Thursday, January 22, 2009

Great books worth reading

Wine Country International ® magazine’s
Book Reviews by Christopher J Davies Ratings: good, very good, excellent, must read

Wine Works:
Wine books worth reading

The Billionaire’s Vinegar

Author: Benjamin Wallace

Rating: Must Read

Publisher: Crown Publishing

Format: Hardcover, 336 pages

Price: $24.95

Web Page:

ISBN-10: 0307338770

ISBN-13: 978-0307338778
This is one of those books that you really cannot put down. It covers a very historical & expensive bottle of 1787 Chateau Lafite Bordeaux—unearthed in a Paris cellar and supposedly owned by Thomas Jefferson—it went for $156,000 to a member of the Forbes family.

This book is full of suspense and mystery. After reading it you will wonder about how many wines purchased at auctions may also be flawed… quietly sitting in their new owners cellar.
This was one exciting and intriguing book that I hoped would be turned into a movie…it seems like my wish will come true! Escape Artists and Overbrook Entertainment have optioned screen rights to "The Billionaire's Vinegar," Variety reported. The film will be produced by Todd Black, James Lassiter, Jason Blumenthal, Steve Tisch and Will Smith.

The Really Useful Guide to White Wine

Author: Susy Atkins

Rating: Excellent

Publisher: Quadrille Publishing

Format: Soft cover, 160 pages

Price: $10.95

Web Page:

ISBN-10: 1 84400 431 7

ISBN-13: 978 1 84400431 7


The Really Useful Guide to Red Wine
Author: Susy Atkins

Rating: Excellent

Publisher: Quadrille Publishing

Format: Soft cover, 160 pages

Price: $10.95

Web Page:

ISBN-10: 1 84400 430 9

ISBN-13: 978 1 84400430 0

Here are two great books by seasoned UK wine Author & Broadcaster Susy Atkins. Her approach simplifies wine by organizing wine by countries & varietals. Her flavor categories and suggested food pairings offer even the accidental with a logical solution for increasing enjoyment of food and wine. These two books are the perfect combination for starting off your home wine collection. Atkins offers great advice for wine storage and tasting tips. The books are small, but beautifully illustrated with great mouth-watering photography.


The House of Mondavi

Author: Julia Flynn Siler

Rating: Must Read

Publisher: Gotham Books

Format: Hardcover, 464 pages

Price: $28.00 Hardcover, $15.00 Paperback

Web Page:

ISBN 9781592402595

Wall Street Journal Writer Julia Flynn Siler has painstakingly researched the facts about the Mondavi family dating back to when family patriarch’s Cesare and Rosa travel to the United States from native Italy. This is a story about a family that realizes all of their dreams in America’s wine industry. And while the main setting is bucolic Napa Valley, feuds amongst the family, matched temper levels of Sonny Corleone's in “The Godfather”.

In these pages, Siller reveals the personality, dedication and hard work that Robert Mondavi undertakes in developing one of America’s most recognized wine brands. As his two sons, Michael & Tim, with Daughter Marcia help to continue the family wine legacy, the company’s growth & public status eventually blows a cork, leading to new beginnings for the Mondavi siblings. Read this book and you will gain a deep appreciation for how wine gets into the bottle!


Cooking The Books:
Cuisine & Cookbooks

Dishing up Maine

Author: Brooke Dojny

Rating: Very Good
Publisher: Storey Publishing

Format: Soft Cover, 288 pages

Price: $19.95
Web Page:

ISBN 10: 1-58017-841-3
ISBN 13: 978-1-58017-841-9

Author Brooke Dojny moved to Maine for the food. Her Dishing up Maine cookbook showcases 165 tasty recipes that connect the dots of Maine’s Foodways. The focus is ultra fresh seafood, artisan cheese and local produce. Recipes are categorized in seven delicious chapters from Starters, Snacks, Sandwiches and So on, to Delectable Desserts. Maine has been on the radar screens of foodies and national food magazines for the past decade. A number of the recipes in this book are on loan for haute restaurants as well as summer-only-shacks.


A Twist of The Wrist
Quick Flavorful Meals with Ingredients from Jars, Cans, Bags, and Boxes

Author: Nancy Silverton

Rating: Excellent

Publisher: Knoph

Format: Hardcover, 262 pages
Price: $29.95

Web Page:

ISBN: 978-1-4000-4407-8

Los Angeles Baker & Chef Nancy Silverton is best known for co-founding the Artisan La Brea Bakery. Her new book offers a quick way to turn quality canned & packaged foods into quick meals. Her recipes are mostly simple, but designed to exude interesting flavors. Each recipe has an estimated start to finish time.

This book is superbly designed with excellent photography. It makes the perfect gift for novice home cook who wants to head down the foodie highway.

Recipe Excerpt

Garlic Mayonnaise

In life, I believe everyone, especially those of us who are serious about food, is entitled to one food vice—something they love even though they have a hard time admitting it, whether it's Oreo cookies, Fritos corn chips, or Lipton onion dip made with onion soup mix. Mine, if I had to choose just one, is Best Foods mayonnaise (called Hellmann's on the East Coast). As many others as I tried and as much as I wanted to choose an organic brand for this book, I kept returning to my old favorite. The other mayos just didn't have that familiar, well-balanced flavor that says "mayonnaise" to me.

This recipe uses Best Foods mayonnaise as a base to make a quick aoli (garlic mayonnaise). It takes minutes to make and is a delicious way to finish so many dishes.
1-cup mayonnaise 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon plus 1-teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or more to taste 4 large garlic cloves, grated or minced (about 1 tablespoon), or more to taste 1/4-teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste Stir the mayonnaise, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and kosher salt together in a small bowl and season with more lemon juice, garlic, or salt to taste.


The Sonoma Diet Cookbook

Author: Dr. Connie Guttersen, R.D, Ph.D

Rating: Must Read
Publisher: Meredith Books

Format: Hardcover, 288 pages

Price: $24.95

Web Page:

ISBN 0-696-23185-9

Move over Atkins & South Beach, finally a diet & cookbook for wine lovers!
If you have visited Sonoma, you know Sonoma is all about fresh produce & wine. Dr. Guttersen has devised a diet plan that does not kill you, hunger wise or FLAVOR wise. It is all about keeping meals flavorful & healthy. Her recipes are quick and easy to make.

Her list of 20 Flavor Boosters will ensure that your meals are never boring. Best of all this entire cookbook and diet is wine friendly.


Travel Logs:
Travel Books That Help You Explore!


The Splendor and The Scandal: Building St. Peter’s

Author: R.A Scotti

Rating: Must Read

Publisher: Plume

Format: Soft Cover, 315 pages

Price: $15.00

Web Page:

ISBN: 978-0-452-28860-7

R.A Scotti captures the rich history behind Rome’s most recognizable and beloved landmark. It’s a story of temperamental Pope’s and masterful artists who succeed in creating a masterpiece.

This is a must read for anyone planning to visit Rome and all its riches! For those who are open to healthy walks, you will enjoy the books section on Walks in Papal Rome, with four different walking routes, illustrations and a list of must see historical sites.
Godere di! (Good health!)

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