Here in North America, Valentine’s Day is usually a chocolate and cinnamon heart filled day in honour of one’s significant other. The cheesy-card filled festivities are often chalked up as a “Hallmark holiday”, demanding you prove your love through conspicuous displays of affection and sweets. Us true romantics know there are better ways to show your love than a sugar high.
This year we at Vine Arts are choosing to be inspired by the Catalan Valentine’s tradition of giving your loved one a book! Our version specifically refers to a book about the most romantic beverage of all: wine!
While in Catalunya they actually celebrate their love on April 23, la Diada de Sant Jordi, we’re not ones to be picky about details. A book, as the Catalan say, lasts forever. Here are some of our favourites!
Adventures on the Wine Route - Kermit Lynch
A true classic in wine literature, Adventures on the Wine Route is wine importer, Kermit Lynch’s memoir about his travels through France discovering wine. From Berkeley hippy to wine connoisseur, Lynch made a career of discovering wines from lesser celebrated regions. Inspiring and reinvigorating, this book is half travel treatise, half colourful ode to authentic wines. It avoids all the dullness that comes with technical wine books and brings pure passion back into the mix. A worthy read, this escapist book is perfect for the chilly weather.
Natural Wine - Isabelle Legeron
Passionate natural wine advocate, Master of Wine, and founder of natural wine festival, RAW WINE, Isabelle Lageron is a force to be reckoned with. Her book, Natural Wine, now in its second edition, discusses how conventional wines are made and how we can instead choose to drink wines that are made naturally. Natural wine, wine made without additives and with minimal intervention in both the vineyard and winery, is a big topic right now. Lageron discusses why the current focus on authentic wine is so important. The second edition contains updated producer notes, but both editions are a great resource for those looking to learn about natural wine.
Wine & War - Donald & Petie Kladstrup
This is a simply fascinating read for wine lovers and history buffs alike. Telling the remarkable story of legendary wine producers in the midst of Nazi-occupied France, the thrilling tales of the resilience and determination that were necessary to save their beloved crops and bottles is astounding. Like much of the French Resistance during WW2, covert actions were necessary to subvert the German Army’s seizure of France’s most important product: wine. While based in history, this book is exciting rather than stuffy. From Alsace to Bordeaux to the Loire to Champagne, this book tells how these brave French producers kept the true spirit of wine alive in the most grim of conditions.
The Oxford Companion to Wine - Jancis Robinson with Julia Harding
Edited by living wine legend, Jancis Robinson, the Oxford Companion to Wine is completely unbeatable in terms of pure knowledge. It is an encyclopedia of essentially every producer, region, or process you could ever need to know in relation to wine. The latest edition has had an enormous update and has 300 more articles, including information on new regions, the origins of wine, and modern viticulture. The burgeoning wine nerd and the industry expert-alike can benefit from the copious knowledge laid out in this book. Flip to a random article and instantly get sucked into the endless rabbit hole that is the world of wine. And as a bonus, it is shockingly pleasant to read. A must on the wine lover’s book shelf!