What better way to celebrate the dog days of summer than curled up in your hammock or beach chair with a book you can’t put down, and a glass of something lip-smackingly delicious close at hand?
Summer reading is highly personal – some relish a good bit of mindless fluff while others use the time poolside to catch up on thought-provoking or hobby-enhancing reads.
Occasionally, oh-so-occasionally, a book will allow you to achieve multiple ends: you learn something while being thoroughly entertained. Characters (however real or fictional) come alive so much so they feel like part of your life. Dots connect in ways they hadn’t before, and more memorably, because the story itself is so tangible.
In his book American Wine: A Coming of Age Story, Tom Acitelli delivers a page-turning summer read for fans of history, fans of wine, fans of villains and heroes alike that stretches like a perfect summer day into today's 20-teens. Acitelli’s captivating, appropriately detailed narrative transports you at once from Rouen, France where Julia Child was first introduced to the concept of wine at lunch (! - 1948), to a then fledgling mid-1970s New York City and its finger-crossing venture Windows on the World, to Miljenko "Mike" Grgich's post-WWII Croatia, back to College Park, Maryland and Robert Parker's first sniffs and tastes in the late 1960s, to the epic Judgement of Paris, Robert Mondavi’s pursuits -- and beyond!
Whether you are new to wine, 'simply' believe it one of the best party tricks for bringing people together, and/or are a long-time fan, certainly gaining a little perspective and new insight is always winning - no matter the genre. And, we admit, situated in Boston in particular it can be quite easy to look further east to the Old World of wine, rather than west to the New, to understand and perhaps appreciate wine even more.
Acitelli breaks this bubble, illuminating not "just" his title's thrust, but the global political, economic, technological and cultural influences, anecdotes and characters essential to understanding how far the American wine industry has come in such a short time – and how essential all of the players and factors worldwide have been to achieving such an end.
As we often say, like looking at a piece of art for the first time, whether you're inclined to like it, love it or hate it, fuller appreciation emerges when its story – its context – is revealed.
Here Acitelli paints a large, overdue, page-turning portrait of (American) wine that, in itself, is lip-smackingly good.