Marissa Ross, Wine Editor of Bon Appetit and founder of the blog “Wine. All The Time” released a book of the same name this summer. Chronicling her journey from casual day drinker of cheap wine to being one of the most exciting and respected writers of wine today, Ross brings you along the ride insisting that being a fan of wine is fun, and learning more doesn’t have to be intimidating or weird. You’ll want to read it in one sitting, and by the end of it you’ll be chugging wine from a bottle like the best of ’em.
Dan Keeling and Mark Andrew’s Noble Rot is, quite simply, the best wine magazine going today—a kaleidoscopic tasting menu of original wine writing from around the world, deep dives on London’s food and beverage scene, celebrity interviews, cheeky essays, and yes, even a good cheese nibble or two. If you like delicious things—and especially if you’re something of an Anglophile, or wish you lived in London— this is the wine magazine for you. Keeling, a widely honored wine writer via the Louis Roederer Food & Wine Writer awards and Andrew, an MW, also own and operate a charming wine bar and bistro on Lamb’s Conduit, just between Clerkenwell and Fitzrovia.
I’m a loyal Rotter and its thrice-annual appearance in my mail box, dressed up in Royal Mail epaulettes, is much anticipated. The magazine is otherwise difficult to find in the United States, making a Noble Rot subscription something of a secret handshake for American wine nerds. Subscribe the wine drinker in your life this year and they’ll be thrilled. (They’ll also be able to help you choose cheese.)
2017 was a good year for new wine magazines, none better than Terre, a promising new journal from founders Erika DaSilva, Katie June Barton, and Rachel Signer (a Sprudge Wine contributor). Issue one of the magazine tackles a day in the life at a popular wine bar, explores winemakers from Oregon to Vermont to Assisi, and stops off for a splash of Mezcal in Michoacan and some walnuts in Dordogne. Issues are available via order online, or from a who’s who of international stockists specializing in natural wine.
Here’s another cool print magazine that launched in 2017, this time focused on wine culture in California. Glou Glou Issue #1 features Broc Cellars, La Clarine Farm, and Amplify Wines, with original illustration by Anatole Zangs and Boy Bison. This is a new magazine brand to watch for wine in 2018!
The New Wine Rules by Jon Bonné
New from Ten Speed Press, noted wine writer Jon Bonné is back with The New Wine Rules, a beautiful little book that seeks to “decode the world of wine for newcomers and experienced wine drinkers alike.” Consider this an artful primer on enjoying wine, from how to choose a bottle to how to serve it, store it, and get the most out of drinking it. Features gorgeous illustrations from María Hergueta, and all of it happily sized to stuff a stocking. Recommended!
World Atlas of Wine (7th Edition) by Jancis Robinson and Hugh Johnson
Now in its 7th edition and more essential than ever, Jancis Robinson & Hugh Johnson’s “World Atlas of Wine” remains an essential library item for any wine drinker, be you one of these natty glou punk kids or just a casual lover of the vine. The amount of knowledge packed into this tome is remarkable, and the mapping system provides a wonderful opportunity to anchor knowledge of where wine comes from, and why it matters. Nearly every bottle of wine I’ve opened at home in the last five years has been chased down and mapped out in this book—what a remarkable resource, and beautiful looking to boot.
Champagne by Peter Liem
Champagne avatar Peter Liem just dropped his masterwork in the form of a book and map boxed set, called simply, “Champagne”. From the grandest of Marques to the humblest of growers, it’s all in this book, a dizzying, sprawling new reference point for Champagne lovers old and new. Louis Larmat’s vintage vineyard maps alone are worth the cost of entry—I am seriously considering having mine properly framed.
A Hedonist In The Cellar by Jay McInerney
Around five or so years ago, I expressed a burgeoning interest in wine to a mentor, and he told me a remarkable story. Back in the dying days of the 20th century, when magazine publishers had grown impossibly fat on ad revenue, the novelist Jay McInerney was granted a global travel budget, a full-time editor, and a single mandate: go explore the world of wine. The resulting essays, originally published in Condé Nast’s (long since departed) House & Garden, remain some of the funniest, brightest wine writing ever put to paper, eventually resulting in gigs elsewhere in the Condémpire, a stint with The Wall Street Journal, two more published collections of wine writing, and, in 2006, a James Beard Award. Some of the essays are a bit dated, but that’s kind of the point—it’s a front row seat to the whims and excesses of wine in the 90s, the good and bad bits arrayed in effortless prose, and all of it written with public accessibility as a watchword. These are my favorite wine books.
Natural wine doyenne Alice Feiring publishes a subscription-only newsletter. It’s chock full of recommendations, original essays, and reporting from the front lines of natural wine. Well worth the price of entry, this makes an incredible gift for anyone in your life that loves witty writing, natural wine, or ideally, both.
In the almost 30 years since its original publication, legendary Bay Area wine importer Kermit Lynch’s book has only grown in esteem and importance. Today’s it’s like a building block or strand of DNA towards the global natural wine movement, an important early salvo for the war on wine as big-agro business, and a must-read for young wine drinkers just starting out. It’s also beautifully written, lyrical and sweet, at equal moments uproariously funny and contemplative, and every bit as vital in 2017 as it was when it first appeared. “Wine is, above all, about pleasure,” Lynch writes. “Those who make it ponderous make it dull.” Chin chin.