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History in a Glass: Sixty Years of Wine Writing from Gourmet (Modern Library Food) Paperback – December 11, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Gourmet's editor-in-chief peers into the archives for an intriguing perspective on wine-making history since the magazine's 1941 founding. Reichl culls from a cornucopia of famous food writers—Gerald Asher, James Beard, Frank Schoonmaker—and bares an unabashed boosterism for American wines. As Schoonmaker notes in a series of shimmering early pieces, American vintners had a grand opportunity for growth during the war years, with eminent French chateaux under German control, and yet American viticulture was still reeling from the abuses of Prohibition. Moreover, American vintners resisted using indigenous grape varieties, ignoring "the greatest natural grape-growing area on the earth's surface." With time, the second "American Revolution" was achieved, as Hugh Johnson and Frederick S. Wildman Jr. note enthusiastically in articles from the 1960s and '70s. Meanwhile, Gourmet's bon vivants traveled from France's Bordeaux, Burgundy, Côte d'Or and Rhône regions to Germany's Rhineland, Hungary's elusive Tokay and Spain's Sherry capital, Jerez de la Frontera. Hugh Johnson's supercilious essay "The Wines of Italy" (1972) asks sneeringly, "What great wines, if any, are there in Italy?" thus demonstrating the occasional datedness of the pieces. Wines of Chile, Australia and New Mexico have also inspired these literary oenophiles, happily so. (On sale Mar. 7)
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

During the immediate post-World War II era, wine in America had no existence beyond sacramental use or as a beverage for snobs. Gourmet magazine changed all that. In addition to introducing Americans to the delights of cuisine, Gourmet's stable of writers made readers aware that good wine was indispensable to enhancing all things gustatory. The magazine obviously succeeded at its mission because wine has now surpassed even beer as Americans' strong drink of choice. But those 60 years by no means mark a straight trajectory. Early Gourmet articles by James Beard on French wines dwelled more on food and chefs such as the revolutionary Fernand Point than addressing the wines themselves. The old French vineyard classifications had the force of divine revelation. Change reared its head as Frank Schoonmaker fulminated with no little prescience on the deleterious effects of rigid, inappropriate European winemaking techniques in America's unique climates. EventuallyGourmet's wine writing evolved to full maturity with writers on the level of Gerald Asher and Hugh Johnson. This worthwhile anthology perfectly illustrates the maturity of American taste. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Library Food
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library; 1st edition (December 11, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812971949
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812971941
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,727,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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