WINE SNOBBERY by Andrew Barr


An ExposÇ
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 Wine drinkers of America, get ready for a roasting. According to this American edition of British wine-writer Barr's exposÇ-cum-put-down, the great American wine boom of the 70's and early 80's was fueled by white wines that we drank too cold and too sweet, and specifically by pop wines, coolers, and that fad of the bourgeoisie, white zinfandel. The imported wine we honor has been mishandled in transit. At restaurants, we pay absurd prices for ignorantly mistreated bottles. We are foolishly impressed by champagne, which has little taste, especially as made today; and the glasses we drink it from are all wrong. The Univ. of California at Davis has fostered an industrial rather than agricultural approach to wine; the result is a technically perfect product that is wholly without taste. Blind tastings are misleading, partly because wine is meant to be drunk with food, not with other wines; and California wines tend to beat those from Bordeaux and Burgundy in blind tastings partly because they mature sooner. On the other hand, we're unduly impressed by French wines, which aren't necessarily better. Worse, we are currently experiencing a national temperance movement, manifest in ``ridiculous'' health warnings. But if we are foolish, riper cultures have much to answer for. French and Italian regions sell more wine than they produce; claim fake vintage dates; indulge in misleading appellations; overcrop; and employ a jumble of additives--some toxic, some misleading, some illegal, and some of compromising quality. Snob or antisnob, read on and you, too, dear hypocrite lecteur, may squirm yet.

Pub Date: Sept. 23rd, 1992
ISBN: 0-671-70804-X
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1992


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