Gary Vaynerchuk’s 101 wines

by Eve Resnick on June 9, 2008

in Books

That’s it! I got it and I read it! I just couldn’t believe my luck when the post office delivered Gary‘s book on Friday. (My skepticism is just the result of a lost book package, actually MY own book, by… DHL.)

Last week, Gary was concerned about his book not being available in some stores. He Twittered the question to the world. Randulo saw this Tweet and invited him to call in live to the podcast he was doing at the time, which Gary did. You can listen to the short phone chat with him about the book, and his interest in tea, which he finds very similar to wine in many ways.

Anyway, Gary’s book is on my desk and I carried it along with me all weekend to read it. Funnily enough, on the cover Gary’s name is subtitled “star of“. Fortunately, Gary is much more than a star: he’s witty, bright, funny, sincere and honest. He writes as he talks: with energy and passion. Do you know a lot of “stars” with those qualities?

Gary worked very hard to give us his opinion on 101 wines he really enjoyed and brought thunder to his world, as he put it in the title. The book is not a guide, it’s not the wines Gary recommends you to drink: “buy wines that are true to themselves and true to you”, Gary recommends. Why is that? Because “that’s how we’re going to change the wine world”: forget the ratings, forget the critics, forget the marketing strategies, the commercials and the ads. Buy a bottle because you think you’ll like it: if you don’t, you’ll have learned something about yourself and wine.

How did he select his 101 wines? They are “the 101 wines that I am most excited about and want to recommend to anyone interested in wine”, “wines that break down barriers, create new styles, and ooze charisma”. The program sounds intriguing. Should we get in a little more details about the wines? From #101 to #1, every wine is reviewed with the same info: winery name, price, origin, grapes, ABV (alcohol by volume), production and web site.

First Gary’s titles: “Making Mom Proud” for 2 Brothers, Cabernet Sauvignon reserve 2005; “It’s in the mail” for Ambulineo Vineyards, Big Paw Chardonnay 2006 or “Wine for your two-year-old” for Taylor Fladgate, Quinta de Vargellas, 2005. There is the humor and the odd comparisons. When Gary wants his reader to imagine how a wine tastes, here is what he advises to do: “I need you to take some pigs-in-a-blanket – you know, those mini hot dogs. Now you’re going to take a strawberry Fruit Roll-Up and wrap it on one more layer. That’s right! We’re going one more layer! Now bite it. Eat. Sprinkle some black pepper on it! That is this wine”. What is he talking about? a Languedoc wine, Mas de la Barben, Les Calices 2003 selling for $44! And in case you have some doubt about what a fruit roll-up is, there is a foot note on the subject.

Is Gary not taking wine seriously by any chance? Not at all. Gary is certainly one of the more erudite people I read on the subject: he’ll tell you everything on the most obscure grape, like Kekfrankos or about a label, like Ceago Vinegarden. Ceago is a Pomo Indian word, meaning “grass seed valley”. He will give you insights on the winery and the winemaker, tell you what he felt and smelled and tasted in the wine.

You can agree or disagree with whatever Gary says but there is something you have to agree about: Gary’s book is easy to read, gives you an in-depth appreciation of the wines he tasted, plenty of information on almost everything related to wine, taste, aroma and flavors. The book is informative, easy to read and you’ll get a good laugh out of Gary’s comments and remarks. How many wine books make you laugh?

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