What a delightful book. I skimmed it before the holidays, because I wanted to recommend it for holiday shopping. With a quick skimming, I knew that the book was written well and had enough meat on its bones to be a fun read for anyone who loves wine. Grabbing the book and taking off to St. Louis with me last week, I knew it would be a great flight companion, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Elliot Essman’s wine journey isn’t as long as mine, so it was fun to return to someone else’s more recent age of discovery. While my explorations have been about learning the wine business, Elliot’s have been really geared toward tasting/enjoying wine. Being on the East Coast, he’s got that advantage of his peers being better schooled in the world of wine, versus the wine world… Since the age of discovery and foreigners landing on our eastern shores from Europe, people on the east coast still have tighter connections to their European ancestors.

So… the book… What a delight.

Elliot states early on, “‘Yes, I’m a Lover of Wine’ should have been the title, but my publisher wouldn’t let me.” And so, the book goes on to give examples of how to use wine to make sense of the world by using all of our senses. I agree with Elliot in that I, too, believe the sense of sound is underrated in how we enjoy wine. He’ll give you greater details on the “how to.” I don’t need to write it here.

Use Wine to Make Sense of The World is interwoven with wine experiences about what he’s learned about it along the way, as well as how Elliot went looking for the love of his life through a wine hook-up marathon. He was prepared to have this involve the experiences of meeting 26 different women, if the need be.

Did he get that far?

Did he find love amid the juicy experiences?

I’m never going to tell, except to say, it’s a delightfully honest, almost heart wrenching journey. He spares us from most of the gory details of his dash-hearted experiences, but still lays down some pretty amusing observations for the outcome of each.

What I love most about Elliot’s book – with his wine rendezvous being a close second – are the places that he took me for wine varieties that he’s enjoyed along his journey. He’s so sensually developed. Both in wine and in women, Elliot is very expressive… And isn’t that what wine does to us? His book reveals it all, much to the reader’s delight.

His great international repertoire gives the reader tremendous resources, packed into a quick read of 153 pages. This is one to remain in my book library for the following quick references:

  • It’s a great resource for sweet wine nomenclature.
    • Don’t knock the sweet… “Nectar of the gods does NOT refer to dry wines. Mother’s milk nectar is sweet with lactose, and from there our palates are built.
  • Read a great tip on wine ice cubes.
    • I don’t want to forget that one, because I, too, love to cook.
  • Great biodynamics primer.
    • Whether you believe in biodynamics or not, Elliot lays down the fundamentals for easier comprehension.
  • Need a wine cocktail?
    • The best list around.

Elliot taught me a lot with his book; and, it had to do with my senses as he made good sense for why one would expand his or her love of wine with more engagement. Loved it…

The greatest item I learned in his book is the word “autolysis.” Looked it up when I got to a computer, and here’s something for us each to remember… Autolysis in winemaking relates to the complex chemical reactions that take place when a wine spends contact with the lees, or dead yeast cells, after fermentation. Autolysis… Thanks, Elliot.

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