A few months ago, while others indulged in retail therapy, I passed the time in a good sized bookshop - Waterstones in reasonably well healed Kingston-upon-Thames south west London. The food and drink section occupied extensive shelf space and yet the drinks bit was one meager short shelf, and of that barely half covered wine. I estimated food outdid wine by over 20 to 1. While memory plays tricks, I'm certain the ratio has shifted at the expense of wine books over the past 20 years to support the relative explosion in TV celebrity cookbook publications.
Having an interest in cooking and food, combined with a somewhat specialist (OK narrow) interest in wine then, for what it's worth, my home shelf ratio is about 5:1 in favour of food matters. The timeless nature of a good recipe or just the ideas on offer keep them on my shelves. Wine ages as do the people involved and, like restaurant guides, too many pass their shelf-life date or are superseded.
My latest purchase has nothing specific to do with the Language-Rousillon, indeed I've yet to find any credited reference to the region in the tome. Nevertheless, I thoroughly recommend Authentic Wine: Toward Natural and Sustainable Winemaking by Jamie Goode and Sam Harrop. It covers the approaches to viticulture and winery practices from a "what is natural" perspective by presenting the views of people involved supplemented by the scientific slant that Jamie brings. Co-author Sam Harrop MW was one of the founders of Rousillon's Domaine Matassa so has experience of the hands-on side of things. I particularly like the balanced coverage of biodynamic practices for example, Matassa being biodynamic must have helped.
For me, most of the topics covered reflect the choices made by the more serious independent producers in the region - including our vin naturel producing village neighbours. As a read it works exceptionally well as a book to dip into and should turn out to be as timeless as the best of my food books.
Frost in the Languedoc
6 days ago