Reading Between the Wines, Terry Theise

Published by Sally on November 14, 2010


Title of book:   Reading between the wines  
Author: Terry Theise
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 2010
ISBN      978 0 520 26533 2
Pages: 189
Price:   £16.95


Reading Between the Wines, Terry Theise

Reading Between the Wines, Terry Theise

This is accessible and entertaining wine philosophising that puts the poetry back into prose portrayal of wine.

Theise elevates those elements about wine that have nothing to do with taste, per se, but everything to do with tasting experience – the quietness, rather than noisiness, of a wine; a wine’s reserve, rather than its ostentation; the pleasure a wine confers. And he, says, you cannot jump in and grab a wine’s content and soul, you must be patient and wait for it to come to you.

Whilst most of the wine world is pre-occupied with de-mystifying wine, and making it massively accessible, Theise refreshingly devotes a chapter to re-mystifying it. Wine is supposed to be complex he writes. He suggests we imagine wine the way we view beauty, splendour, awe in a piece of music, of art, of a country landscape. Clearly he is discussing wines of place, of personality, of particularity.

Theise creates imagery and artistry to counterpoint the science of wine about which so many students of wine, quite normally, concentrate their time. It is with the factual understanding that Theise’s idiosyncratic philosophising is the more enjoyable. 

Greatness in wine is touched up, as are aspects of flavour that comprise more than the structure and ‘physical’ flavour of fruit, wood, lees etc., as is the emotional response that some wines elicit in their consumers.

Theise’s delightful, personal and rich journey has lessons for all who appreciate wines of place. It’s likely to open a reader’s mind to novel ways of thinking about, examining and describing wine, and anyone remaining unsure that some wines are more than the sum of their individual parts should read this book.

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