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Zinfandel: A History of a Grape and Its Wine (California Studies in Food and Culture) Hardcover – September 2, 2003
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Top Customer Reviews
One of the most important things to learn from this book is the truth behind the often cited Count Haraszthy story. This was a story I believed and repeated for years. I'm personally glad to find out I was wrong about that whole tale. It would be great to have lots more people find out about this as well. The truth isn't nearly as colorful as the fiction about the Count, but it's still fascinating to learn how this grape developed.
So all you ZAP members and Zinfandel lovers - please read this book!
The origins of Zinfandel were long a mystery: how the grape got to California, where it originated and exactly what it is - for it was obviously a European variety but there is none known as Zinfandel in the old world. Sullivan himself tracks down the probably journey of the grape to the West Coast and did a lot of research into disproving the myth that Zinfandel was brought to America by Agoston Haraszthy. Further more he thoroughly demolishes the myth, giving chapter and verse, of Haraszthy being the `father' of American wine by being the first to bring European vines to America.
The book was published in 2003 and anyone with an interest in Zinfandel now knows about how, with the help of DNA testing, its origins were tracked down so this reader found no surprises in the penultimate chapter that tells this story
I was confused and irritated by Sullivan's many references to Zinfandel as `claret': at the beginning he says "we have a cellar full of claret, that is California Cabernet Sauvignon, red Bordeaux and Zinfandel" and I don't know how Zinfandel gets on that list or what he means by a Zinfandel claret.
I read the Kindle eBook edition which I thought overpriced at £13 ($20). The formatting is poor, every `page' has words with gaps in them - even the author's surname on the title page is displayed as S U LLIVAN, and there is a redundant index at the end pointing to non-existent page numbers showing how little care went into digitising the book.
All the same, the book is a useful reference for geeks who want the facts on Zinfandel.