As the W&S staff ships out for ocean-front cottages and lakeside campsites right before Labor Day weekend, we’re bringing books along with our coolers of Muscadet and Txakoli—some newly printed, some we’ve been meaning to get to for years.
Editor Josh Greene recently picked up Alan Tardi’s Champagne, Uncorked: The House of Krug and the Timeless Allure of the World’s Most Celebrated Drink. Tardi is a frequent contributor to Wine & Spirits, and recently covered the Nebbiolo Prima.
Marketing coordinator Christine Ballard is catching up on the Judgment of Paris by George Taber and also checking out Carlo Macchi’s biography of Giulio Gambelli, a legendary Tuscan winemaker and consultant, hoping to recapture her years spent living and drinking in Italy.
Meanwhile, senior editor Luke Sykora is planning to check out the new Smuggler’s Cove cocktail guide. The bar’s allspice-heavy Planter’s Punch is unforgettable, according to Sykora, who’s enjoyed it at the actual bar, many times. Here’s a link to the book’s Three Dots and a Dash cocktail recipe, a single serving drink if you aren’t planning on hosting a crowd.
Also on his reading list: Mark Matthews’s Terroir and Other Myths of Winegrowing. “I don’t expect to agree with him most of the time,” says Sykora, “but I’m interested in getting a better sense of his line of argument.”
Executive editor Tara Q. Thomas has a pile of books on her bedside table that regularly cascades to the ground, but the one that’s most frequently on top these days is Deirdre Heekin’s An Unlikely Vineyard: The Education of a Farmer and her Quest for Terroir, an inspiring tale of a couple who start a little restaurant in Vermont and end up building a farm, vineyard and winery to sustain it, despite the challenging climate.
She’s also reading Peter M. F. Sichel’s The Secrets of My Life: Vintner, Prisoner, Soldier, Spy. “I used to catch glimpses of Peter Sichel tooling around NYC on his bicycle,” says Thomas, “looking extremely dapper in the European gentleman uniform of brightly colored pants and nice loafers. I knew him only as a wine importer; I had no idea of the lives he’d lived before then. Growing up Jewish in Germany in the 1930s, he and his family had to flee, and ended up in internment camps in France. Later, he became a spy, working in Germany, Korea and Japan, before settling in the US with his bicycle and importing business. The book is really not about wine; it’s more about the things people do to get through life.”
Zach Siegel, tasting assistant, is reading Sweetbitter, Stephanie Danler’s first novel. “It’s about a young woman’s exposure to food, wine and restaurant life after moving to NYC from a small town and scoring a job at Union Square café—not named explicitly, but no doubt it’s USC,” he says.
Kelsey Laporte—sales coordinator and the newest member of W&S team—keeps returning to The Food Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity for daily inspiration in the kitchen; for weekend train trips, she’s packing Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl. “Because, fangirl,” she says, adding, “It weaves a tapestry of stories about the people in her life who guided the development of her taste, whether accidentally or deliberately. Easy to read and just right for trips out to Montauk.”
Champagne, Uncorked: The House of Krug and the Timeless Allure of the World’s Most Celebrated Drink by Alan TardiThis is a W&S web exclusive review.