Vinediction June Reading List

From Oregon to China, Jerez to Provence, travel the world (one glass at a time) with Vinediction’s June reading list.

Click here for more memorable viticultural adventures.

Oregon Wine: A Deep-Rooted History by Scott Stursa

The publisher’s summary says:

“The history of winemaking in Oregon is steeped in legends so well known they’ve become gospel, but reality is even more fascinating. Discover the truth about who opened the state’s first commercial winery and the real origin of Willamette Valley’s famed Pinot Noir. Learn about Portland’s daring Italian Americans, who kept home wineries during Prohibition, and the flourishing agriculture that contributed to the popularity of fruit wine. From the nineteenth-century winemakers through the modern industry that now includes more than seven hundred wineries, places like HillCrest and The Eyrie have been serving Oregonians for a half century. Uncover the forgotten roots of Oregon wine with author Scott Stursa and raise a glass to its prosperous future.”

Four Under Flor’ by Michael Alberty in Oregon Wine Press

“If patience is a virtue, Viento Wines owner Rich Cushman must be a saint. The veteran winemaker just ended his decade-long wait to turn someone else’s wine into ‘Fino,’ an Oregon take on the iconic Spanish aperitif.”

Provence, 1970 by Luke Barr

Publisher Random House writes that Barr’s book “is about a singular historic moment. In the winter of that year, more or less coincidentally, the iconic culinary figures James Beard, M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, Richard Olney, Simone Beck, and Judith Jones found themselves together in the South of France. They cooked and ate, talked and argued, about the future of food in America, the meaning of taste, and the limits of snobbery. Without quite realizing it, they were shaping today’s tastes and culture, the way we eat now. The conversations among this group were chronicled by M.F.K. Fisher in journals and letters—some of which were later discovered by Luke Barr, her great-nephew. In Provence, 1970, he captures this seminal season, set against a stunning backdrop in cinematic scope—complete with gossip, drama, and contemporary relevance.”

Pity the Blind in Palate’ by MFK Fisher in The Art of Eating

Fisher’s essay on the importance of palate training begins: “Frederick the Great used to make his own coffee, with much to-do and fuss. For water, he used champagne. Then, to make the flavour stronger, he stirred in powdered mustard.

“Now to me it seems improbable that Frederick truly liked this brew. I suspect him of bravado. Or perhaps he was taste-blind.

“Almost all people are born unconscious of the nuances of flavour. Many die so. Some of these unfortunates are physically deformed, and remain all their lives as truly taste-blind as their brother sufferers are blind to colour. Others never taste because they are stupid, or, more often, because they have never been taught to search for differentiations of flavour.”

Linfield College Wine Lecture Series: Panel Discussion of Red, White & Black

According to the abstract: “Red, White & Black is a documentary film from director Jerry Bell, Jr. that chronicles the struggles and successes of minority winemakers in Oregon, highlighting the individuals who have begun changing the face of Oregon’s winemaking culture. The film delves into the challenges and accomplishments of winemakers of color and the LGBTQ community who have traditionally been excluded from the predominantly white industry. This panel discussion, moderated by Dr. Greg Jones (Director of the Evenstad Center for Wine Education at Linfield College and Evenstad Chair in wine studies), includes the film’s writer, director, and several winemakers featured in Red, White & Black.”

Photo by Man Chung on Unsplash

Breaking Ground’ by Amy Qin

China is a wine region that fascinates me – and about which I know next to nothing. Qin’s feature follows Chinese-American architect Ma Qingyun on his mission to wed fine wine to his native culture. “The meal kicks off with a brief introduction to the wine: cabernet sauvignon made from Jade Valley’s vineyards in the western province of Ningxia; peach and plum wines, part of Jade Valley’s new experimental operation on the outskirts of Beijing; rosé and white wine, which the winery produces in only very small amounts; and then Jade Valley’s specialty, a relative rarity in China and Ma’s favorite, a pinot noir.”

Read a good wine story lately? Share the link in the comments.

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