What we need

It seems I’ve been doing a lot of two things lately: walking and reading.

And, interestingly enough, both activities achieve a similar result: thinking.

During this time of social distancing, these activities seem to be publicly safe and sane. Living in a civilized society means we will have opportunities from that society but it also means we need to — at times — bow to the common good. Thus, my walking alone and reading alone.

Like most of us, I’ve got used to driving to everywhere — even when that “everywhere” was close to home. Now, I walk more and get the physical benefit that comes from walking and the mental benefit of sensing nature — the sun, wind, birds calling and, hopefully soon, the smell of lilacs!

Obviously walking is nothing new to any of us but what I’ve discovered is it allows my mind to roam freely. I think of things to do. I think of things that are past. I think of the future and I ponder, at least some of the “whys” of life Walking gives the chance to think about what I’ve just read and to seek deeper meanings and understandings from those reads.

Which brings forth the topic of books. I have a cache of wine books and a few books having to do with beer and spirits. It’s from these books that I have learned so many things and, during my walks, I meditate on what I’ve recently read.

Let it be known I don’t only read beverage books! I enjoy the writings of Maya Angelou, Ayn Rand, Joseph Bruchac and many other authors too numerous to mention. Storytelling and the relating of one’s life experiences are an art to be treasured and enjoyed. Thus, it is, with books about vinology.

So, as I sip a glass of Smoking Loon Cabernet Sauvignon, let’s talk a bit about a few wine books.

I’m going to, figuratively and literally, go from light to heavy weight books.

I have used Peter Alig’s ‘The Everything Guide To Wine’ many times. I received it from my daughter and it’s a useful book that provides nice, easy to understand information about many wines. At the time the book was written, Alig was the wine educator at Robert Mondavi Winery and the book guides one through the buying process and how to handle the wine once purchased.

It’s a good light read and doesn’t weigh very much.

It’s time for another sip of wine — Smoking Loon’s offering has very tasty boysenberry and blackberry flavors that are buttressed by a spiciness that reminds me of peaty scotch. Back to books…

An easy to lift book with pleasurable information is Eric Asimov’s “How To Love Wine.” Asimov is the wine critic for the New York Times and is known for his easy to understand knowledge renderings. In this book, he tries to ease the anxiety many people feel when it comes to wine and to gently guide us to simple enjoyment — wine is what you make it to be.

He believes one can make wine complicated or you can ease into the world of wine and let it teach you at your pace. Take some guidance from the so-called experts but, again, wine is what you make it to be. An easy read that has some heavy information among its pages.

This past Christmas I received the 2020 edition of Hugh Johnson’s “Pocket Wine Book” — an annual publication that is the go-to guide for recent wine information. It’s highly compact in its 4 inches by 7 inches format, very light weight but word for word and pound for pound, it’s a classic book.

I think it’s time for a glass of Josef Friederich’s Zeller Schwarze Katz Mosel wine. It’s one of the first Mosel wines I ever tasted and takes me back to my days in Germany. Yes, it’s sweet but it’s comforting with the accompanying apple/pear tastes. Now, back to heavier books…

This past Christmas I also got the Magnum Edition of “Wine Folly” by Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack. This book is a bit heftier in weight but it’s fun to read with lots of colorful illustrations and fun facts. This is an easy book about the subject of wine and features info on a spectrum of wine regions around the world. A fun read!

Now, what’s all this talk about weight? Well, here it comes…

One of the weightier books abut wine is Jancis Robinson’s “The Oxford Companion To Wine.” Not only does it weigh over five pounds but it’s filled with words about each wine region of the world and is literally a dictionary of the wine world. If you want to know about a wine, a wine region, a grape variety, a wine personality and tastes, this is your book.

When I lift this book, I need my wine and a walk!

Yes, walking and reading give me joy and I hope you find your joy in this challenging time — it’s what we all need.

As always, eat and drink in moderation but laugh with reckless abandon!



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