We all have time on our hands these days. When you’re done bingeing all the booze documentaries on all the platforms, maybe consider these recently released books.
First published in 1927, Monsieur Le Vin: The Art of Drinking Wine (Like the French Do) by Louis Forest is charming in its delivery of age-old advice and information, most of it still relevant in today’s market. Cloaked in quaint phrasing and (albeit outdated) notions of who is and isn’t worthy of fine wine, Monsieur Le Vin is entertaining in its presumptions:
“There is a marked difference between the banal drinker who gulps, guzzles, and swigs and the tasteful man who tenderly savors a masterpiece of the vineyard while also sharing with amateurs worthy of his trust the assessments and the comparisons that inform an important determination, all while allowing the taste buds to be stimulated!”
This reprint includes the original illustrations by Charles Martin and is presented in a homespun package that makes it a delightful gift or conversation piece.
Want something with a little more meat? Try Bulleit Proof by Tom Bulleit (with Alan Eisenstock). The book’s subtitle gives a great overview: How I Took a 150-Year-Old Recipe, and a Revolver, and Disrupted the Entire Liquor Industry One Bottle, One Sip, One Handshake at a Time. If you haven’t deduced, this is a chronicle of Bulleit Bourbon—but it’s also a family history, a love story, a medical triumph, and a tale of self-made success.
Bulleit’s recollections about his upbringing, time in the Marine Corps, and personal life are unpretentious and voiced with candor. It’s also abundantly clear he values hard work and determination, and has a full appreciation for the luck and love that have helped him achieve his dreams.
This passage early in the telling sums up his story and style:
“Three years into the world of bourbon, I assess my progress. I’m hemorrhaging money, praying mightily, quietly and aloud, continuing to practice law full-time, not daring to give up my day job, sleeping little and fitfully, all while watching my bourbon business moving forward, glacially.
In other words, I got ’em right where I want ’em.”
(Excerpted with permission of the publisher, Wiley, from Bulleit Proof by Tom Bulleit, Alan Eisenstock. Copyright (c) 2020 by Thomas E. Bulleit, Jr. All rights reserved. This book is available wherever books and ebooks are sold.)
Finally, Bonny’s Meyer’s Perfectly Paired: The Love Affair Behind Silver Oak Cellars, chronicles her marriage and partnership with iconic winemaker Justin Meyer. It’s a love story with more twists and turns than you might expect, beginning with their meeting when Brother Justin, a conscribed Christian Brother, was learning winemaking under the tutelage of Brother Timothy at Mont Le Salle in Napa, Calif. Spoiler alert: He left the religious order and forged a bountiful life with the woman who captured his heart.
It wasn’t always smooth sailing—what marriage is?—but their deep connection is obvious throughout. Justin passed away suddenly in 2002, just months after the couple sold their shares of Silver Oak to Ray Duncan, the winery’s third founding partner, leaving Bonny and their grown children to forge new paths.
Bonny spent 10 years intermittently collecting the stories and remembrances in Perfectly Paired, which carries her past Justin’s death to a place of acceptance for what’s lost and appreciation for what remains.
“What pleases me most is hearing from readers that the book made them think about their relationships and life in new ways,” she shares. “I believe everyone is capable of and deserves wonderful, fulfilling relationships. We all have an inner light and resilience that we can tap into. And death is not the end. Loving relationships grow and continue through meditation, lucid dreams, and/or prayer after a loved one dies.” bonnymeyer.com