The pleasures of drinking wine are many and delightful. But what about wine writing and wine reading? From the earliest periods of recorded history, writers have tried to capture in prose and poetry the sensations and experiences provoked by the wines they consumed. Some write with elegance, some with scientific accuracy, and others with bawdy humor. Writers from Horace to Hemingway have tried to describe how wine tastes and inspires, with images as varied (and sometimes as confusing) as the wines themselves.
In this lecture, Jerrold Mitchell, partner at the investment firm of Saltonstall & Co., emeritus trustee of the Boston Athenæum, and a book collector for more than half a century, explains how wine books have come to form a genre that almost defies cataloging, ranging from the useful tasting notes of a professional and the biographical confessions of a winemaker to the claims of a physician that the beverage cures all known ills.
Mitchell will explore mystery books with vineyard murders and vinous poisonings, pop up and crayoning wine books for children, coffee table books with photographs of ripening grape varieties and smiling migrant workers, wine books with nothing but chemical formulae, and wine books with nothing but cartoons and jokes. He will describe how he came to collect wine books and will read from some of his favorite wine writers.