documentary book on obscure grape varietives to be used as a reference. It is written in a narrative style, much like NealRosenthal's "Reflections of a Wine Merchant" or Kermit Lynch's "Adventures Along the Wine Trail". It recounts his interactions w/ numerous people over several yrs as he tracks down obscure and not-so-obscure (like Gruner Veltliner or Blaufrankisch) varieties and the people behind making those wines. Lots of familiar names in there.
This is an entertaining and absolutely fascinating read. Especially for somebody like myself who long ago blew off the Cabernet/Chard/PinotNoir paradigm. I think even those who have no interest in these obscure grapes will also enjoy reading it.
A very highly recommended read.
Tom
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Re: SBR: Godforsaken Grapes by Jason Wilson

by Steve Slatcher » Tue May 01, 2018 4:14 am

I agree almost completely with the more factual bits of your description of the book, and I too managed to read it quickly. But I am not sure he was actualy on a mission to track down rare wines and grapes. My impression was that they were wines he happened across over several years of press trips. If I were tracking down rare stuff, I would have ignored GV and Prosecco, and headed further east in Europe - for example.

Where we differ most though is that I did not really enjoy the book, but that is of course just a personal opinion. I would have preferred something with more structure, even if not exactly a reference book - though to be fair the style was signalled in the book's subtitle. If anything, I thought more conserative winelovers might enjoy the book more than me.
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Points...

by TomHill » Tue May 01, 2018 9:08 am

Steve Slatcher wrote:I agree almost completely with the more factual bits of your description of the book, and I too managed to read it quickly. But I am not sure he was actualy on a mission to track down rare wines and grapes. My impression was that they were wines he happened across over several years of press trips. If I were tracking down rare stuff, I would have ignored GV and Prosecco, and headed further east in Europe - for example.

Where we differ most though is that I did not really enjoy the book, but that is of course just a personal opinion. I would have preferred something with more structure, even if not exactly a reference book - though to be fair the style was signalled in the book's subtitle. If anything, I thought more conserative winelovers might enjoy the book more than me.


Points well taken, Steve. I classify it more of wine entertainment than anything...and I've been pretty
entertained, so far. The first chapter brought up a bunch of new grapes I'd not heard of. When I cross one,
I then go to Jancis to read more detail than he offers up. So I'm learning new stuff that way.
The chapter on GV was one of the first one I jumped to. I was a little disappointed that he didn't offer more
info on St.Georgen. I would have thought he'd have talked to whomever it was that tracked that vine down.
That would have made for a very good story, I think.
But I enjoyed his take on the rise, post antifreeze in '85, of GV and then into hipdom and the fall of GV because it became
too hip among the older drinkers. And how it is returning to hipdom.
I'll probably read the Prosecco chapter next to see what he says of the theft of that name from the town of Prosecco
in the Carso.
Tom
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Re: SBR: Godforsaken Grapes by Jason Wilson

by Steve Slatcher » Tue May 01, 2018 10:13 am

Yeh, I found interesting the bit about how fashions in wine come and go, even if it does not really impact me and my circle of friends very much. Or perhaps precisely because I am not directly affected.

Maybe my last post comes across as more negative than I really felt. I certainly have no regrets about buying and reading it, but was left with the feeling that there was another book on the subject I would have enjoyed more.
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Yup....

by TomHill » Thu May 03, 2018 11:32 am

Steve Slatcher wrote:I agree almost completely with the more factual bits of your description of the book, and I too managed to read it quickly. But I am not sure he was actualy on a mission to track down rare wines and grapes. My impression was that they were wines he happened across over several years of press trips. If I were tracking down rare stuff, I would have ignored GV and Prosecco, and headed further east in Europe - for example.

Where we differ most though is that I did not really enjoy the book, but that is of course just a personal opinion. I would have preferred something with more structure, even if not exactly a reference book - though to be fair the style was signalled in the book's subtitle. If anything, I thought more conserative winelovers might enjoy the book more than me.


Yup, Steve...now that I've read more of his book, I can see the point your're making. The writing is kinda unfocused.
In the Prosecco chapter, he wanders about his time in the Zurich airport drinking Prosecco in the wake of the Iceland volcano.
Then strays into Amarone Valpolicella, then into Timorasso. Sorta like being lost in the woods.
Tom
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Re: SBR: Godforsaken Grapes by Jason Wilson

by Robin Garr » Thu May 03, 2018 11:38 am

Okay, I have to read this. Available on Amazon for $19.99 hardcover, $9.99 Kindle. For those interested, here's a link. (Associate link, if you buy through it we'll get a few cents (literally) to help keep the lights turned on.)

https://amzn.to/2HLEj5p
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Qualification..

by TomHill » Thu May 03, 2018 11:44 am

As I've gotten deeper into Jason's book, I've become a little perplexed by his writing style.
He tends to be a bit unfocused and scatter-shot in his approach in each chapter and sometimes
wanders around in the woods, heading off on strange/unrelated tangents. I would like to see a bit
more precision & focus in his writing.
I did learn from his Prosecco chapter that I had the whole Glera/Prosecco grape controversy pretty much
wrong. Though the Veneto Prosecco people are still the bad guys.
That being said, I still find this book a very entertaining read and Jason is a good storyteller.
I guess I'd call it wine porn, if anything. When he brings up a new grape variety with which I'm not familiar,
I immediately look it up in Jancis/d'Agata for the "just the facts, Maam" part and learning a lot that way.

So....not the ideal book but still very entertaining and still highly rec ommended.
Tom
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Re: SBR: Godforsaken Grapes by Jason Wilson

by Steve Slatcher » Fri May 04, 2018 3:40 am

A slight difference in enjoyment level, but basically we seem to agree, Tom. :)
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Re: SBR: Godforsaken Grapes by Jason Wilson

by kasey.dubler » Tue May 08, 2018 12:46 pm

All this talk convinced me to buy the book and it was just delivered this morning. I now have big plans for the weekend of laying in my hammock in my back yard reading this book and drinking some Teran, Sciacarello and Ramisco just to get in the mood...
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Well..

by TomHill » Tue May 08, 2018 12:51 pm

kasey.dubler wrote:All this talk convinced me to buy the book and it was just delivered this morning. I now have big plans for the weekend of laying in my hammock in my back yard reading this book and drinking some Teran, Sciacarello and Ramisco just to get in the mood...


Sounds like a perfect plan to me, Kasey. Just take it as Wine Porn & don't get too serious.
Tom
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SBR: Godforsaken Grapes by Jason Wilson...Finished

by TomHill » Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:55 pm

TomHill wrote:Received my copy of this new book, Godforsaken Grapes by Jason Wilson last week. Started reading it today and wound up getting sucked in to reading for several hours, jumping around from chapter to chapter.
This is not a dry documentary book on obscure grape varietives to be used as a reference. It is written in a narrative style, much like NealRosenthal's "Reflections of a Wine Merchant" or Kermit Lynch's "Adventures Along the Wine Trail". It recounts his interactions w/ numerous people over several yrs as he tracks down obscure and not-so-obscure (like Gruner Veltliner or Blaufrankisch) varieties and the people behind making those wines. Lots of familiar names in there.
This is an entertaining and absolutely fascinating read. Especially for somebody like myself who long ago blew off the Cabernet/Chard/PinotNoir paradigm. I think even those who have no interest in these obscure grapes will also enjoy reading it.
A very highly recommended read.
Tom


After this got lost in my pile of books to read, I picked up where I left off and finished the last half in a week.

This book is a terrific read. Not a reference book on obscure grapes, but just a terrific narrative read, like KermitLynch/NeilRosenthal's books. Jason can really spin a yarn.

Of course, if you drink nothing but DRC/ScreamingEagle; this book will not interest you.

Tom
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Re: SBR: Godforsaken Grapes by Jason Wilson...Finished

by TomHill » Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:59 pm

TomHill wrote:
TomHill wrote:Received my copy of this new book, Godforsaken Grapes by Jason Wilson last week. Started reading it today and wound up getting sucked in to reading for several hours, jumping around from chapter to chapter.
This is not a dry documentary book on obscure grape varietives to be used as a reference. It is written in a narrative style, much like NealRosenthal's "Reflections of a Wine Merchant" or Kermit Lynch's "Adventures Along the Wine Trail". It recounts his interactions w/ numerous people over several yrs as he tracks down obscure and not-so-obscure (like Gruner Veltliner or Blaufrankisch) varieties and the people behind making those wines. Lots of familiar names in there.
This is an entertaining and absolutely fascinating read. Especially for somebody like myself who long ago blew off the Cabernet/Chard/PinotNoir paradigm. I think even those who have no interest in these obscure grapes will also enjoy reading it.
A very highly recommended read.
Tom


After this got lost in my pile of books to read, I picked up where I left off and finished the last half in a week.

This book is a terrific read. Not a reference book on obscure grapes, but just a terrific narrative read, like KermitLynch/NeilRosenthal's books. Jason can really spin a yarn.

Of course, if you drink nothing but DRC/ScreamingEagle; this book will not interest you.

Now starting WinkLorch's book on Jura wines.

Tom
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Re: SBR: Godforsaken Grapes by Jason Wilson...Finished

by Robin Garr » Mon Feb 11, 2019 2:10 pm

TomHill wrote:Now starting WinkLorch's book on Jura wines]

Looking forward to the TomHill review!
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Yup...

by TomHill » Mon Feb 11, 2019 2:17 pm

Robin Garr wrote:
TomHill wrote:Now starting WinkLorch's book on Jura wines]

Looking forward to the TomHill review!


Yup, Robin....it's a beautifully done book and very comprehensive. Confirms my wish to visit the Jura.
Tom
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Re: SBR: Godforsaken Grapes by Jason Wilson

by Jim Grow » Mon Feb 11, 2019 2:53 pm

Having gotten deeply into Chateauneuf du Pape in the last few years, I saw a mention by RMP of a book on the subject by Harry Karis and his son Phil released a decade ago. Any opinions/recommendations about this book?
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Opinions???

by TomHill » Mon Feb 11, 2019 2:57 pm

Jim Grow wrote:Having gotten deeply into Chateauneuf du Pape in the last few years, I saw a mention by RMP of a book on the subject by Harry Karis and his son Phil released a decade ago. Any opinions/recommendations about this book?


Opinions, Jim?? Moi?? Perish the thought.
Yup, I've got the book and read most of it. It's quite good and a very comprehensive coverage of the various estates.
On the expensive side & I don't have much of an interest in CdP wines, since I don't eat sushi much; but it is
a very good book.
Tom

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