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The Accidental Connoisseur: An Irreverent Journey Through the Wine World [Paperback]

Lawrence Osborne , Osborne
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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The Accidental Connoisseur: An Irreverent Journey Through the Wine World + The Wet and the Dry: A Drinker's Journey
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Product details

  • Paperback: 262 pages
  • Publisher: North Point Press; First Paperback Edition edition (14 Feb 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865477124
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865477124
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.9 x 20.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 833,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


A wine expert takes readers on a tour of the farmers, vineyards, technology, journalism, consumer trends, and trade wars that make the wine business what it is today, introducing the obsessives and eccentrics who populate the industry. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tongue in cheek wine journey 4 Aug 2004
By A Customer
As a voracious reader of wine books, this is one of the finest I have read. The author takes us on a tour of wine regions, meeting wine-makers, critics, drinkers - he is obviously an expert but plays to his audience which makes this a humourous and intelligent read. I read it in one sitting and will read it again soon.
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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  26 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Accidental Connoisseur - A Travel Memoir about the Wine World - Worth a Read! 29 Jan 2008
By Mark - Published on Amazon.com
This book is really a travel memoir about one man's journey into the wine world, and not necessarily a "wine book." Understand that and you can get a lot of pleasure out of this one. For those who love tongue-in-cheek humor, it's also worth a few laughs.

I'm a reader, but also a wine enthusiast. I don't drink wine often, but I try to read up and stay informed. Imagine my surprise when I was given this book as a gift. You see, I am familiar with Lawrence Osborne's fiction, having read his first novel years ago. Ania Malina (King Penguin) But I had no idea that he wrote about wine.

First and foremost, Mr. Osborne is a very accomplished writer. His fiction has somehow flown under the radar in the states. The flowery writing style he uses in this book differs from his fiction and brings more of his own "voice" to the memoir. While he can be a little wordy, he comes across more as genuine and not at all pompous. He is very honest and openly admits the gaps in his wine knowledge. Yes, he does take a few sarcastic jabs at some of the wine makers, but he does so respectfully. Clearly, he simply disagrees with some of the places the wine world is going, with $1000 bottles and ivory tower ratings.

The book takes you through a dozen or so excursions to wineries in California, Italy and France. By the end of the book, the writer seems tired of the wine world and is comfortable just to enjoy wine for what it is.

- This book is not for those seeking wine education. It is a great travel journal about one man's quest to scratch the surface of the wine culture.
- The author's random insertions of historical background throughout his travels seemed at times to be out of place or overdone. It is informative and I definitely learned. A little rearranging and some more edits would have made it better for me.
- I can see how some would criticize the lack of a traditional climax. This memoir still made sense to me as a real experience. I disagreed with some of the author's ideas, but in the end, the author's perspective comes across as genuine.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and plan to read it again in the future. I only wonder why 4 years have passed since the author's last book. I hope you'll give this one a try.

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An irreverent and humorous approach to wine 20 July 2005
By Lyne Noella - Published on Amazon.com
This book is easy to read--a common-sense book that looks at the puffery of the wine scene. I bought additional copies and gave them to a couple of wine-loving friends. Wish I could read a book of this caliber each month.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem of a book 15 Jun 2005
By pairinghound - Published on Amazon.com
Under the quixotic travelogue disguise lurks a gently insightful, open minded and intelligent assessment of how we think about wine. For those who care about wine, this is a gem of a book.
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What inspired the raves? 29 Sep 2004
By Joseph R. Lentini III - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was disappointed in this book, given some of the rave reviews it has received. I was looking for an entertaining book about enjoying wine. I enjoyed Bacchus & Me more, and I'm enjoying Noble Rot far more, and learning a lot more, too.

In some ways, this book plods along as the author goes from interview to interview asking what winemakers and personalities think of terroir... Do they believe in it? Does their wine exhibit it? Should we care about it? But none of the answers really go anywhere and the author never seems to draw a conclusion.

Like another reviewer, I felt like the author was showing off his vocabulary. I wish he had shown it off whenever one of his interviewees asked him for his opinion about a wine. His response seemed to be endlessly that he kept his mouth shut and waited to hear what he should be thinking about it.

Because the book focuses on ruminations about terroir... It lacks what could be entertaining or interesting stories about where he is... or adventures I could get absorbed in. Brief descriptions of the architecture and how it matched or didn't match the wines, and descriptions of how he got drunk then drove away (deplorable) weren't doing it for me. I wish the author had described how he arranged these tastings, too.

When the author moves to Italy, the storytelling improves, and in fact, the authors final stop in Southern Italy to visit an older British woman is quite memorable. The last couple of paragraphs were wonderful and earned an extra star for what was otherwise a dry book about wine.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smart, witty look at the world of wine 24 Feb 2006
By B. M. Howard - Published on Amazon.com
This was recommended to me by a former sommelier, and with good reason--this is a book about the way wine should be in the larger scheme of things. Think beyond Kendell-Jackson Chardonnay and Yellow Tail Shiraz. Wine reflects a time and place, not sugar craving. Osborne is a terrific writer, but not a wine expert, and that's exactly what makes this book so engaging. Highly recommended.
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