This book effortlessly combines the serious business of philosophy with the equally important subject of wine (important that is to lovers of wine!).
The book takes the form of a series of essays by both masters of wine and masters of philosophy. The essay format makes the book accessible and easy to dip into whether you are an amateur philosopher or an enthusiastic oenophile. The format also allows a wide spectrum of subjects to be covered from the philosophical question of whether taste can be objective (see the essay written by the book's editor, Barry Smith) to the science behind how the brain processes sensations of taste and smell (an admirably lucid article by Jamie Goode who is both a biochemist and a wine writer).
A perfect present for drinkers who aspire to be thinkers.
I was a little worried that this book would annoy me. I enjoy wine and don't need anyone's help to do so, but the book won me over very quickly. There are excellent essays written by philosophers, wine writers and critics, even a biochemist - all of it is accessible and interesting. (Scruton's piece is effortlessly revelatory.) Most importantly, the book manages the difficult balance between accessibility and serious philosophy. It is a genuine contribution to debates in the philosophy of mind and language, epistemology, aesthetics, perception, etc. This is no part of the dubious trend towards haphazard reflection on a piece of popular culture. Is the taste in us or in the glass? Does knowing more about a wine make it taste better? How does the brain affect how we process such a complicated set of sensory signals? Can wines be works of art? How do we rank wines and assess reputations if we are not experts? What does our talk of wine really mean? These are good philosophical questions, and the answers can change, even improve, our experience of wine.
A match made in heaven - wine and phisoplhyo, sorry hic philosophy... Who hasn't sat at dinner after a good meal and the odd glass of the , feeling mellow and philosophical, this book will be right up your street. I have given copies to wine experts and amateur enthusiasts alike and it has been warmly welcomed. Probably not for those who want just a light read - this is quite serious stuff, written well, but quite meaty - ahh, that will be a Rioja with that then...