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Battle for Wine and Love: or How I Saved the World from Parkerization [Anglais] [Relié]

Alice Feiring

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Format Kindle EUR 6,84  
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Broché EUR 11,23  

Description de l'ouvrage

19 mai 2008

"I want my wines to tell a good story. I want them natural and most of all, like my dear friends, I want them to speak the truth even if we argue,” says Alice Feiring. Join her as she sets off on her one-woman crusade against the tyranny of homogenization, wine consultants, and, of course, the 100-point scoring system of a certain all-powerful wine writer. Traveling through the ancient vineyards of the Loire and Champagne, to Piedmont and Spain, she goes in search of authentic barolo, the last old-style rioja, and the tastiest new terroir-driven champagnes. She reveals just what goes into the average bottle—the reverse osmosis, the yeasts and enzymes, the sawdust and oak chips—and why she doesn’t find much to drink in California. And she introduces rebel winemakers who are embracing old-fashioned techniques and making wines with individuality and soul.

No matter what your palate, travel the wine world with Feiring and you’ll have to ask yourself: What do i really want in my glass?

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Revue de presse

“In this passionate, personal and provocative book, Alice Feiring champions a small-is-beautiful philosophy and the new universe of natural wines.” —Mireille Guiliano, author of French Women Don't Get Fat
"Feiring is a deeply knowledgeable and passionately committed wine writer."
—Frank Bruni, The New York Times

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.1 étoiles sur 5  41 commentaires
73 internautes sur 80 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 I desperately wanted to like this book.. 31 mai 2008
Par M. Flocco - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat authentifié par Amazon
To begin, I will mention that most of the bottles in my cellar would likely be bottles that Feiring would enjoy, and some of which I'd guess she'd love. It helps that my cellar is made up almost exclusively of Burgundy, but my guess is that she and I agree on many facets of the product of wine.

Because of this, and because we both dislike many seemingly unbalanced (read: fruit/alcohol bombs) wines, I felt pretty sure that I'd enjoy the book. Instead, I found myself feeling like I was listening more to a book of whine than a book on wine.

My issues:

+ Feiring goes on and on about her distaste for science's intervention into winemaking. On a couple of rare occasions in the book, she tries to convince the reader that she's not anti-science, but her arguments aren't convincing. There is nothing wrong with understanding wine scientifically, nor is there anything wrong with using that knowledge to make wines. Science goes into some of the best wines in the world -- perhaps not RO, but knowledge that isn't merely anecdotal helps to shape them.

+ This book has been compared to Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma" in some reviews here. I couldn't disagree more. Pollan's book could be considered an opinion piece, but his stroke was much gentler. Additionally, he provided gobs more information on his topic. Feiring's material is almost all opinion and truly pushes the reader to believe what she's selling. I do realize that's the format of her book, but for those reasons I don't see the comparison to "The Omnivore's Dilemma".

+ Something about wine knowledge makes people rapidly become wine snobs. I'm guilty of it, and I think most are to some extent. However, I think one measure of a person's caliber is how they're able to educate without being condescending. On this, I give Feiring low marks (but not a failing grade).

+ Biodynamics is, essentially, religion. Natural farming is great, and components of biodynamics are natural, which likely help farming. However, Feiring's willing to make excuses for the oddities of biodynamics (cow dung buried in a horn, for example) where she's not willing to allow science the same leeway.

+ This one's a simple complaint, and for most can probably be dismissed, but please lose the subtitle. It's embarrassing.

All that said, there are some redeeming qualities to the book, those being that you may learn a thing or two about why romance is a big part of the package of wine for many enthusiasts. It certainly makes drinking more enjoyable for me.
29 internautes sur 31 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Love/Hate Relationship With This Book 8 juin 2008
Par monkuboy - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat authentifié par Amazon
I first found out about this book from reading an article written by the author that appeared in the Los Angeles Times. In it, she seemed on the warpath, ready to offend anyone and anything as a means to get people to read her book to see what her outrageous statements were about. Myself, I thought this woman who criticized winemakers for manipulating wines into big, huge, bold styles in order to please Robert Parker and thus sell more bottles was guilty of the same thing, making outrageous statements and trying to create controversy in order to sell copies of her book.

However, I did agree in principle with what she was saying, that too often these days wines are manipulated into something that tries to please the consumer and they are losing their individuality. So I bought the book. Amazon's price makes it too attractive to pass up.

Pros: Ms. Feiring writes very well. She takes the reader around the globe in her adventures as we meet various winemakers on both sides of the fence, as she advances her argument against over-manipulation. I think most readers would be pretty surprised to find out what goes on in a lot of wineries in order to achieve the sort of wine they want to sell. It's a topic that does need to be more publicized.

Cons: Ms. Feiring sounds like she's taken out a contract on Robert Parker. She is so anti-Parker that it threatens the credibility of the book. She also tries to paint everything in black and white, as in small, family, old-fashioned winemakers = good guys and big, corporate, technology-utilizing winemakers = bad and evil guys. It's the same as people who automatically slam big corporations simply because they are big. She also tries to combine her romantic life with her discussion of the wines and I felt this added nothing to the book. In fact, I got tired of hearing about "Owl Man" and the others and was thinking, who cares?

If you can get past the chip (or boulder) that the author seems to have on her shoulder, this book is well worth reading. It will influence the way you perceive the next glass of wine you drink, as well as all the rest of them.
14 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Lots of passion, but logic is lacking. 18 avril 2009
Par Just Another Reader - Publié sur
Like many other readers, I hoped to find objective arguments for diversity and non-adulterated wines. After finishing the book, I was concerned that she might have weaken her own stance.

While I agree with the points she hoped to convey, I cannot agree with her logic. Her writing grossly simplified the issues: science is bad, biodynamic is good; big corporation is bad, small producer is good. I have had many of the wines mentioned in the book, and I agree that they are unique and good. However, not all of them are from small producers, and certainly not all of them are made in the absence of technology.

Mr. Robert Parker is without question the most influential wine critic today, and perhaps with his enormous influence should also come the responsibility to preserve the regional diversity of wines. Mr. Parker is a big boy, and he certainly doesn't need me to defend him, but he has become the whipboy for everything that is wrong in the wine world. Consumers, producers as well, should realize that Mr. Parker's view represent one man's palate (or a few in the case of the Wine Advocate), and even he says in his publications that the final judge should be our own palates. My point is that Mr. Parker alone cannot be blamed for everything one does not like in the wine world, and blaming him is simply avoiding the bigger issues; in my opinion, all these issues are just the natural progression of wine becoming an international business. Instead of singling out Mr. Parker, Ms. Feiring could do the wine-drinking public a big favor by encouraging everyone to trust their own palate and explore different wine styles.

Perhaps the single biggest reason I am so negative toward this book is that Ms. Feiring seems to judge the quality of wines by their producers (whether they practice biodynamics) rather than by what's in the bottles. Throughout this book, I get a feeling that she has already made up her mind before she brought the glass to her mouth. While that's perfectly fine in the privacy of her own mind, she needs to be more objective considering the audience this book will reach. I agree that wines should not be manipulated and should reflect their regional diversities, but the reason should be more than "because I say so!"

While I have been harsh and negative about this book, I do want to point out that many of the wines mentioned and likened by the author are truly excellent! For instance, of the Spanish wines I have tried, many were refined and many were rustic, but none was as profound as Lopez de Heredia; give it a try and you will know what I mean.

Ms. Feiring spoke from her heart, and there is nothing wrong with that. I just hope that, in addition to her passion, she could have presented her arguments in a more constructive and objective way.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 delightful and insightful for connoisseurs and novices alike 30 mai 2008
Par Ruth Vincent - Publié sur
Feiring's is one of the rare wine books that has equal appeal to both the oenophile and the weekend wine taster. 'Wine geeks' will feel vindicated by her manifesto that cries out against 'spoofalated' (unnecessarily manipulated) wine and praises the renegade wine makers who've turned to Biodynamic farming, or simply heeded the wine making wisdom of their great grandfathers. The less wine-savvy can still take delight in the love stories that mellow this tannic polemic. Feiring writes great characters as well as great wine reviews - for those of us who want to get to know the people behind our wine, Feiring satisfies with anecdotes of wine critics, wine scientists, and most of all the wine makers themselves. Highly recommended.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 It would be pointless to rate this on a 100 point scale 7 septembre 2008
Par Chambolle - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat authentifié par Amazon
As Alice Feiring sagely argues, that would be a silly thing to do with books, people, wine, or life in general. I thus find it difficult to "rate" this book, whether on a scale of one to five stars, 100 points or 20 points or otherwise. There is so much good about it. But for me it is something of a flawed diamond.

I wanted so much to be enthralled with this book, as others here have said. Alice Feiring has her head in the right place where wine is concerned. She's got a great blog. She knows what she's talking about. When I heard her book was coming out, it was a must have volume for me and I "pre-ordered" it. To be frank, the title was off-putting. It seemed like a marketer's strange marriage of "chick lit" (oh God, forgive me, Alice) and wine geek ((and I mean that in a good way), but I figured I could get past that, no problemo.

So then I sat down to read the book cover to cover, in a few ferry crossings between The Rock and Seattle -- and I did so with great expectations (little g, little e, not with the Dickens novel in my other hand). Here's the Plus and the Minus:

Plus: The book stakes out a strong and well reasoned argument for terroir, traditional (and by that I mean organic, possibly even biodynamic, non-interventionist, not careless and just plain bad) viticulture and winemaking. Alice plainly knows her stuff. And yes, she has the "cojones" to call a spade a shovel. Heck, anyone who will cross swords on the dais with the likes of Clark Smith certainly knows how to hold her own in an argument.

While it isn't exactly new news, as tens of thousands of us by now probably feel the same way and may have said it often enough, it's gratifying to see someone pronounce Robert Parker, the Wine Spectator, Michel Rolland and others of that ilk something of a public menace -- and get published.

Minus: There's too much chatty, "personal backstory" stuff clouding the picture, for my personal taste anyway. Some may find Mr. Bow Tie, Owl Man, Honey Sugar and all the rest entertaining. To me, it's just in the way at best; unnerving, awkward and genuinely distracting at worst. When I got to the part about winemaker so and so's "deep, sexy voice" and his "tussle of brown curls and fleshy, sensuous earlobes," and read about the various exploits of "Skinny," I began to wonder whether I could finish the book.

The book definitely is worth finishing. But I do wish it stuck to what I hoped to find, and did in large part -- well-crafted and opinionated writing about wine. Maybe this really needed to be two books - one about wine, the other about, well, the other stuff. "Sex and the Single Wine Writer," perhaps?

Let's be clear. Alice is the real deal and she's a valuable advocate for real wine. As I said at the outset, this is a book I'd like to be able to give an unqualified five stars. I just can't, given the distractions that to me detract from the seriousness of the message.

Were I Robert Parker, I would give it an 88. OK, maybe a 90. Who the hell knows. That's what's wrong with the whole Parker School of wine criticism in the first place. But I imagine he might call it a fruity, quirky, wild cherry and chocolate laden hedonistic fruit bomb, with overtones of creosote and a whiff of pheromones; drink 2008 to 2010.

As it is, I give it four stars.
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