On these short days and chilly nights, there’s nothing better than a cozy spot in front of the fireplace to read, wine glass in hand. Here are five great vineyard reads to take you through the winter season. (Psst, they also make great holiday gifts.)
“Tangled Vines _ Greed, Murder, Obsession and an Arsonist in the Vineyards of California”: We couldn’t put down this tale of the world’s biggest wine arson that destroyed nearly five million wine bottles worth about $250 million. Among them, bottles of 1875 California Port made by Berkeley-based author Frances Dinkelspiel’s great-great grandfather. Details: St. Martin’s Press, $26.99
“Napa Valley Then and Now”: At Press Napa Valley, sommelier Kelli A. White sources current and rare bottles from Napa’s most iconic producers _ so who better to pen a guide to those wines? At 1,250 pages, “Napa Valley Then and Now” is part historical reference and part profile of about 200 producers past and present. Details: Rudd Press, $95; www.napavalleythenandnow.com.
“Wine Folly _ The Essential Guide to Wine”: Madeline Puckette has a large following on her blog “Wine Folly” with good reason. Her clever, clear writing and infographics on wine, grapes, wine regions and the winemaking process are not only fun, they appeal to everyone, from novice to expert. Details: Avery, $25.
“Thirsty Dragon _ China’s Lust for Bordeaux and the Threat to the World’s Best Wines”: You think you’re Bordeaux obsessed? Nothing compares to China’s unquenchable thirst for these storied French wines. Suzanne Mustacich delves into this lust with historical references and stories of the famous first growths, importers and collectors. Details: Henry Holt and Company, $32.
“The Oxford Companion to Wine”: Wine authority Jancis Robinson edited the first “Oxford Companion to Wine” in 1994. This edition, the fourth, has more than 4,000 entries (wine geeks take note), organized alphabetically, from “abboccato” (medium sweet in Italian) to “zymase” (enzymes involved in fermentation). Pick a topic or term, and chances are Robinson’s got it covered. Details: Oxford University Press, $65.