Armchair Travel Reading: Book Reviews from our April Issue

by W&S Staff 
April 14, 2020

Reach for one or both of these books, recline the armchair and board your flight on Vicarious Airline.

The New Wines of Mount Etna: An Insider’s Guide to the History and Rebirth of a Wine Region by Benjamin North Spencer; Gemelli Press; $25

Mount Etna has captured the imaginations of professionals and wine drinkers more than any other Italian wine region in the past decade, yet the modern phase of Etna winemaking began just a few decades ago, and useful information has been hard to come by. That’s no longer the case with The New Wines of Mount Etna: An Insider’s Guide to the History and Rebirth of a Wine Region. Author Benjamin North Spencer’s perspective is that of an intellectually curious American winemaker who fell in love with Etna and relocated to the region seven years ago. He tells Etna’s story with the authority of an insider, describing the local grape varieties, climate, soils, farming and winemaking methods in enough detail for a wine professional while avoiding overly technical jargon. Along the way, he drops personal insights and snippets of conversations with producers that give a vivid sense of the place and its people. Spencer also provides an exceptionally useful section on planning winery visits. In it, he groups producers geographically, an important consideration when only a couple of narrow roads will take you from one side of the volcano to the other, and includes contact information and a summary of the wines on offer at each. The book is a fascinating read and an indispensable resource for anyone who is planning a visit—or who dreams of visiting this magical place.
—Stephanie Johnson

Drinking French by David Lebovitz; Ten Speed Press, 2020; $28

It’s easy to lose track of time while reading through Drinking French (Ten Speed Press, 2020; $28). The latest from pastry chef and writer David Lebovitz, it’s a gorgeous glimpse into café and bar culture in France. Lebovitz explains the rules governing when and how to drink a café express, and how to make a citron pressé; he also advises on the best spirits to seek out on a French café backbar, and what to do with them. It’s all great inspiration to book the next flight to Paris…or just to relax at home: Lebovitz is as adept at mixing up a drink as he is at gougères, and provides recipes for both (and much more), so you can drink French wherever you are.
—Rachel DelRocco Terrazas

This review appears in the print edtion of the April 2020 issue.
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