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The Accidental Connoisseur

An Irreverent Journey Through the Wine World

Lawrence Osborne

North Point Press

What is taste? Is it individual or imposed on us from the outside? Why are so many of us so intimidated when presented with the wine list at a restaurant? In The Accidental Connoisseur, journalist Lawrence Osborne takes off on a personal voyage through a little-known world in pursuit of some answers. Weaving together a fantastic cast of eccentrics and obsessives, industry magnates and small farmers, the author explores the way technological change, opinionated critics, consumer trends, wheelers and dealers, trade wars, and mass market tastes have made the elixir we drink today entirely different from the wine drunk by our grandparents.

In his search for wine that is a true expression of the place that produced it, Osborne takes the reader from the high-tech present to the primitive past. From a lavish lunch with wine tsar Robert Mondavi to the cellars of Marquis Piero Antinori in Florence, from the tasting rooms of Chateau Lafite to the humble vineyards of northern Lazio, Osborne winds his way through Renaissance palaces, $27 million wineries, tin shacks and garages, opulent restaurants, world-famous chais and vineyards, renowned villages and obscure landscapes, as well as the great cities which are the temples of wine consumption: New York, San Francisco, Paris, Florence, and Rome. On the way, we will be shown the vast tapestry of this much-desired, little-understood drink: who produces it and why, who consumes it, who critiques it? Enchanting, delightful, entertaining, and, above all, down to earth, this is a wine book like no other.

What is taste? Is it individual or imposed on us from the outside? Why are so many of us so intimidated when presented with the wine list at a restaurant? In The Accidental Connoisseur, journalist Lawrence Osborne takes off on a personal voyage through a little-known world in pursuit of some answers. Weaving together a fantastic cast of eccentrics and obsessives, industry magnates and small farmers, the author explores the way technological change, opinionated critics, consumer trends, wheelers and dealers, trade wars, and mass market tastes have made the elixir we drink today entirely different from the wine drunk by our grandparents.

In his search for wine that is a true expression of the place that produced it, Osborne takes the reader from the high-tech present to the primitive past. From a lavish lunch with wine tsar Robert Mondavi to the cellars of Marquis Piero Antinori in Florence, from the tasting rooms of Chateau Lafite to the humble vineyards of northern Lazio, Osborne winds his way through Renaissance palaces, $27 million wineries, tin shacks and garages, opulent restaurants, world-famous chais and vineyards, renowned villages and obscure landscapes, as well as the great cities which are the temples of wine consumption: New York, San Francisco, Paris, Florence, and Rome. On the way, we will be shown the vast tapestry of this much-desired, little-understood drink: who produces it and why, who consumes it, who critiques it? Enchanting, delightful, entertaining, and, above all, down to earth, this is a wine book like no other.

BOOK EXCERPTS

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Excerpt from The Accidental Connoisseur: An Irreverent Journey Through the Wine World by Lawrence Osborne. Copyright © 2004 by Lawrence Osborne. To be published in March, 2004 by North Point Press, a division or Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.


Introduction: A Matter of Taste

Man's tongue, on the other hand, by the delicacy of its surfaces and of the various membranes which surround it, proves clearly enough the sublimity of the operations for which it is destined.
--Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin


I grew up in Britain in the 1970s, before
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REVIEWS

Praise for The Accidental Connoisseur

"Funny, provocative, and vastly entertaining."
--Gerald Asher

"A humorous punch in the nose to wine snobs who think money buys good taste."
--Kermit Lynch

"Lawrence Osborne's The Accidental Connoisseur is shrewd, apt, acerbic and often quite crazy. We are carried along equally by the honed criticism and the fine writing."
--Jim Harrison
"Funny, provocative, and vastly entertaining."
--Gerald Asher

"A humorous punch in the nose to wine snobs who think money buys good taste."
--Kermit Lynch

"Lawrence Osborne's The Accidental Connoisseur is shrewd, apt, acerbic and often quite crazy. We are carried along equally by the honed criticism and the fine writing."
--Jim Harrison

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Lawrence Osborne

  • Lawrence Osborne contributes frequently to The New York Times Magazine, Lingua Franca, The New Republic, and Talk, and is the author of Paris Dreambook, The Poisoned Embrace, and American Normal. Born in England, he lives in New York.
  • Lawrence Osborne
    Lawrence Osborne
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Available Formats and Book Details

The Accidental Connoisseur

An Irreverent Journey Through the Wine World

Lawrence Osborne

IACP Cookbook Award - Nominee
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FROM THE PUBLISHER

North Point Press

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