I was recommended W. Scott Richards new book Wines, Vines and Things by Floyd Oslin over at Caret Cellars. A quick read, this book is perfect for the bedside table, the pool, public transit, or for casual sitting in front of the T.V. Richards bounces around topics related to wines (including recipes, food pairings, the wine industry, and more), vines (with a look at vineyards in Virginia today and more on the industry), and “things” (ranging from a 3-legged pig and cars to restaurant and winery reviews). His book is a compilation of his writings from over the years. Naturally, my favorites were the Virginia wine stories, particularly under the “Wines” and “Vines” topics. Some of the articles were serious reviews and community connections, while others were more poetic or comical.
Personally, I liked that I could picture many of the stories because I was familiar with their locations. Growing up in Stafford and currently living in Tappahannock, Virginia, I recognized many of the Virginia wineries, sites and cities mentioned. I got excited reading about the Virginia Oyster Trail, a great pairing with many of the wines from the Northern Neck. Reading about our new favorite winery, Caret Cellars, was another pleasant surprise and something I was excited for (though I am still bummed I missed their barrel tasting and book signing with Richards.) After reading about Hartwood Winery, we went to visit only a couple of days after I finished the book and had a great experience.
Some of my personal side-notes on the stories told…
- I am going to have to try the Gluhwein recipe Richards gave. A blend of orange juice, sugar, spices and wine – tis’ the season for this warm-up drink!
- Thank you Richards for noting the health-benefits of wine – my not so guilty pleasure! Cheers to happy hearts, happy stomachs, and happy lives.
- I noticed a lot of the summer time stories focused on the grill and BBQ wine-pairings. I really like the recommendations on what foods to pair with what wines (not only Virginia wines, but wines from other regions of the world.)
- Another recipe I must try is the fish and chips recipe, creole style. YUM.
- The three legged pig… enough said.
If you are looking for a light, easy, fun read, I recommend picking up Richards’ book. The stories were great for a stop-and-go read and browsing through. You could read this book in one sitting or take your time and read story by story. Some of the stories were educational, including a brief history of Virginia wine. Others included great food and wine recommendations to encourage the reader to expand out of their comfort zones and try something new.
A fun compilation of stories and reviews, discover something new or find a good laugh. Cheers to the growing Virginia wine industry!