Drinking with the Valkyries - Andrew Jefford


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Best Wine Books 2022 – New York Times, Washington Post, Decanter Magazine, Forbes

Gourmand Awards Winner — Wine Writing 2023

’For years Andrew Jefford has been one of the English language’s most thoughtful writers and stylists on wine … original and provocative, though not at all a provocateur. … Mr. Jefford is a poet, and he’s far more interested in the poetry of wine — the transporting thoughts and dreamlike reveries it induces — than in the technical details … a pleasure to read.’ Eric Asimov, New York Times

‘Jefford’s essays are like that glass of wine at day’s end – restorative, uplifting and enlightening.’ Dave McIntyre, The Washington Post

The Book

Andrew Jefford is, in the words of winemaker Randall Grahm, ‘the most thoughtful person we have writing about wine’. Discover why in this selection from Jefford’s work, celebrating the limitless beauty of wine difference. This book anatomizes the pleasure that awaits every drinker while simultaneously furnishing a philosophy of wine – one founded on astonishment, and drawing on personal discovery rather than hierarchy and mastery. There is no other wine writing like this.

Poet, philosopher, author, radio presenter and journalist, Andrew lives in France; but buried deep in one wine country what does he miss most about the rest? The answer: ‘Drinking young port. It’s the wine drinker’s equivalent of zorbing, wing-walking, base-jumping … you won’t fully understand it unless you have tasted it young, in its “Ride of the Valkyries” stage, when it comes hurtling out of the glass and puts the screamers on you…’

Andrew Jefford is the ideal companion for anyone wine-curious. In this collection of his essays, opinions and articles he shares his fascinating observations from half a century of discovery. For Andrew, wine should be listened to and admired, wherever it comes from; old-school pretentions turned on their head; style-points disdained; stellar prices dismissed; questions asked…

• Which is wine’s greater friend: the villainous Mistral or the blue Mediterranean?
• Chablis shivers (undoubtedly) but does it really taste of stone?
• Merlot: take a single grape like this and you can make wines ‘as soft as a trembling jellyfish’ or as ‘resolute as a guardsman’: how can this happen?
• Do the factors affecting wine flavour influence anything else in our lives? Like tea, cheese, lentils or roses? Or violins?
• Has wine been around longer than man?
• The tragedy of wine’s transactional destiny: is expensive wine really the best?
• Making wine strange again: should true wine lovers find astonishment in every new glass?
• A life’s work: wine is a representation of the world’s intricacy and beauty, but why choose it for a career?
• Lessons from the laureate: winemakers and novelists – as harnessers of emotional force, are they the same?