In 2001, Michael Sanders spent a year abroad creating an eloquent portrait of rural French life, a story he told through the seasons of a local restaurant and its patrons, the critically-acclaimed FROM HERE YOU CAN'T SEE PARIS. After spending some time back in the States, Sanders decided to return to southern France to complete his journey. This ...Read MoreIn 2001, Michael Sanders spent a year abroad creating an eloquent portrait of rural French life, a story he told through the seasons of a local restaurant and its patrons, the critically-acclaimed FROM HERE YOU CAN'T SEE PARIS. After spending some time back in the States, Sanders decided to return to southern France to complete his journey. This time he decided to focus on the regional wines. FAMILIES OF THE VINE invites the reader into the working lives of three families whose sole crop is the grapes grown in their vineyards, grapes from which they all make very good, yet quite different, wine, as they have been doing for more than four generations. FAMILIES OF THE VINE loosely follows them throughout the winemaking year, from the hopes of spring, through the drama of a summer drought and heat wave, to the mad dash of fall harvest, and then into the wine barns heady with the smells of fermentation and the reek of aging barrels. Rich with the history and tradition of French winemaking, FAMILIES OF THE VINE is told through the voices of winemakers and their friends, from a barrelmaker in Bordeaux to a sommelier in a one-star restaurant. Whether puzzling over the maddeningly imprecise French concept of terroir or taking a gentle swipe at the 'science' of wine tasting, Michael Sanders has an engaging writing style that will appeal to amateur and enthusiast alike.Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 2005-03-21 One night, Sanders (From Here, You Can't See Paris) sat outside a hotel in southwestern France. An old Frenchman explained to the American that he had no use for wine criticism or the numerical rankings that hold sway in today's wine world: " `Me, I say I like this wine or I don't like this wine.' " Sanders focuses on three winemakers in one of France's secondary wine regions, Cahors, following its "difficult" and "shy" eponymous wine (made primarily from the Malbec grape) from vine to barrel to glass. In doing so, he seeks to capture a way of life that existed before global marketing and the influence of the American wine critic Robert Parker, who devised the ranking system. Sanders shows the winemakers in the family-owned, family-run vineyards; describes the pathos of the harvest during the drought-ridden year of 2003; and even explains how barrels are made. Laced throughout this solid, affectionate portrait are unusual insights (e.g., "Built into the concept of terroir... is the simple acknowledgement that the French winemaker knows all this as a sailor knows from the way his boat moves through the water that his sails are trimmed as they should be"). Sanders succeeds in showing us that a knowledge of wine really can't be imparted by experts, that it takes firsthand experience and time. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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