The 2016 Wine & Spirits Summer Reading List

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.”

<em>Spritz</em> by Talia Baiocchi and Leslie Pariseau
Spritz by Talia Baiocchi and Leslie Pariseau
Associate publisher Samantha Groseth has two books at the top of her summer reading pile: Spritz, by Talia Baiocchi and Leslie Pariseau, and 32 Yolks by Eric Ripert. “While it doesn’t involve much wine,” she says of the second book, “it is about the chef’s childhood, his losses and his mother’s belief that food and shared culture can get people through almost anything.”

<em>Smuggler's Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki</em> by Martin Cate with Rebecca Cate
Smuggler's Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki by Martin Cate with Rebecca Cate
After reviewing Smuggler’s Cove for the August issue, associate editor Caitlin Griffith is sticking with the tiki theme—prioritizing reading hours at bars around the city with solid rum programs, copy of James Michener’s Tales of the South Pacific stashed in her bag. “I’m also looking forward to more at-home experiments (in my tiny Brooklyn kitchen,” says Griffith. “I’ve been reading Matthew Biancaniello’s Eat Your Drink and loving his abundant use of fresh juice and farmers market goods in drinks like the bright green Roquette,” a shaken gin drink with lime juice and arugula. She’s also working her way through Tasting Rome, by Katie Parla and Kristina Gill, that’s filled not just with delightful dishes from the Eternal City like this shaved artichoke salad recently featured in Bowls & Bubbles, but also with an intriguing section on the bar scene in Rome. Cocktail recipes include ideas for drinks built around DIY bay-leaf infusions and guanciale-washed vodka.

<em>Barolo MGA The Barolo Great Vineyard Encyclopedia</em> by Alessandro Masnaghetti
Barolo MGA The Barolo Great Vineyard Encyclopedia by Alessandro Masnaghetti
Tasting director Stephanie Johnson is diving into Alessandro Masnaghetti’s Barolo MGA: The Barolo Great Vineyard Encyclopedia. “I know it’s geeky, but I don’t care,” she says. “I like maps.”

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.”

<em>The Modern Preserver: Chutneys, Pickles, Jams and More</em> by Kylee Newton
The Modern Preserver: Chutneys, Pickles, Jams and More by Kylee Newton
And on weekends, she’s making her way through The Modern Preserver. “It was the ‘baked peach and vermouth jam,’ that drew me in, with an interesting technique for making a peach jam that actually tastes very peach-y—extremely tricky in fact!” Author Kylee Newtown, of Newton & Pott preserves company in the UK, has many other recipes involving booze worth checking out, like gin-pickled cucumbers.

<em>Italian Liqueurs: History and Art of a Creation</em> by Renato Vicario
Italian Liqueurs: History and Art of a Creation by Renato Vicario
Assistant editor Daria Frum, who recently sat for the spirits section of the WSET program, is reading Italian Liqueurs: History and Art of a Creation by Renato Vicario. “The book is a mediation on human taste, fine art and the farm-to-table movement,” she says. “I can’t wait to dig into some of these concoctions, like the Cherry Barbera—sour cherry leaves, a little sugar and a good bottle of wine—and then, with more practice, a vermouth!”

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 Tardi

This is a W&S web exclusive review.