Ernest Hemingway said: “A person with increasing knowledge and sensory education may derive infinite enjoyment from wine.”
I say: He’s absolutely right.
I just finished reading “The Accidental Connoisseur,” a smartly written book (published in 2004) by Lawrence Osborne that somehow flew under my radar until a friend gave me the paperback version for Christmas.
There’s much wisdom in this book, which details the author’s quest for the “taste” of wine. Osborne recreates visits with everyone from Randall Grahm to Robert Mondavi, providing a rare glimpse of the “dance” that takes place between some wine critics and some winemakers.
Osborne admits at the outset that he knows little about wine, and much of the book makes fun of the flowery language sometimes associated with wine assessments. And that’s where he loses me, at least to a certain extent.
While ultra-poetic descriptions turn even me off, I’ve found that those who criticize such prose do so to mask their own ineptitude when it comes to smelling and tasting wine. Some people have great noses and palates; others don’t. Those who don’t will never get as much enjoyment out of wine as those who do, to paraphrase Hemingway.
Despite this one major flaw, I recommend Osborne’s book without reservation. It contains much insight, it’s very well written, and – like a good glass of wine – it’s hard to put down.