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The Battle for Wine and Love: or How I Saved the World from Parkerization Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (May 5, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156033267
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156033268
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #230,279 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this entertaining oenological salvo, wine blogger and journalist Feiring makes an argument for wine authenticity through adherence to old techniques. She's against what she calls Big Wine—viticulture as business and technology—and blames the shrinking appreciation for hand-vinified, long-aged Old World wines (like the Barolo that eventually led to her career) on, among other things, the UC–Davis School of Enology and Viticulture and the wine writings of critic Robert M. Parker Jr. (of the book's title). But what sets her sprightly polemic apart is that her argument is pinned to a personal narrative of wine tours through Europe and California. Rounding out the Syrah-and-the-City parallels are several female characters who receive noms de vin like Honey-Sugar and the air-kissing Skinny, and most entertainingly of all, the author's Carrie-like relationships. Parker looms like Mr. Big over all Feiring's oenological relationships; they finally have a couple of phone dates that distill the differences between them down to quantifying (Parker) versus qualifying (Feiring). The author, who already has fans through her blog and other journalism, can count on new ones with this publication. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

In the world of wine connoisseurship, Robert Parker’s evaluation of a bottle carries enormous influence. Winemakers bow to his opinion because Parker’s imprimatur can increase demand and thus the price a wine commands. Feiring resents Parker’s blatant hegemony, and she fights vociferously to convince both wine producers and consumers to consider other points of view. Feiring’s root concern is that Parker’s personal tastes govern how wines are now produced regardless of others’ equally informed perspectives and differing tastes. Increasing influence of corporations and big-business interests in what have been hitherto mostly small-family operations have magnified this tendency of the wine world to respond to just one arbiter’s preferences. Feiring traces the development of her own discerning palate and makes a passionate argument for individuality and personality in winemaking. Well-reasoned arguments such as this one over the aesthetics of wine attract a passionate audience. --Mark Knoblauch --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Having survived a Long Island upbringing I ended up as a wine writer. Like many others before me I started out on Carmel Extra Sweet, then onto Lancers and then hit the harder, better, truer stuff. My wine writing career was accidental. My wine education is wholly alternative. I was studying for a Masters in Dance Therapy in Cambridge. My roommate was seriously into wine and we had weekly tastings. My method was to super-taste my way through the line-up so I could spend the evening with the wine I liked best before anyone else got there. A few years down the pike I knew something about wine and there was no going back. Please check out my blog, alicefeiring.com for wine recs, and more of my views on the current trends and tastes in the wine world or random amusements.

Customer Reviews

I found Ms. Feiring's style to be engaging and fun.
Liz Reisberg
Once started I could not put the book down and read it during one cloudy Saturday afternoon.
R. Ellison
Alice Feiring's book takes it a step further and nails it for the wine world of today!
B. Bronzan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

72 of 79 people found the following review helpful By M. Flocco on May 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
To begin, I will mention that most of the bottles in my cellar would likely be bottles that Feiring would enjoy, and some of which I'd guess she'd love. It helps that my cellar is made up almost exclusively of Burgundy, but my guess is that she and I agree on many facets of the product of wine.

Because of this, and because we both dislike many seemingly unbalanced (read: fruit/alcohol bombs) wines, I felt pretty sure that I'd enjoy the book. Instead, I found myself feeling like I was listening more to a book of whine than a book on wine.

My issues:

+ Feiring goes on and on about her distaste for science's intervention into winemaking. On a couple of rare occasions in the book, she tries to convince the reader that she's not anti-science, but her arguments aren't convincing. There is nothing wrong with understanding wine scientifically, nor is there anything wrong with using that knowledge to make wines. Science goes into some of the best wines in the world -- perhaps not RO, but knowledge that isn't merely anecdotal helps to shape them.

+ This book has been compared to Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma" in some reviews here. I couldn't disagree more. Pollan's book could be considered an opinion piece, but his stroke was much gentler. Additionally, he provided gobs more information on his topic. Feiring's material is almost all opinion and truly pushes the reader to believe what she's selling. I do realize that's the format of her book, but for those reasons I don't see the comparison to "The Omnivore's Dilemma".

+ Something about wine knowledge makes people rapidly become wine snobs. I'm guilty of it, and I think most are to some extent.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By monkuboy VINE VOICE on June 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I first found out about this book from reading an article written by the author that appeared in the Los Angeles Times. In it, she seemed on the warpath, ready to offend anyone and anything as a means to get people to read her book to see what her outrageous statements were about. Myself, I thought this woman who criticized winemakers for manipulating wines into big, huge, bold styles in order to please Robert Parker and thus sell more bottles was guilty of the same thing, making outrageous statements and trying to create controversy in order to sell copies of her book.

However, I did agree in principle with what she was saying, that too often these days wines are manipulated into something that tries to please the consumer and they are losing their individuality. So I bought the book. Amazon's price makes it too attractive to pass up.

Pros: Ms. Feiring writes very well. She takes the reader around the globe in her adventures as we meet various winemakers on both sides of the fence, as she advances her argument against over-manipulation. I think most readers would be pretty surprised to find out what goes on in a lot of wineries in order to achieve the sort of wine they want to sell. It's a topic that does need to be more publicized.

Cons: Ms. Feiring sounds like she's taken out a contract on Robert Parker. She is so anti-Parker that it threatens the credibility of the book. She also tries to paint everything in black and white, as in small, family, old-fashioned winemakers = good guys and big, corporate, technology-utilizing winemakers = bad and evil guys. It's the same as people who automatically slam big corporations simply because they are big.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Just Another Reader on April 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Like many other readers, I hoped to find objective arguments for diversity and non-adulterated wines. After finishing the book, I was concerned that she might have weaken her own stance.

While I agree with the points she hoped to convey, I cannot agree with her logic. Her writing grossly simplified the issues: science is bad, biodynamic is good; big corporation is bad, small producer is good. I have had many of the wines mentioned in the book, and I agree that they are unique and good. However, not all of them are from small producers, and certainly not all of them are made in the absence of technology.

Mr. Robert Parker is without question the most influential wine critic today, and perhaps with his enormous influence should also come the responsibility to preserve the regional diversity of wines. Mr. Parker is a big boy, and he certainly doesn't need me to defend him, but he has become the whipboy for everything that is wrong in the wine world. Consumers, producers as well, should realize that Mr. Parker's view represent one man's palate (or a few in the case of the Wine Advocate), and even he says in his publications that the final judge should be our own palates. My point is that Mr. Parker alone cannot be blamed for everything one does not like in the wine world, and blaming him is simply avoiding the bigger issues; in my opinion, all these issues are just the natural progression of wine becoming an international business. Instead of singling out Mr. Parker, Ms. Feiring could do the wine-drinking public a big favor by encouraging everyone to trust their own palate and explore different wine styles.

Perhaps the single biggest reason I am so negative toward this book is that Ms.
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