The characters in Tasting the Past include a young Swiss scientist who set out to decode the DNA of every single wine grape in the world; Middle Eastern researchers who seek to discover the wines that King David drank; and a University of Pennsylvania academic who has spent decades analyzing wine remains. The science illuminates wine in ways no critic can, and demolishes some of the most sacred dogmas of the industry: well-known French grapes aren't especially noble.
We travel with Begos along the original wine routes-starting in the Caucasus Mountains, where wine was domesticated eight thousand years ago, down to Israel and across the Mediterranean to Greece, Italy, and France, and finally to America, where California and Vermont vineyards are creating new wines by letting native and European grapes breed together. It's a melting pot of new tastes and possibilities. As he samples these wines, Begos offers listeners tasting suggestions that go far beyond the endless bottles of Chardonnay and Merlot found in most stores and restaurants.
From this combination of journalism, history, science, and adventure travel, readers will learn the multicultural roots of wine while enjoying a full-bodied story with a rich, nutty bouquet and plenty of subtle nuances that will linger.
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by Ian Toll
by Ian Gardner
by John Sedgwick
by Stephen Fritz
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by David Downie
by Cory Doctorow
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"After tasting a little-known red wine while on assignment in Jordan, journalist Begos set off to find the origins of that bottle and to learn why most commercial wine is produced from only a handful of grape varieties. Narrator PJ Ochlan's pleasant, expressive delivery takes listeners on this journey, which explores wine's role in ancient history, religion, culture, and agribusiness. It also delves into wine research (for example, on genetics), experimental fermentation methods, and the effects of climate change. Ochlan's pronunciations of the many non-English words sounded believable, but he doesn't clearly distinguish between narrative and quotations or between different speakers in dialogue, occasionally tripping up listeners. Nevertheless, wine lovers will be inspired to support local winemakers and to seek out Begos's recommended vineyards. C.B.L. © AudioFile 2018, Portland, Maine"
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