The Wandering Vine
WINNER OF THE FORTNUM & MASON FOOD AND DRINK AWARDS DEBUT DRINK BOOK OF THE YEAR 2019
WINNER OF THE LOUIS ROEDERER INTERNATIONAL WINE BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD 2018
‘Wine is alive, ageing and changing, but it’s also a triumph over death. These grapes should rot. Instead they ferment. What better magic potion could there be, to convey us to the past?’
Impelled by a dual thirst, for wine and for knowledge, Nina Caplan follows the vine into the past, wandering from Champagne’s ancient chalk to the mountains of Campania, via the crumbling Roman ruins that flank the river Rhone and the remote slopes of Priorat in Catalonia. She meets people whose character, stubbornness and sometimes, borderline craziness makes their wine great: an intrepid Englishman planting on rabbit-infested Downs, a glamorous eagle-chasing Spaniard and an Italian lawyer obsessed with reviving Falernian, legendary wine of the Romans. In the course of her travels, she drinks a lot and learns a lot: about dead conquerors and living wines, forgotten zealots and – in vino veritas, as Pliny said – about herself.
In this lyrical and charming book, Nina Caplan drinks in order to remember and travels in order to understand the meaning of home. This is narrative travel writing at its best.
Thank heavens for Nina Caplan, who brings a bit of hinterland to this often dry subject ... The Wandering Vine, her first book, is about much more than wine. It's a heady blend of travel, literature, memoir, history and what I can only describe as psychogeography ... The Wandering Vine has a depth and soul lacking in most wine books * Spectator * A travel journal like no other I've ever read: evocative, intelligent, beautifully written, a pilgrimage of the soul through a love of wine and the vineyards that produce it. * Elisabeth Luard * A lively journey from the vineyards of antiquity to the modern dining table. You'll savour every last drop. * Daisy Dunn * Rich and multi-layered, full of love and family, erudite and dense with fascinating detail while being as deliciously gluggable as a fine pinot noir. Intoxicating stuff. * Marina O'Loughlin * Nina Caplan and I share a family tree; I had no idea, until I read this marvellous book, that it was a vine. I am drunk with her passionate knowledge * Maureen Lipman * [Caplan] blends her wide knowledge of wine with a rich sense of its pleasures, as she retells the story of Europe and her own family history through a bottle ... she guides us from the upstart vineyards of England, through France and Spain, and to the heart of the empire in Rome, Caplan's knowledge always enhances and never obscures the flavours ... delicious * Mail on Sunday * An enthralling account of her journey of research into the history of vino, reaching back to ancient Rome, her liquid capital * Jewish Chronicle * The Wandering Vine is ultimately both a wine and a travel book. Wine writing has descended to reams of indigestible tasting notes ... travel writing appears to be mostly composed of gobbets about spa treatments ... somebody needs to rescue both. Caplan is surely on the right path. * New Statesman * A profoundly philosophical book that has a weightless energy ... deep, yet whimsical * Tamlyn Currin, JancisRobinson.com *
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