When Gourmet magazine debuted in the 1940s, America’s wineries were still reeling from the lingering effects of Prohibition and the loss of wines from war-torn Europe. But for every closed door, there was an open bottle: The bleak postwar years were actually a prelude to today’s unprecedented and widespread appreciation for the grape. New York Times bestselling author Ruth Reichl reread sixty-five years of wine articles in Gourmet to select the best for History in a Glass. The result is a rollicking tale of great meals, great walks, and wonderful drinks as Americans discover the pleasures of wine.
These marvelous essays were written by men and women who were not only on hand to witness wine’s boom but, in many cases, helped to foster the environment that made it thrive. The early days after World War II provided a great opportunity for James Beard and Frank Schoonmaker to reacquaint oenophiles with the joys of European wines. Through tireless dispatches from the Continent, they inspired American vintners to produce world-class wines on their own rich soil.
In subsequent pieces, an impressive, surprisingly diverse roster of writers revel in the sensual and emotional pleasures of wine: the legendary Gerald Asher reflects on the many faces of Chianti; Hillaire Belloc dispenses bits of wisdom by the glass to his niece on her wedding day; the science fiction titan Ray Bradbury rhapsodizes about the earthy pleasures of dandelion wine; Kate Colman explores the moral quandary surrounding a friend’s unintentionally generous gift of a rare Bordeaux; Hugh Johnson reports on Hungarian varieties during the height of Cold War tensions in the early 1970s; even Gourmet’s current spirits editor, James Rodewald, reminisces on the first time he fell in love–with a bottle of Pinot Noir.
With an Introduction by Ruth Reichl, and covering more than six decades of epicurean delights, History in a Glass is an astonishing celebration of all things good and grape.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of eBook: History in a Glass|
|Release Date: 11-26-2008|
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|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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History in a Glass
Reichl: HISTORY IN A GLASS
Celebrating the Repeal
The Vine Dies Hard
It could hardly be expected that a part of the United States which has had as fantastic and extraordinary a history as California, would be anything but extraordinary as far as the history of its viticulture is concerned. A state in which a Mexican general, born a Spaniard, received as his guest a Russian princess who had arrived in America by way of Siberia and Alaska, and protected this Russian princess from the amorous advances of an Indian chief, is no ordinary state. The treatment which the vine has received in California has been exactly as fantastic and as extraordinary as that story, and involves an even greater array of nationalities and events tragic and comic.
In California was planted the largest vineyard in the world, 3,060,000 vines that never produced anything worth drinking. California also boasted the largest small vineyard, a single vine planted in 1783 by a Mexican woman named Maria Marcelina Feliz, and known to have yielded upward of five tons of grapes. The European vine was introduced into California in 1770 by Franciscan missionaries, who brought over with them what were supposed to be Malaga cuttings and planted them around their missions from San Diego up the old Camino Real as far as Monterey and Sonoma. But the grapes they planted were not of any very good variety, and the wine they made was nothing to boast about.
We can safely say that when the Forty-niners arrived on the coast, they found no very good wine awaiting them. People of almost every nationality made a contribution of some sort to...