Books for Wine Lovers By Philip Dunne
Philip Dunne is the Head Sommelier at The Westbury Hotel, a wine writer, WSET educator who has received many accolades. Here he suggests some of his favourite books as gifts for the wine lover in your life.
If like me, you adore nothing more than your Decanter, Wine Spectator, or Noble Rot magazine coming through the door each month, or if like many you just enjoy a nice glass of wine, there are so many wine books to gift to a wine aficionado friend, family member, or to yourself which will delight you or them through this Christmas season. Here’s my pick of some of the best.
Noble Rot: Wine From Another Galaxy (2020)
By Dan Keeling and Mark Andrew MW
€36 RRP Dubray Books (www.dubraybooks.ie)
Noble Rot has been the holy grail of wine magazines for wine lovers since its launch in 2013. After launching two restaurant & wine bars under the same name of Noble Rot in recent years, authors Dan Keeling and Mark Andrew MW have graced the cult fan base of their quarterly published magazines with a truly gorgeous book, one that takes pride of place in my own home. This isn’t a book for wine experts, it’s one for everyone to enjoy. Witty, humorous, informative – while comprehensive this book takes the nonsense and pretence out of wine and injects it with easy to understand language, stories, and some of the most abstract and wonderful artwork you will find in any wine book. In this book, you will explore oodles of grape of varieties, the culture and stories of winemakers they have met over the years, and detailed accounts on the most noted wine regions around the world. If you should only buy one wine book in your life, this is the one you should buy. Perhaps I ought to have left this one until the end (save the best till last?), but then again this deserves first place both in this list here, and your Christmas gifting list too.
Wine and War: The French, The Nazis, and The Battle for France’s Greatest Treasure (2001)
By Donald Kladstrup & Petie Kladstrup (2001)
€18.19 RRP Easons (www.easons.com)
One for the history geeks who enjoy wine, this book is a fascinating read detailing the accounts of heroic winemakers during World War 2. Husband and wife authors Don & Petie Kladstrup have researched and accumulated fascinating stories of how the vignerons and winemakers went to daring lengths to save their vineyards, top wines, and even Jewish refugees, who hid deep in their cellars to evade the Gestapo. A coincidently uplifting and heart-breaking book, this is a piece of wine literature that can be admired by those who enjoy both fiction, non-fiction and appreciate the art of wine with an influence of historical emotion. A sentimental ode to the courageous French vignerons of their time, this book is a testament to bravery and love for those in persecution, and some of the finest wines in the depths of Bordeaux, Burgundy and beyond in France
Secrets of the Sommeliers: How to Think and Drink Like the World’s Top Wine Professionals (2010)
By Rajat Parr & Jordan Mackay
€30 RRP on Amazon
Before becoming one of Oregon and California’s most celebrated winemakers today, Rajat Parr back in 2010 was considered by most as America’s top sommelier, leading as Wine Director for the Mina Group, a group of Americas 17 most remarkable restaurants. With this book, Parr and wine journalist Jordan Mackay present a fascinating depiction of wine professionals and their trade, interviewing some top of their game sommeliers in the US who give envy-inducing tales of splendid bottles sold, and what the most remarkable wines in the world taste like.
Parr all the way through the book also offers his take on the sommelier profession providing an engaging course in tasting and serving wine like an expert; sharing methods for procuring ‘unicorn’ or hard to find bottles at a sensible price, finding value sweet spots amongst the top regions, and educating readers on how to make inspired food pairings.
If like me, you’re also a sommelier, and want to learn off one of the best in Parr, be sure to make this book part of your library.
You can find Philip on Twitter and Instagram @somm_philip