Synopses & Reviews
The Vessel is Alice Feiring's love affair with and exploration of the vibrant, colorful, passionate world of modern yet oh so ancient Georgian wines and qvevri fermentation. Not to be confused with the Georgia of the American South, the Georgia hugging the Black Sea is a gem and a magnet for wine people worldwide. And the qvevri, the centuries old vessel used to ferment and store the wine, is now the hottest wine accessory on the international vino scene. With a return to natural and biodynamic wines, Georgia now finds itself at the center of wine tourism, drawing winemakers and connoisseurs from around the globe to discover the legacy of a land that may well have been the birthplace of wine more than 6,000 years ago.
When the Turks invaded and ripped out the vines, the Georgians replanted. When the Turks returned, they replanted again. Georgians hid their wine and qvevri while the Soviets put in huge factories making plonk. They kept their private land organic when the community plots for the State were filled with chemicals. They clung to the qvevri tradition when others moved to barrels, and now are known not only for their natural and organic contributions to the wine world, but also for their orange wine, so popular that it has become a new category on wine lists everywhere.
This is Feiring's ode to a country, a history, a culture, and the religion that has preserved and continued to shape wine across the centuries. More than that, it's the stories of the people behind the country's wine efforts today, an exploration of the face and heart behind an ancient tradition that is reshaping the contemporary wine scene.
"I want my wines to tell a good story. I want them natural and most of all, like my dear friends, I want them to speak the truth even if we argue," says Alice Feiring. Join her as she sets off on her one-woman crusade against the tyranny of homogenization, wine consultants, and, of course, the 100-point scoring system of a certain all-powerful wine writer. Traveling through the ancient vineyards of the Loire and Champagne, to Piedmont and Spain, she goes in search of authentic barolo, the last old-style rioja, and the tastiest new terroir-driven champagnes. She reveals just what goes into the average bottle the reverse osmosis, the yeasts and enzymes, the sawdust and oak chips and why she doesn't find much to drink in California. And she introduces rebel winemakers who are embracing old-fashioned techniques and making wines with individuality and soul.
No matter what your palate, travel the wine world with Feiring and you'll have to ask yourself: What do I really want in my glass?
About the Author
Alice Feiring is a James Beard Foundation Awardwinning journalist whose blog, In Vino Veritas, was named one of the seven best by Food & Wine. Formerly the wine/travel columnist for Time, she writes for the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Condé Nast Traveler, and Gourmet, among many others. She lives in New York City.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 The Age of Innocence 7
Chapter 2 What I Learned at UC Davis 41
Chapter 3 Putting Syrah on the Couch 62
Chapter 4 Rioja Loses Its Spanish Accent 88
Chapter 5 Who Stole the Krug? 113
Chapter 6 Desperately Seeking Scanavino 139
Chapter 7 The Lone Guinea Fowl of Burgundy 178
Chapter 8 My Date With Bob 208
Chapter 9 The Revolution: The Land
Robert Parker Forgot to Review 225