When Oz Clarke left Sarratt Village Hall after Chorleywood Bookshop’s event last month he supped some Paradigm ales at The Cricketers next door – and praised the local brews heartily. Oz oozes passion for all he appreciates. Read his latest book, The History of Wine in 100 Bottles, and you’ll absorb his enthusiasm with the facts and fascinating winelore.
Our wine columnist Wackus Bacchus sums it up as “a book from one of the most talented storytellers and wine tasters in the world that should appeal to keen amateurs and serious wine buffs alike …Not many wine books can be read for their storylines, they’re usually reference books, detailed specialist subject tomes, or dashed out-in-a-hurry coffee table decorations, this one romps along with so many wine tales and significant events.”
It’s certainly a potential gift solution for many, the entertaining story telling making it a delight for chapter dippers.
So what did Oz enjoy most about researching it?
“I always discover new things… Why the Brits had stronger glass than the French” (Clue – the cider makers of Gloucestershire), English sparkling wine secrets, The Prohibition (absolutely fascinating) the Blood Vintages (No bottle stored in the Reims caves was broken during shelling in WW1) …
As for me, I enjoyed the detail – the Mouton Rothschild labels; the shocking – the Nazi wine haul (half a million bottles of French wine were stashed away in Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest); the unexpected – the Judgement of Paris and the frauds, plus 20th century wine drinking wonders … plastic corks, bag-in-box, screw tops, the low down on Mateus Rosé, Liebraumilch – one of Clarke’s best ever wine tastings was Blue Nun, albeit a 70yr old bottle Who knew? He did. He does. There’s not much he doesn’t.
And what’s going to be on Oz’s Christmas table?
* English sparkling wine rather than champagne – they are getting so good now…Exton Park from Hampshire, Gusbourne from Kent, or Furleigh from dorset
* Definitely Sauvignon Blanc 2015 – Kekerengu coast Marlborough, New Zealand
* A Bordeaux of 20 year old or 30 yr old – go under the stairs and see what’s there!
* Asti Spumante with the Christmas pudding icy cold straight from the fridge Muscat. It tastes bone dry but still has the fruity fruity flavour of Muscat . when you have eaten too much this will wake you up again!
Limited signed copies of The History of Wine in 100 Bottles available at Chorleywood Bookshop, £20