The Great Wines of America, The Top Forty Vintners, Vineyards, and Vintages, ©2005, by Paul Lukacs, Norton Publishing.

[I read this book and reported on it March 4, 2006. It’s another one of my lost files. (Hackers cracking into my site and being cyber monkeys, meaning that Jose had to do some rebuilding. Some files were lost, but I am bringing back the book files.]

In order to author a book entitled, “The Great Wines of America,” one must begin from a very humble epicenter. It’s the balance, the yin yang, if you will. Within traveling a few words into this book, author Paul Lukacs is quick to point out in his introduction that this is from his own experiences, and not the will of anyone or anything else. That disclaimer then allows you to read about what has left an indelible ink blot in Lukacs’ mind. Paul also explains in his introduction, “This book… does not simply catalog the country’s most expensive wines. It honors achievement not luxury, no matter whether the achievement results in a $150 Cabernet or a $15 Riesling.”

From this point forward, there’s a lot to learn from this full-time chair of the English department at Loyola College. For instance, I have an invested interest in Petite Sirah, as one of the three founders of a PS advocacy group called PS I Love You. I was told by wine reviewers from all over the US that the advocacy group wouldn’t be recognized as fully credible until Stags’ Leap Winery had become a member

“Well,” I thought, “everyone is entitled to an opinion, because the group is already filled with stellar prominence.” (It really was.) Then, as I read Paul’s Chapter 16, Stags’ Leap Winery ~ Petite Syrah ~ Napa Valley, California, I was able to glimpse into the minds of those who had come before me… those who had experienced that greatness as a benchmark, and wouldn’t let me forget that that prominence existed; ergo, the group needed that missing link.

[As a sidebar: since the beginnings of those utterances, not only has Stags’ Leap become a member of the group, but Robert Brittan, now a consulting winegrape grower and winemaker, has also become a member.]

Paul Lukacs defined what was missing from my repertoire about the wine and the man behind the wine. In this chapter, Lukacs got to the bottom of the objection that I’d encounter along the way; additionally, he captured the soul of the man who is so humble in his process, that he doesn’t even see the halo effect of his accomplishments.

This is just one representative of “The Top Forty Vintners, Vineyards, and Vintages.” What Paul Lukacs presents within the other thirty-nine chapters is left for you to discover. There will be a chord struck somewhere within the contents of this book, because if you’re holding it, you’ve also had an experience along the way that made you connect with the title. You, too, will rediscover what you know, and also find out about what you’ve wanted to know.