The Search for Good Wine
From the Founding Fathers to the Modern Table
By John Hailman
Publisher: University Press of Mississippi
Publication Date: 10/7/14
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
A series of amusing, practical essays on how to enjoy and afford good wines by the author of Thomas Jefferson on Wine.
The Search for Good Wine is a highly entertaining and informative book on all aspects of wine and its consumption by nationally-syndicated wine columnist John Hailman, author of the critically-acclaimed Thomas Jefferson on Wine (2006). Hailman explores the wine-drinking experiences and tastes of famous wine-lovers from jolly Ben Franklin and the surprisingly enthusiastic George Washington to Julius Caesar, Sherlock Holmes, and Ernest Hemingway among numerous other famous figures. Hailman also recounts in fascinating detail the exotic life of the founder of the California wine industry, Hungarian Agoston Haraszthy, who introduced Zinfindel to the U.S.
Hailman gives calm and reliable guidance on how to deal with snobby wine waiters and how to choose the best wine books and travel guides. He simplifies the ABCs of wine-grape types from the delicate pinot noirs of Oregon to the robust malbecs of Argentina and from the vibrant new whites of Spain to the great reds (old and new) of Italy. The entire book is dedicated to finding values in wine. As Hailman says, “Everyone always wants to know one basic thing: How can you get the best possible wine for the lowest possible price?” His new book is highly practical and effective in answering that eternal question and many more about wine.
A judge at the top international wine competitions for over thirty years, Hailman examines those experiences and the value of “blind” tastings. He gives insightful tips on how to select a good wine store, how to decipher wine labels and wine lists, and even how to extract unruly champagne corks without crippling yourself or others. Hailman simplifies wine jargon and effectively demystifies the culture of wine fascination, restoring the consumption of wine to the natural pleasure it really should be
A special thank you to University Press of Mississippi and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
John Hailman’s THE SEARCH FOR GOOD WINE, a fascinating exploration of the early days of modern global wine trade, for an informative read for wine enthusiasts and historians.
Filled with research, and fun filled epicurean tidbits, Hailman offers readers a collection of stories from founding fathers to the modern table (and dedicated to the women in his life, a special touch).
People: From Famous People who Love (d) Good Wine—Ben Franklin, Hemingway, Thomas Jefferson, Sherlock Holmes, Robin Hood, Julius Caesar, to giants of the Bible, chefs, wine tasters, to owners of wineries.
Places: Going Places with Wine, Traveling from New Orleans, the Deep South, Napa Valley, to France and Italy, and beyond.
Tips: For Enjoying good Wine – From old wine books to savor, wine shops, serving wine, health aspects, judging wines, wine as deserts, bad wine, sulfites suffice (enjoyed this part as have an allergy issue), champagne, to wine words.
Humor: Finding Humor in Wine – From cartoons, worst wine, The Guinness Book of Wine Records, plus more,
The Search for Good Wine is written for a broad audience—from the casual wine drinker to the most discerning. As the author mentions, this book is meant to be sipped, not drunk. The essays included can be an appetizer or desserts. Some are well aged, but all the modern five minute reads suitable for the night table or airport.
A collection of columns written over the author’s career as a syndicated columnist to over one hundred daily newspapers. Wine trends are ever-changing, yet highly traditional and consistent. This book combines the genres as a simple introduction to an endlessly fascinating subject which can be as complex, or as simple as a reader desires.
The only real negative--No Photos! As a designer, I am big into imagery. When you think of (gourmet cooking, food, and wine) and a book of this nature, high resolution images are a must; and would have enhanced the book--in my opinion, would offer a higher overall rating and experience for the reader. When thinking of wine, not many want to read, as a technical guide with text only.
John Hailman, Oxford, Mississippi, has worked as a wine consultant, nationally syndicated weekly wine columnist, and as a regular wine judge for over 20 years. He is also a retired federal prosecutor at the U.S. Attorney’s office in Oxford, Mississippi. He is the author of Thomas Jefferson on Wine, and From Midnight to Guntown, both from University Press of Mississippi.