The Search for Good Wine

The Search for Good Wine: From the Founding Fathers to the Modern Table

John Hailman
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    The Search for Good Wine
    Book Description:

    The Search for Good Wineis a highly entertaining and informative book on all aspects of wine and its consumption by nationally-syndicated wine columnist John Hailman, author of the critically-acclaimedThomas Jefferson on Wine(2006). Hailman explores the wine-drinking experiences and tastes of famous wine-lovers from jolly Ben Franklin and the surprisingly enthusiastic George Washington to Julius Caesar, Sherlock Holmes, and Ernest Hemingway among numerous other famous figures. Hailman also recounts in fascinating detail the exotic life of the founder of the California wine industry, Hungarian Agoston Haraszthy, who introduced Zinfandel to the U.S.

    Hailman gives calm and reliable guidance on how to deal with snobby wine waiters and how to choose the best wine books and travel guides. He simplifies the ABCs of wine-grape types from the delicate pinot noirs of Oregon to the robust malbecs of Argentina and from the vibrant new whites of Spain to the great reds (old and new) of Italy. The entire book is dedicated to finding values in wine. As Hailman says, "Everyone always wants to know one basic thing: How can you get the best possible wine for the lowest possible price?" His new book is highly practical and effective in answering that eternal question and many more about wine.

    A judge at the top international wine competitions for over thirty years, Hailman examines those experiences and the value of "blind" tastings. He gives insightful tips on how to select a good wine store, how to decipher wine labels and wine lists, and even how to extract unruly champagne corks without crippling yourself or others. Hailman simplifies wine jargon and effectively demystifies the culture of wine fascination, restoring the consumption of wine to the natural pleasure it really should be.

    eISBN: 978-1-62674-074-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-2)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 3-16)

    This is a book about wine for regular people. For casual wine-drinkers it should be a painless introduction to a potentially joyful subject. For the wine aficionado, it explores interesting byways like the wine-drinking habits of Ben Franklin and Sherlock Holmes and suggests what to drink and where to drink it if you find yourself in places like New Orleans, Paris, or Yosemite National Park. Like good wine, it is not meant to be too heavy. It does not subject wines to a numerical grading system like recalcitrant schoolboys. Wine jargon exists here mainly to be made fun of. Readers...

  4. CHAPTER ONE People Who Love Good Wine
    (pp. 17-74)

    Much has now been written of that great wine lover, Thomas Jefferson, and of how he taught George Washington about French wine. But less is written of the man who taught Jefferson about French wine: Ben Franklin.

    In 1784, when Jefferson went to Paris as American Commissioner, Franklin had already been there for eight years as American Minister and knew French wines well. As early as 1778, his Paris cellar list showed more than 1,000 bottles, including: “258 Bottles of Red and White Bordeaux; 15 Bottles of old Bordeaux; 21 bottles of Champagne; 326 Bottles of Mousseux (bubbly); 113 Bottles...

  5. CHAPTER TWO Going Places with Wine
    (pp. 75-178)

    You can often tell more about a restaurant’s food by visiting its kitchen than by studying its menu. The same is true of its wines. A visit to the cellar may tell you a lot more about the restaurant’s wines than its wine list will.

    In the case of New Orleans restaurants, wine “attic” would be more accurate than wine cellar. Because of its unusually high water table, New Orleans generally lacks underground cellars, and most restaurants store their wines above ground, sometimes in rooms as elaborate as the city’s famed marble mausoleums, but much more cheerful.

    The most extreme...

  6. CHAPTER THREE Tips for Enjoying Good Wine
    (pp. 179-252)

    Several readers have asked for advice on how to buy wine in a wine store without being ripped off or made to look like a fool. This is a legitimate question and a problem for nearly everyone who enters a wine shop.

    In truth, unless you’ve actually tasted the particular wine from the particular year and winery that you are considering, there is no way to know for sure that you will like the wine inside the bottle you’re considering. There are lots of totally incompetent wine clerks, and even some who will sell you their worst wine just to...

  7. CHAPTER FOUR Finding the Humor in Wine
    (pp. 253-276)

    Wine is a healthy, cheerful subject, but can get pretty fancy in the wrong hands. Puncturing wine pretensions should be a goal of any worthy wine column. My problem is that editors often remove my attempts at humor in the interest of saving inches. One way to combat this trend is to devote an entire column to wine humor.

    The most famous wine cartoon of all time was by James Thurber in theNew Yorkerway back in 1937. It showed an urbane-looking host rising to describe what was in his glass as “a naive domestic Burgundy,” hoping his guests...

  8. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 277-279)
  9. Source Notes
    (pp. 280-283)
  10. Bibliography
    (pp. 284-290)
  11. Index
    (pp. 291-302)