Marissa Ross * Plume * June 27, 2017 * 304 Pages
Marissa Ross began casually blogging about wine in 2012. For three years she sent words out into the great and vast darkness of the internets without much of a following. But she got her big break in 2015 when she was interviewed by New York Magazine. Just a few months later, she got a book deal (for this book) and then began contributing to some of the most impressive wine and food magazines in the country. She found her groove and has been on a roll ever since.
Which is all well and good for her, but is this book any good? I am so happy to say it is PHENOMENAL. I didn’t have high expectations, especially after seeing the cover (she looks a little smug, no?), but Ross is so, so funny and entertaining. I definitely never thought I’d be laughing out loud while reading a book about wine, but I did—multiple times. Here’s a good example of her irreverent writing style and all-inclusive approach to wine tasting:
Wine tasting often conjures thoughts of quiet tasting rooms with a handful of well-to-do white people who are slurping and murmuring things in slightly British-sounding accents like, “I’m getting willow bark, John.” John shakes his head and spits into a bucket with great velocity, saying, “No, no, no, Felicia. You’re doing it wrong; you must swirl counterclockwise. And it’s most definitely the bark of a silver birch.” And there I am in the corner, drinking my wine, trying to figure out their accents and why John is being such an asshole about Felicia’s willow bark because who died and made John the king of deciphering different trees in wine, and above all, asking myself, “Where the hell are they getting bark? Am I supposed to be tasting bark? IS THERE BARK IN THIS WINE?!”
And though I love that Ross makes learning about wine fun, I also love that this book actually taught me something about wine. I legit know how to read a wine label now. And I’m not afraid to order wine at a restaurant anymore. I know how wine is made, and I know why it’s important to know what region it came from. I can tell you the difference between reds and whites, and I can explain what tannins are. That’s crazy to me, that reading just a few hundred pages can make me feel like I actually know something about a subject that used to make me break out in a cold sweat.
So yeah, I loved this book. I even went out and bought a copy of it, which I almost never do (lest my bookshelves overflow and quickly dominate my home). So if you’re looking to learn more about wine—and don’t mind a youthful teacher who has a healthy love of swears—I’d absolutely recommend this book.
Advanced Reader Copy provided through Net Galley.