How to drink a glass of wine

John Saker Awa Press

NZ Today - - ON BOOKS -

Well I know how to drink a glass of wine, I chuckle to my­self, I get enough prac­tice, boom, boom!

But John Saker, will not only tell you how to do it prop­erly (in a won­der­fully un­pre­ten­tious way), he also gives a fas­ci­nat­ing his­tory of wine, in par­tic­u­lar in France and even ex­plains the cor­rect tem­per­a­tures to serve dif­fer­ent wines. I didn’t re­alise that red wine only works at room tem­per­a­ture if the tem­per­a­ture of the room is be­tween 15 and 18 de­grees Cel­sius. I wouldn’t want to be drink­ing room tem­per­a­ture wine in South Aus­tralia at the mo­ment.

The book starts in France in the 1970s with John and his then girl­friend (now wife I be­lieve) pick­ing grapes in Bur­gundy. As part of their pay­ment, pick­ers were given a cou­ple of litres of rough wine to drink dur­ing the work­ing day. This made the te­dium of the work much more tol­er­a­ble.

Saker also talks about the de­vel­op­ment of wine from some­thing rough and ready for the masses to drown their sor­rows dur­ing the in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tion, to its place in more re­cent times as a tipple of con­nois­seurs to be savoured and ap­pre­ci­ated.

Ev­ery­thing you need to drink wine prop­erly is ex­plained, from choos­ing the right glass to how to swirl the wine and the vi­tal im­por­tance of sniff­ing the wine be­fore tast­ing.

Ap­par­ently men gen­er­ally swirl their wine an­ti­clock­wise and women clock­wise and Saker thinks it might be some­thing for read­ers to an­a­lyse.

The way the droplets stick and slide on the side of the glass re­flects how much al­co­hol is in the wine. The more vis­cous the liq­uid, the higher the al­co­hol.

I was also in­ter­ested to read that wine is so pop­u­lar not only be­cause it tastes good, but be­cause it is a drink that goes so well with food and com­pany, as long of course, as it is en­joyed re­spon­si­bly. It is the most com­mon bev­er­age choice for a cou­ple who want to woo each other. Ap­par­ently it can be a bit of an aphro­disiac, but again, only if it is drunk re­spon­si­bly.

It is an easy book to read and laugh out loud funny in some places (sorry folks on the Taita train line who have to put up with my gig­gle). It would be a great birth­day present for some­one who loves wine, but per­haps has been a bit em­bar­rassed, like me, to say that they re­ally don’t know much about it.

Sarah Bradley

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