The irony of this comment was not lost on Mike Steinberger. In his new book, after noting that London is now, actually, a great food city, he turns the tables on Chirac, saying, “Where once the mere mention of food by a French leader would have elicited thoughts of Gallic refinement and achievement, its invocation now served to underscore the depths of France’s decline. They’ve even lost their edge in the kitchen.”
Mike is probably best known to wine geeks as the wine columnist for Slate.com. But in Au Revoir to All That: Food, Wine, and the End of France, available on Amazon today, he broadens his focus to include food, specifically, haute cuisine in France. Unlike much food writing, which is prone to sometimes excessive praise, Mike takes up the task of analyzing the decline of French food through the lens of a love lost. Imbued with nostalgia and occasional bafflement at the new French ability to turn gold into lead, Mike wolfs down raw milk camembert and praline mille feuilles, talks with leading chefs and restaurateurs, probes the inner workings of the Michelin Guide, cross examines bureaucrats, journeys to Spain, has a glass of water with the head of McDonald’s Europe, meets a struggling vintner who sold his house in order to keep his winery, and contemplates the lack of ethnic diversity in French restaurants with a Pakistani-born chef.
It’s a meaty tale that provokes thought and stimulates the palate: wine and food lovers will want to savor it this summer.
Thanks to Bloomsbury, the publisher, we have three signed copies of the book to give away to readers of this site. To qualify for the drawing, hit the comments below and tell us where you had your best (or at least a great) meal, restaurant and city. If you’re not feeling in an haute cuisine spirit, tell us about your favorite street food experience. Enter by Thursday to qualify; randomly selected winners will be announced here on Friday morning.
UPDATE: Slate has just posted an excerpt about “How the Michelin guide crippled France’s restaurants.”
I’ll be in Chicago at the end of the month for a Saturday seminar at the University of Chicago Graham School. The class will explore in greater depth some of the themes related to my book Wine Politics: How Governments, Environmentalists, Mobsters and Critics influence the Wines We Drink. We’ll also be tasting through some excellent wines as we have done in previous installment of this course. No previous knowledge of wine is necessary and the session is non-degree and noncredit. It’s Saturday, June 27, 2:30 – 6:30 PM just off Michigan Avenue. Registration and details.
On another book related note, in case you are puzzling what to get for Father’s Day, I’m happy to reinstate my offer of signed gift copies. Send me via PayPal the amazon price, tax, and shipping (say, $25) of either Wine Politics or the practical guide, A Year of Wine: Perfect Pairings, Great Buys, and What to Sip for Each Season (which actually has more wine-related Father’s Day gift ideas in it), and I’ll send a copy of either book inscribed as you please to whatever domestic address you like. So much more interesting than a tie! Don’t delay since Father’s Day is rapidly approaching! There’s also a Kindle edition of A Year of Wine but I can’t sign that one for you without smudging your screen.
Next Wednesday I’ll be at the James Beard House to talk about my new book, A Year of Wine: Perfect Pairings, Great Buys, and What to Sip for Each Season. It’s part of their monthly author series called Beard on Books.
I was fortunate enough to have been able to give a talk there last year for my other book, Wine Politics, and the turnout was great and the discussion was excellent. Because A Year of Wine dovetails on the seasonal food movement by suggesting varying the wines you drink with the seasons, I’m thrilled to be heading to this gastronomic institution for this discussion. Hope to see you there!
Wednesday, June 10, Noon – 1 PM
167 W. 12th Street
Suggested donation: $20; students free. Event page on their site.
It was only November when I first heard about the Korean edition of my book, Wine Politics: How Governments, Environmentalists, Mobsters, and Critics Influence the Wines We Drink. And now it has been printed–and with a better cover, I might add. Wow, that was fast.
In news about my other book, A Year of Wine: Perfect Pairings, Great Buys, and What to Sip for Each Season, we have blog reviews!
Jeff at goodgrape.com writes: “It has ascended to the top of my intro. guide favorites list…Not only is his crystalline writers voice clear, concise and accessible, but he’s truly done something inventive with the introductory wine guide genre by interspersing his wisdom very suitably within the context of the calendar.”
Cathy Huyghe writes: “…this book makes wine fun. Relevant. Not stodgy. Easy reading. And by the end of it – or by the end of the month if you prefer – you’ll have learned something new. When it comes to books on wine, you cannot ask for anything more.”
Vinography posts Tim Patterson’s review of Wine Politics: “Dr. Vino knows his stuff–and rest assured, the writing is clean, clear and lively, not the least pedantic, and in no way requiring an advanced degree in econometrics.”
And, finally, you can check out a video Q&A with me done by the good folks at Organic Wine Journal. They also have some other vids there about cow horns with Mike Benziger or how to spit with Lyle Fass so you might just click away from mine to surf around their site.
Beppi also happens to the be wine columnist for the Toronto Globe and Mail. His column today is about changing what’s in your wine glass with the seasons, which is the heart of my book, A Year of Wine: Perfect Pairings, Great Buys and What to Sip for Each Season. It’s a really good article that is part book review, part profile and part wine picks. Be sure to check it out!
Which wines are you looking forward to having in your glass as the weather warmer, the days get longer and more vegetables become available?
Time for a review roundup! Simon & Schuster, the publisher of my book, A Year of Wine: Perfect Pairings, Great Buys and What to Sip for Each Season, submitted it to the Amazon Vine program. In this program, Amazon sends review copies to some of their customer reviewers who may review it on the product page on Amazon. So far there are twenty-two customer reviews on the site; feel free to click through, check them out and add yours if you like.
As the author, it is slightly nerve-racking to see reviews coming in right at the point of sale. Fortunately the reception has been excellent. But this point-of-sale review is the future (er, present?) of online retail. As more wine sales shift online in coming years, particularly through the prospect of Amazon entering wine retail, wineries will have to adjust to this form of popular criticism, which could certainly serve as a sharp break with the dominant sales model of the past couple decades, selling wines based on the scores of critics.
There’s also a new video embedded on the Amazon page. In the still shot, my head looks like that member of the Jedi Council with the enormously long head. But if you roll it, things get proportional.
The book is now also available on the Amazon e-reader, Kindle!
Wine & Spirits magazine wrote in February that “”this is a guide you’ll want to keep near the top of your reference pile.”
>Pittsburgh Post-Gazette flagged it on their Santa short list, calling it a “user-friendly book…[where] pairings can venture from the ordinary.”
Joe Roberts, aka One Wine Dude, provides a soaring endorsement of the Year of Dr. Vino. Even his baby daughter had her own tasting notes on the book (or chewing notes). Thanks, Joe!
Wine in the ‘Peg recommends A Year of Wine as their first wine book ever recommended! They dig the seasonal enjoyment of wine and say, “His writing style keeps your attention and he brings a fresh perspective to the topic of wine. I’m about a third of the way into it and am just loving it. It’s a fabulous read and is highly recommended.”
The Balanced Grad even stumbled on this wine book saying “has a great writing voice and talks about wine in a relaxed and totally unimposing way. He looks at wine from a seasonal approach, hammering down the point that wine should complement the mood and temperature of each season. I’m really into seasonal eating (hello, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle!) so I can’t help but gravitate towards this idea…”
And don’t forget my other book, good old Wine Politics: How Governments, Environmentalists, Mobsters, and Critics Influence the Wines We Drink, which got a very positive review in the Journal of Wine Economics.
Send in your comments on either book and we will link ‘em up! See previous review roundups.
As I have mentioned previously, my book, Wine Politics: How Governments, Environmentalists, Mobsters, and Critics Influence the Wines We Drink, will be published in Korea. Here’s a note from my Korean agent:
Dear Mr. Tyler Colman,
The translator inquired about the meaning of “scientific wild-ass guess” in page 93 of this book. Would you please explain this to me?
I look forward to hearing from you.
All the best wishes,
The reference was from a California winemaker who, upon launching his new wine, pulled the price out of thin air. Or elsewhere.
It’s time for a review of some reviews! Thanks to all who have taken time to write their thoughts about one or both of my books; I’m glad they have gotten a warm reception. And thanks for buying the books and giving them as gifts! Purchasing one or both of these hardcover books helps support this blog and all its free content all for the price of less than your entry-level Pinot Noir (and there’s even a list of Pinots under $25 in A Year of Wine!).
In the photo snatched from a video, the black backdrop isn’t from Charlie Rose; I actually did a video podcast at the swanky new studio in the offices of Simon & Schuster and they have it now on their web site. Hear the exciting backstory of how this blog was forged in an artisanal workshop and then launched on an unsuspecting world! And an overview of what’s in the book! And where the stock market will bottom! Okay, maybe not that last one.
Bill Daley had very nice review of A Year of Wine in the Chicago Tribune, calling it “charming…witty, lively and loaded with common sense. [Colman] offers up wine suggestions for every holiday on the calendar. Just what we all need.” Click through to see the other books he reviews!
I also went on the New Hampshire Public Radio show, Word of Mouth, for the second time this year. Host Virginia Prescott and I chatted about plotting your wines to the seasons and some holiday wines. Listen here.
At the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, columnist Elizabeth Downer writes Santa that “All I want for Christmas is a cool wine gift” and includes A Year of Wine on her list.
Over at Slashfood, Gretchen Roberts writes about A Year of Wine that “the key to writing a successful and engaging book is in organizing the material in a new way, or what editors like to call “packaging.” Colman’s packaging is what makes the book worth buying. Talking about drinking wine with the seasons is new, different, and it makes so much sense to regard wine in this way…I absolutely recommend [it] as a great buy for your bookshelf and your comfy chair.
Tom Wark, the first to post a review, writes on his blog, Fermentation, that A Year of Wine is “a terrific addition to the Wine Guide genre that will enlighten many a wine drinker by making their relationship to wine deeper and more meaningful…and probably more fun too.”
Richard, the Passionate Foodie, writes that AYOW is “far more than just a buying guide, more than just a dry recitation of recommended wines. So I bought the book and eagerly devoured it in its entirety the next day.”
Over on Smells like Grape, Taster B writes about AYOW that “fans of the Dr. Vino blog will certainly want to have this book around for a handy reference, or buy it as a gift for the wine newbie on their list.”
Also about AYOW, Jesse at Young Winos of LA writes, “Dr. Vino’s stately hardcover is the one you display on your coffee table and read with a big glass of Zinfandel. If it’s winter, that is. Because if it’s summer, you’d read it on the porch with a Prosecco, and if it’s fall, you’d pop a Mourvedre.”
UPDATE: Dr. Debs posted a review today including it on a list of gift books, saying AYOW is “the perfect choice if you have someone on your list who is new to wine or is intimidated by wine.”
Sharon Kapnick, an experienced freelance wine writer, actually pops off a thoughtful review of both books, noting my Dr. Vino and Dr. Colman sides. Of A Year of Wine, she writes, “there aren’t many wine books — if any — organized around seasons…The book is laced with Colman’s sense of humor and charm…Also included are 12 wine tourism destinations, short interviews with some of the country’s best sommeliers, and numerous useful sidebars: “How to Chill a Wine Bottle in Five Minutes,” “How to Tell If It’s Sulfur That Gives You Headaches.”
Of Wine Politics, she writes “At last, a topic that has long deserved attention has gotten it, in a well-written book that is as compelling as its subtitle is catchy. It will change the way you think and may even change the way you shop and the wines you buy.”
I also discuss both books on the KDVS (UC Davis) radio show, “It’s About You!” for almost an hour with host France Kassing. (see 11/24 show)
And I also talked with host Jerome McDonnell about Wine Politics on his Chicago Public Radio (WBEZ) show “Worldview.”
Vancouver Wine Info says “Wine Politics is the type of book you can pick up and read 6 months later and still be intrigued. I give it 93 points!”
Wine Marketing + Law Canada says of Wine Politics: “Excellent book discussing how politics affects the quality, cost and availability of wine. Although the book barely mentions Canada, the issues and topics are nowhere more relevant and applicable than here in Canada, and particularly in BC and Ontario.”
The Spanish glossy wine mag, Sibaritas, gives Wine Politics four stars (out of four)!
Jeff Lefevere of the blog Good Grape, features briefly in Wine Politics as Mr. Frustrated Wine Consumer in Indiana, writes “this book should be required reading for all wine lovers. Everybody.” And then he proceeds with ten things that he learned in the book. Check out his list!
Finally, Thomas McGowan calls it “eye opening” and a “must read” in his review on Amazon. If you liked the book and don’t have your own blog, consider heading over there and posting your comments.
Thanks to everyone for the support and I hope you enjoy the books too!