There's an anonymous quote - "Wine improves with age. The older I get the better I like it" . John Saker, a former Tall Black and now wine writer extraordinaire, explains why in his evocatively titled book, "How to Drink a Glass of Wine".
We all know how to drink. It is one of the first things we do after we are born. But Saker explains that with wine you simply don’t drink - you have to imbibe.
John's imbibing is more than the mechanics of swirling, sniffing and sipping that he briefly mentions over two pages in chapter three. It is about everything else that wine conjures up as well.
Consequently "How to drink a glass of wine" is a refreshingly different wine book. There are no endless lists of wines and what they taste like. There are no endless lists of grape varieties and where they are grown.....
It is, instead, a delightful collection of entertaining autobiographical vignettes with John reliving his vinous awakening and the events that took him from drinking wine for the buzz of the alcohol, to drinking wine for the glorious drink that it is.
"Every time I looked up, Marie-Thérèse's backside eclipsed the view. It was always moving away from me, the pace setter in a plodding patrol of backsides."
From grape picking in the south of France where we are introduced to the above-mentioned Marie-Thérèse, to wine tastings in Wellington with interludes in London, Germany, Hungary and Australia in between, we learn how Saker likes his wine.
"A glass of wine is a one-off performance", he says, "a few fleeting moments when a combination of scents and tastes and textures briefly transports us somewhere else ….. And then it is gone forever."
Interspersed among the vignettes are other fascinating items with poignant wine quotes introducing each chapter, such as wine and health, wine scores, wine and alcoholism, what makes a good wine year and so on, all related in John's unique way.
If you love wine and love reading, you will love this book.
Saker's writing is brilliant. He sets the bait, lures you in and well and truly hooks you. He reels you in, releases you, and then hooks you over and over again.
"How to Drink a Glass of Wine" is published by Awa Press in its 'Ginger Series', along with "How to Gaze at the Southern Stars" by Richard Hall, "How to Watch a Game of Rugby" by Spiros Zavos and "How to Listen to Pop Music" by Nick Bollinger. It costs $24.95.
Click here to buy online from the publisher.
© Sue Courtney
11th August 2005