Marnie Old tackles the matter of wine with taste, style
As do most people with a computer that’s turned on more than a few hours a day, I collect a lot of emails from people I don’t know.
There are bankers from Nigeria seeking my account number, lonely widows from Siberia pleading for a plane ticket to the United States, even some bookies from everywhere promising me the win of a lifetime if I only send them my Social Security number.
But I also get some emails from places and people I can’t wait to meet.
Wineries and public relations people from Italy to California send me greetings and news about the latest releases, and sometimes the FedEx guy shows up at the office with an unexpected bottle of wine. Sweet!
Mostly, though, it’s news about the wine biz, and one recent email reminded me how much I miss on the national scene by living in fly-over country.
Earlier this month, Raymond Vineyards of St. Helena, California, deep in the heart of the Napa Valley wine country, hosted Marnie Old, author, sommelier and all-around terrific wine personality, for a one-day book-signing. I couldn’t make the signing but the notice reminded me of how much I enjoy listening to Marnie Old talk about wine.
I’ve seen and listened to Old several times at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen (yes, she’s scheduled to return this year) and to me she is one of the most-talented, bouyant and unpretentious wine talkers you’ll listen to.
Her latest book is titled “Wine: A Tasting Course” and subtitled “A Class in Every Glass” (DK Penguin Random House, 2013, $25 hardcover, $15.99 ebook, 2013, 256 pages.) Old’s premise is that the best way to learn about wine is by tasting it and in this book she takes you on a visual tour of the world’s wine styles while challenging wine myths and standard orthodoxies.
The book is organized by wine styles and flavors, not grape varieties, which allows readers to learn by what’s pleasing to their palate.
This is a “learn at your own pace” book and as I moved through the book I found myself jumping ahead to future chapters with appealing topics and subjects.
The chapters cover most of the expected and necessary wine-basic topics, such as identifying wine smells and tastes, interpreting the confusing world of wine labels, proper storing and pouring of wine and more.
But Old, who formerly was director of wine studies for the well-known French Culinary Institute in Manhattan, also delves ably into the deeper stuff, such as interpreting wine styles, finding the styles that resonate with you and even tackling the daunting subject of the world’s major wine regions (alas, Colorado isn’t among those on the list).
Reading this book is almost as much fun as meeting Marnie Old in person. This may not be the only wine book you’ll ever need, but if it’s the only one you have, you won’t be sorry.