Archive for the ‘Wine-Book Reviews’ Category

Mon docteur le vin: Wine, My Doctor, cures all disease

May 19, 2014

mon docteur cover.2

written by Michael Oudyn

“If you drink Chablis with your oysters, you will never get typhoid fever. All doctors know this.”    This is my personal favorite from Mon docteur le vin. A charming watercolor shows a sophisticated Parisian family heading out of town because “of an outbreak of typhoid fever.” Apparently some ignorant neighbors just don’t know that drinking wine is “the best prevention for typhoid” and are drinking too much water. (more…)

Au Revoir to All That by Michael Steinberger: The Decline and Fall of French Wine and Cuisine

March 12, 2011

Book review by Michael Oudyn

Michael Steinberger´s Au Revoir To All That: Food, Wine And The End of France is a premier cru example of the popular sub-genre: The “Decline and Fall of French Cooking.”  The basic plot line is familiar to  Americans of my generation. Many, myself included, have lived it.

It goes something like this: Act I: Somewhere in France.  We experience The Great Awakening from boring American cooking, discover the joy of eating which enhances our joie de vivre. Steinberger´s revelation comes in the Loire Valley as an adolescent. The agent of his epiphany is the humble baby pea, drowned in butter, of course.

Act II: We achieve The Ecstasy through a few truly sublime meals and become Francophiles. Steinberger amusingly relates such an experience. The three-star Au Crocodile restaurant in Strasbourg is the venue. The chef´s signature dish, a stew featuring “a gorgeous pink-gray (duck) liver with black truffles” leaves him “whimpering in such ecstasy” that he grins (more…)

Robert Parker and the rise of the great American taste bud

September 18, 2010

written by Michael Oudyn

Robert M. Parker is still the  most influential wine critic on the planet.  His power  is mind-numbing.  “When Parker spits, the world listens.”   So, where does the secret lie? His personal traits? Chance historical events? “The spirit of his times”?  I pulled Elin McCoy’s The Rise of Robert M. Parker, Jr. and the Reign of American Taste off the shelf  looking for answers and this is exactly what McCoy, international wine judge and wine columnist of Bloomberg Markets,  explores.

She portrays Parker, both the man and the myth, as typically American.  Raised on meatloaf and soft drinks in Monkton, (more…)

Wine Book Review:Billionaire’s Vinegar

March 18, 2010


written by Michael Oudyn

In 1985 a bottle of 1787 Bordeaux wine is sold at Christie´s auction house for $156,000.   Benjamin Wallace tells the story. It starts with Thomas Jefferson, America´s third president and first world-class wine geek.  He is leisurely travelling through France´s major wine regions compulsively taking notes despite the awesome challenges facing his new country and the mounting turmoil of revolutionary Paris. At one point he methodically orders caseloads of the great wines of the time (Haut-Brion, Latour, Margaux, Lafite) but, due to the political chaos, they never arrive. Or do they? Fast forward to the 1980s. A substantial stash of 18th century wine is found in Jefferson´s old Paris neighborhood. The bottles are engraved with Jefferson´s initials (“Th. J.”).They find their way into the hands of secretive German wine expert Hardy Rodenstock who keeps the facts  hazy.  The resulting mystery gives rise to dark rumours of Nazi bunkers turned wine cellars and/or smuggling rings from Communist Russia. Of course none of this is in the catalog description, but it all adds to the mystique–and dollar value—of the Jefferson wines. At the auction Kip (more…)