Book Reviews

Book review: Liquid Memory.

Jonathan Nossiter, and award-winning filmmaker and former sommelier, had his first taste of wine from his father’s fingertip at the age of three in Paris.

He loves wine, but not every wine.

For him, wine must taste of its terroir, that nebulous concept French popularized. Unquestionably, there is something to be said about terroir, as it can be seen and tasted in wine, but as of yet there is no definitive definition of it. The only thing we can say is that the combination of soil, its components, aspect of the vineyard, location, climate, and management of the vineyard all contribute to the notion of terroir. By all accounts the author is a “terroirist”.

Jonathan Nossiter

crated the now famous movie Mondovino, and in the process met many wine personalities in Burgundy, and in many other wine-producing regions all over the world. He is fascinated with Burgundy, its wines, its vineyards, and everything associated with this region.

In this seminal book he unabashedly writes about the excellence of high-end Burgundy wines in effusive terms.

This is a book for wine lovers, who know a lot about wine, read a lot, and can afford to buy exotic and expensive wine from specialized retailers.

Although Jonathan Nossiter is an American, he favours high-end, or at least idiosyncratic French wines because of their distinct flavours elegance and refinement.

Jonathan Nossiter

makes crystal clear his opinion of a very famous American wine critic, whom he met for his movie, and the world-famous French wine consultant Michel Rolland.

The author’s opinions should be taken seriously because in the last two decades much ahs happened to “industrialize” and “homogenize” wine all over the world.

In Liquid Memory, there is a passionate, urgent message for all of us; our individuality, our pleasure, and our power all grow out of our personal taste. This author encourages, and rightly so, to sidestep the opinions of famous and so famous wine critics and make their own decision after tasting a range of wines. He advocates trying wines from many regions all the time, rather than sticking to a wine brand.

Why must one like a wine that a wine critic rates very high? Who is drinking the wine?

The style of writing is fluid, and eloquent, if on occasion pompous, but compelling enough for the reader to turn page after page.

This book should be read several times – first time to gain advanced wine knowledge, then a second time for the humorous descriptions, and a third time to understand exactly why wine, fine wine, matters and how much it is worth?

Jonathan Nossiter asks whether a bottle of wine retails for more than 4 900.00 is worth it, or is it the middlemen trading make it so expensive, or is it the perceived scarcity that makes it so costly.

His single most important, at least in my mind, is that wine should cerate emotions that the perception of taste depends very much on

the setting, locale, company, and the uniqueness of the wine.

The author makes excellent points about the world wine industry, how savvy winemakers or managers of huge wine conglomerates, negociants, importers and retailers manipulate prices.

A fine book that should be read several times, and grace the shelf of every wine consumers as reference.

Jonathan Nossiter

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