Let’s Talk About Wine & 8 Books About Wine Worth Exploring

Aug 09, 2020

Wine is meant to have a partner. Food.

As the two enter their union, the full flavors of both the wine and food stretch throughout all of the lovely layers and deepen the satiation and satisfaction of the dining experience.

When I am in Bend, I look to our local grocer Newport Market to help me pick out my wine and trust the wine buyers there to not only recommend but share what they love about a particular wine. If I am picking out a wine to pair with a dish I have never made, I look no further than Suzi who has always steered me in delicious directions. From pairing with seafood to trout to lamb to paella, she suggests varying price points and leaves me to decide.

Perhaps that is the key as well, know who to ask and who to trust for recommendations.

For nine years when I lived near Walla Walla, Washington’s nearly 100 wineries, I trusted my own palate as we would visit the tasting rooms, often without a fee (and if there was a fee, it was $5 that could go toward your wine purchase), but that option is not available unless I travel now that I live in central Oregon – which perhaps is yet another reason to travel. 🙂

However, to stick to hard-and-fast rules about what wine should go with what, while something to consider and inquire as to why, shouldn’t be adhered to absolutely nor blindly. Drink what you like, like what you drink was often a motto I would hear and for the most part, agree with. What I would add would be to just remember to pair it with food you enjoy as well. The entire flavor profile of the wine and the food when partnered, as mentioned above, changes, and often those traditional pairing suggestions reveal their wisdom.

From something as simple as a luscious red cabernet-blend paired with a hamburger nestled between a brioche bun to a bouillabaisse paired with a light, crisp sauvignon blanc or viognier, if there is food, there is a wine that will pair with it and the experience will be all the more scrumptious and memorable because of it.

During the summer of 2018 in Provence, enjoying lunch complete with four (perhaps five, now that I am thinking about it) courses at L’Oustalet by chef Laurent Deconinck. The bouillabaisse was again, like many of the Provençal dishes I enjoyed, my first, but perhaps forever the best I will ever enjoy. One member of our group inquired about the recipe; the chef politely mentioned, it was his grandmother’s and the discussion was playfully brought to a close. (I don’t blame him. It’s that delicious.) Our first course (seen in the lower left-hand corner) was a bite of summer truffles, and the dessert (the lower right-hand corner) was a rhubarb subtly sweet treat.

There are many books available to deepen your knowledge of wine.

Depending upon what your sense of humor, depth of curiosity and any other preference, there is a book for you. I have gathered up a few below.

Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine (2014)

To Better Understand the Terminology

For the Memoir Lovers

Cork Dork (2016)


The Oxford Companion to Wine (1994)

For the Forever-Student

For the serious enclopedic academic or future wine maker

Wine Grapes: A Complete Guide to 1,368 Vine Varieties, Including Their Origins and Flavors (2012)

Wishing you many meals of scrumptious and memorable in the best-possible-of-ways food and wine! Santé!

Speaking of wine, have you entered TSLL’s first giveaway? A lucky winner is going to be welcoming into their home a pair of La Rochere’s Bistrot wine glasses. Learn more about how to enter here.

Image: TSLL’s Soufflé au Fromage avec Champagne

PREVIOUS POSTS from TSLL’s 5th Annual French Week



15 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Wine & 8 Books About Wine Worth Exploring

  1. I would love to be in France right now. We could certainly use a vacation and my pantry and cellar are screaming to be refilled. Perhaps next year. All great suggestions on the wine books. I also like Kevin Zraly’s Windows on the World Complete Wine Course. I can’t wait to see what wonderful posts you have in store for us this week. Thank you for French Week!

  2. My boyfriend just bought me Wine Food for my birthday a couple months ago!

    Have you ever read Cork Dork? It’s more of a memoir and less of an educational guide but it is FANTASTIC. One of my all time favorite reads about a woman quitting her journalism job for one year to see if she could pass the master somm exam with zero prior experience. She started out doing it full of skepticism and “for the story”…but she quickly becomes just as obsessed as the rest of the sommeliers. It’s such a good read, especially for anyone who doubts the abilities of professional wine tasters!

    1. Sydney, thank you for bringing this title back to my attention. I DO remember an interview with the author when the book was released and I remember being intrigued. Thank you very much for sharing and reminding me. I am adding to the post for readers who enjoy great memoirs. It sounds like a fascinating read. 🙂🇫🇷

  3. Great list! After having a quick peek into them all, The New Wine Rules is in the cart. A wine guide that quotes Kermit speaks my language😄

  4. Absolutely loved “Cork Dork.” I recently have started to really focus on learning more about wine, and another great resource is the podcast and book “Wine for Normal People.” I just purchased “Wine Food” per your suggestion, and I am looking forward to trying some new pairings!

  5. Your mention of a rose during the summer months from the earlier post tempted my taste buds and I will purchase a selection this week to enjoy.

  6. I bought Cork Diaries a couple years ago because it sounded so interesting but then I never read it. Now that you prompted me to read it, I will dust it off my book shelf and read! Also, the Wine and War book sounds SO fascinating. I’m going to buy it. Great recommendation. Thanks!

  7. Great selection Shannon. You have included two of my favourites. Wine Simple by the greatest sommelier to le Bernardin the fabulous 3 starred Miichelin restaurant in NYC. If you get the opportunity to go then you’ll be in for a culinary experience unparalleled.The Oxford guide had taught me so much. Jancis Robinson is a great guide. I am a huge fan if hers.The book and her TV series and the FT series. She has her own website with daily posts and advises the Queen’s cellar no less !You might know this already as I believe you subscribe to the weekend FT. There is a digital weekend gestival from 3rd-5th September . Tickets are £35. There are a variety of subjects but Jancis will be talking about wine. The line up is impressive including Dr Fauci. Also the English wines are getting better and better and I have just purchased ‘Wines of GB’ by Stephen Skelton. Published by Infinite Ideas priced at £30. Very interesting. A là votre😊

  8. I’m just now starting to look for movies or television shows in French to watch hoping to increase my language skills. Thanks for the wine reading lists as well!

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