In the past, I have featured a number of selections by George Tabor, the author of Judgment of Paris. This week’s Literary Monday is another offering from George Tabor and this time Mr. Tabor explores the wild world of wine tourism in In Search of Bacchus. I have to admit that I am always a teensy bit jealous of Mr. Tabor. First, he was the lone representative of the press to see the ascension of the California wine industry in the famed 1976 Judgment of Paris, which pitted upstart American wineries against some of France’s famed wineries. Second, he gets to write about wine for a living (and in his A Toast to Bargain Wine, obviously gets to drink a-lot of it too). But, it was In Search of Bacchus that fueled the twinges of jealousy. Maybe jealousy isn’t the right word. Maybe, it was that I coveted his job of flying around the world, hitting wine hot spots and schmoozing with the winery owners and winemakers. Yes, I am quite certain, that is the case.
Seriously, though, In Search of Bacchus, is a guide to discovering many of the world’s finest wine regions. Mr. Tabor heads to Napa (California), South Africa, Argentina, Chili, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Germany and Georgia (the country, not the state). As one can see, Mr. Tabor hits most of the major new world and old world wine regions. In each country, Mr. Tabor focuses on a wine region. In Italy, it’s Tuscany. In France, it’s Bordeaux. In New Zealand, it’s Central Otago. For each region, Mr. Tabor describes the countryside, it’s general location (longitude and latitude – important stuff for the growing of grapes) and the history of the region. Mr. Tabor further explores the pioneers that helped establish each region and the grapes that are the mainstays of the region. Then, Mr. Tabor gets into the good stuff. He discusses the wineries that he visits, his activities (that operate in tandem with the wine countries) and sometimes a restaurant or two. After the end of each chapter, I couldn’t wait for his next country visit. I can definitely say that Mr. Tabor doesn’t lead a boring life.
In Search of Bacchus is a great book for anyone interested in wine history in far flung places and wine tourism. Also, if you are interested in blueprints for exploring various wine regions, In Search of Bacchus could be a fun, yet unorthodox, travel guide.