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Reading between the Wines

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  169 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Acclaimed importer and wine guru Terry Theise, long known for his top-notch portfolio and his illustrious writing, now offers this opinionated, idiosyncratic, and beautifully written testament to wine. What constitutes beauty in wine, and how do we appreciate it? What role does wine play in a soulful, sensual life? Can wines of place survive in a world of globalized styles ...more
Hardcover, 200 pages
Published September 9th 2010 by University of California Press (first published January 1st 2010)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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Nov 19, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: wine, bio, non-fiction
It is very difficult to put a star rating to this. High highs and low lows! There are nuggets of profound brilliance but you have to sift through dull, repetitive, hippie philosophy to get to it. The first chapter is engaging and promises so much for the book then it's 100 pages of boredom (with a few exciting thoughts on wine) until you get to the chapters: Pressing Hot buttons, Of Places and Grapes, and Wines that Mattered which are the truly well-written, engrossing chapters in this book. MOR ...more
Dec 12, 2010 rated it liked it
Thought-provoking and annoying - sometimes on the same page.
Andrew Schirmer
Jun 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Some truly profound wine writing buried under quite a bit of meandering cod-philosophy. Everyone should drink more German and Austrian rieslings, gruner veltliner, and scheurebe!
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Beautifully written treatise on the philosophy of wine.
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book is mindnumbing. Through the mildly insane circuitous thought patterns the author subjects you to there are some excellent and insightful passages, but fuck me, its 95% dross.
He demands that every wine worth drinking is one that makes you think or expresses something unknowing. But yet on page 80 he revels in his enjoyment of a Bardolino rosé that was good enough for him to not think about just because it tasted good.
Give me a break, the entire book paints a picture of all or nothing, r
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was an absolute pleasure to read. I didn’t know much about the author— just that he is an importer of Austrian wines. As it happens, I am a huge fan of Austrian wine and only wish I had the chance to drink it more! Preferably, in Austria!

I saw some negative reviews here, hard to understand because the book was so charming, engaging and delightful! That said, it’s probably more about the place of beauty in our lives; what is a good life and the sublime more than directly about producti
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: food-and-drink
This book probably won't teach you much about wine, but it's a beautiful read that talks about the connection between wine, soil, and the people who make it--the authenticity or soul of the wine. Evidence that the writer is writing about the topic he loves most in the world and has thought significantly and deeply about it is apparent chapter after chapter; the ideas presented are sometimes abstract, but that's his point. Enjoying wine can't be reduced to scores or tasting notes or even the five ...more
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved his passionate advocacy for enjoying and seeking beauty instead of obsessing after "perfection." It's just wine--so you spent $20 some on a bottle from a shop and didn't like it? Not the biggest mistake!
Oct 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Maybe a bit too much focus on specific producers and relationships and his experiences with bottles others would never have, rather than more broadly applicable views of wine culture and the importance of terroir.
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
THIS. BOOK. BLEW. MY. MIND. I read a LOT of wine books. The truths in this book slapped me across the face again and again. Whoa. READ IT NOW.
Jun 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: wine lovers
3 stars is being generous here. A bit too "Zen" for me ("let the wine come to you"). While I enjoyed his stories about wine makers, he seems to be unaware that similar stories (OK< not across as many generations) can be told about wine makers in CA as well.

While he claims that the quality of the wine seems to be an almost spiritual experience, in truth what he is doing is just pumping his own list of imported wines. While the Austrian and German and lighter French wines he presents here are "pl
Mar 02, 2012 rated it liked it
I'm in the middle of this book right now, but am not enthralled. I had heard from friends that Terry Theise can turn a great phrase...mainly I find him verbose. Perhaps the book will build momentum and finish with a memorable impact. I do like the short vignettes on small growers, and I agree with the author's basic premise, which I take to be that it is worthwhile to drink wines that have a strong sense of place and show the craft of viticulture combined with winemaking.
Dec 15, 2011 rated it it was ok
Another reviewer wrote: "There are nuggets of profound brilliance but you have to sift through dull, repetitive, hippie philosophy to get to it." I would say the nuggets are interesting, but wouldn't call them profound brilliance. And there's an awful lot of sifting necessary to find them. The writing itself is expressive and good, but the content is extremely repetitive.
Jun 30, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: cooking
This book has very little actual information about wines. It is a LOT of the writers personal philosophy on making and drinking wine. It was a little bit interesting, but I got bored and moved on to other books, repeatedly. He is a big proponent of drinking crafted wines rather than populous driven created wines. I am, too. It's just a lot to read about for so many pages.
Jun 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wine
Absolutely brilliant. His passion is contagious. He is this articulate in person too. I love his wines!
Dec 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
An enjoyable read that takes you through the musings of the author on why wine matters -- a personal philosophical approach to the love of wine with emphasis on German wines.
Nov 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, inspiring, fun... read it as a library book - going to buy it so I can read again and again
Oct 19, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: wine-and-spirits
Sounded promising but too rambling. Sometimes had trouble figuring out the point.
Dec 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Terry Theise is not a "good wine writer", he is a great writer, plain and simple. This was absolutely one of the best books I've read all year long.
Michael Blaakman
Mar 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
As a student of history, I loved Theise's take on what makes wine important: people, origins, place, and context.
Kathy Baer
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