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Thursday, July 9, 2009

* DRINK BOOK OF THE MONTH! *: Passion for Pinot

1. PASSION FOR PINOT; a journey through America's pinot noir country
(Ten Speed Press, 2009, 160 pages, ISBN 978-1-58008-986-9, $30 US hard
covers) is by Jordan Mackay, a Texas and California wine writer. The
photography for this (largely) picture book is by Andrea Johnson and
Robert Holmes. Both are experienced travel photographers. "Pinot noir
country" actually just refers to the American West Coast. There is
nothing here on British Columbia, or on New York State. Nor is
sparkling wine covered. The blurb says that this is a portrait of the
most fashionable grape in the wine world, showcasing California and
Oregon producers. Pinot noir has been described as the perfect food
wine, with occasional silkiness for sipping. But most pinot noirs on
the US west coast don't even taste like a pinot noir should; they just
don't have the Modal Varietal Characteristics (MVC) of what makes pinot
great (i.e., classified Burgundy). Pinot noir come from Burgundy, and
it should taste Burgundian. There is nothing wrong with that.
Nevertheless, this is an engaging book, with profiles of top US pinot
producers, terroirs, and bottles. The text promotes the different
styles and approaches to the viticulture and viniculture of the pinot
grape. The photography clearly shows most of the terroir through the
many landscapes and seasons. Additional material is found in quotes and
sidebars and maps. All the AVAs are described, and there are photos of
the winemakers and owners. Typical estates covered include Calera,
Abbott Claim Vineyard, Acacia, Domaine Drouhin, Donum, Tualatin, Quail
Ridge, and many more.
Audience and level of use: travelers, pinot noir fanatics.
Some interesting or unusual facts: Statistics show that pinot noir
sales have increased 120 percent in the last two years. This is due to
the "Sideways" factor and to increased mass production of the lower
quality wines.
The downside to this book: there are very few actual tasting notes.
The upside to this book: great photography.
Quality/Price Rating: 85.

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