Jamie Goode’s full-bodied The Goode Guide to Wine tastes its way through the industry for consumers and the trade.
Original, sensory-fused titles, including “Mouthfeel Matters,” frame the book’s short and easy-reading chapters. Goode is open and assertive with his opinions, including of the need for a holistic approach to wine, but his tone is humorous, even facetious at times. He jabs at “sillier” aspects of the wine world, including the lack of respect for cheap wine and the absence of intelligent tasting notes, raising questions about traditional perceptions of terroir, blind tastings, and commercial palates.
Though its own language is clever and sometimes lyrical, the text highlights the limitations of words to describe experiences like drinking wine. Goode observes the growing season as a “dance” with the weather; he listens to the “quiet voice” of terroir and considers wine growing an “act of interpretation,” approaching wine as more than “liquid in a glass.” The book is intriguing as it compares shortcomings in wine to flaws in music, underscoring the beauty of both.
Goode is convincing when it comes to the dangers facing the wine industry. “The sadness of spoofulation” and production of “spoofy wine” highlight concerns about supermarkets carrying character-obliterating wines without distinct personalities, while an observation that few wines have a strong “somewhereness” leads to a candid discussion of critics punishing wineries for products that are not “ripe and seductive enough or difficult in youth.” The importance of first impressions and effective storytelling in wine marketing is emphasized, and Goode issues a call for new talent and voices from diverse backgrounds in the wine world.
With its philosophical musings about planting and its relationship to time, and its compelling discussions of why wine matters, The Goode Guide to Wine is an entertaining and deep industry text.
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