In The Booklovers’ Guide to Wine, Patrick Alexander brings together his lifelong passions for wine and literature into an enjoyable wine book with a literary twist. Patrick began bringing these passions together in a very popular wine appreciation class in Coral Gables, Florida over six years ago, which has been selling out since its inception. Patrick has taken his wine class to book form in The Booklovers’ Guide to Wine, which covers everything from wine tasting, winemaking, the terroir of Europe, the development of wine in the New World, and a vast array of wine grape varieties, all while mixing in literary insight.
While I’ve read quite a few wine books, I think The Booklovers’ Guide to Wine really differentiates itself in its presentation of wine history, not only in its own history, but also the profound impact wine has had on historical events through the ages. Patrick shares his knowledge of the development of winemaking throughout the world, from the Spanish Missionaries in the Americas through the vast influence of the British Empire. This historical context is carried through into a detailed description of the terroirs of Europe and the New World. This is where I learned the most from The Booklovers’ Guide to Wine. What makes Burgundy truly unique? Ever wonder how Shiraz made it to Australia or Malbec to Argentina? Patrick has your answers.
The in-depth guide to grape varieties and wine varietals goes deeper into the literary slant by pairing great writers to grape varieties and wines. Patrick does a good job of bringing together the grape varieties, wines they are made into, along with their individual characteristics and origin. He embraces his literary interest by pairing a multitude of grape varieties with great writers throughout history, such as Charles Dickens with Cabernet Sauvignon. While Patrick does intertwine literary references through the book, one doesn’t need to be a literature aficionado to enjoy it. The literary aspects act as a means to enhance the context of Patrick’s narrative.
The Booklovers’ Guide to Wine also serves as a practical wine guide with excellent pairing and purchasing advice. Patrick provides encouragement and guidance on exploring wines that may be new to readers. The world of wine is a big one, so the advice on wines to explore will help readers expand their horizons. Patrick’s approachable suggestions will help readers likely find some new favorites that won’t break the bank. I know his Top 40 Wines to Try list is something I’m going to revisit to expand my knowledge of wine.
Patrick’s conversational writing style and wit makes readers feel as if they are attending his class. The Booklovers’ Guide to Wine covers vast amounts of information without ever becoming dry in delivery. I found myself making quick progress through the 350-plus pages, continuously engaged along the way. Isn’t that what we all want from a good book?