Did you ever drink Mateus Rose? Many wine drinkers of a certain age will recall this Portuguese wine with its distinctive bottle shape. It had its heyday in the 1970s, though the brand still exists today. Yet I am sure that many of us don't know the story behind Mateus, and might even want to know more.
To me, such wine stories are very compelling. If such stories intrigue you, then maybe you will also be interested in a new wine book dealing with such interesting stories.
Is This Bottle Corked? The Secret Life of Wine by Kathleen Burk and Michael Bywater (Crown Publishing Group, September 2009, $19.99) is a hardcover book of 196 pages. Kathleen is a Professor of Modern and Contemporary History at University College London. She also has a Diploma in Wine and Spirits, writes for the World of Fine Wine, and is a judge for the International Wine and Spirits Competition. Michael is an author, broadcaster, and teacher. He writes for the Independent, the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Times, and other periodicals. He is also a regular broadcaster for the BBC.
Is This Bottle Corked? contains over 85 short articles about a wide range of wine-related topics. It is an eclectic mix of topics covering education, entertainment, history, literature, science and much more. For example, you will find items such as: George Washington's favorite wine; What is a "comet wine"; Was Pliny the first Robert Parker; Pairing wine with curry; When to decant; and Wine references in Shakespeare.
It is not a book you need to read from start to finish. You can select any article, in any order, to peruse and ponder. Whatever interests you the most is a good place to start. The articles are well written and often quite fascinating. They often contain information you won't usually find in other wine books or magazines. It is a fun and educational read.
This book shows that wine writing is about far more than tasting notes and descriptions of wine regions. Wine is a wide-ranging topic, with an extensive history of compelling stories behind it. I am fascinated by such behind-the-scenes tales so I very much enjoyed this book. If you too like such matters, then check out this book. For a hardcover, it is relatively inexpensive and well worth checking out.