Today's Sponsor
 The California Wine Club
Business Gifts become Memorable Gifts!

In This Issue
 Summer wine reading You know you're a wine "geek" if your idea of light summer reading is a really interesting wine book. Here's a fine candidate for the beach or the wine cellar.
 Chateau de la Chaize 2004 Brouilly ($15.59) Continuing our August Wine Focus on Gamay, this Cru Beaujolais offers an appealing blend of fresh berry fruit and toasty notes.
 The California Wine Club Business Gifts become Memorable Gifts!
 MoCool XVI: Sweet, Sixteen and Bubbly I hope to meet quite a few of you at this annual wine-enthusiast weekend Aug. 26 in Ann Arbor, Mich.
 This week on
In our forums, we share reports on 2001 Vacqueyras and invite you to revisit a poll topic on "worst wine trends."
Last Week's Wine Advisor Index The Wine Advisor archives.
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Story of the Wine Trade
Order Thomas Pellechia's "Wine, the 8,000 Year-Old Story of the Wine Trade" from in hardcover for $16.38, a 37 percent discount.
Summer wine reading

You know you're a wine "geek" if your idea of a good book for summer reading is not a light, frothy mystery but something that really sinks its teeth into a serious wine-related topic.

Happily, we've got a fine candidate to hold us through the dog days of August here, whether you're reading on a sunny beach or seeking cool comfort in a chilly wine cellar. "Wine, The 8,000-Year-Old Story of the Wine Trade," by Thomas Pellechia, takes a detailed but fascinating and highly readable look at the history of wine - from ancient times to the present - from the perspective of the wine trade, a point of view that portrays wine in an entirely different light than the usual consumer view.

The book-jacket introduction invites a further taste: "The grape was around long before we were, so it's hard to know who discovered wine. Yet archaeological and other discoveries indicate that when it was discovered, wine quickly became integral to the religious process. This is the story that is usually told. But when civilization began about 8,000 years ago, wine moved from being an instrument of spirituality to a linchpin of the economy. All it took was the development of trade. Thereafter, the life and death of certain cultures often depended upon wine trading. Wine may have even sparked the earliest wars."

Pellechia, a frequent participant in our WineLovers Discussion Groups, is ideally suited to this task. He's a skillful writer and experienced wine educator who boasts experience in the wine trade as both a wine maker and wine merchant. In 244 erudite but easily digestible pages, he takes us from the dawn of wine (and civilization) in the ancient Near East, through Egypt, classical Greece and Rome, through the Dark Ages and the Renaissance and on into modern times, all from the perspective of the wine trade as a business and economic force.

At the end, he takes a peek into the crystal ball and offers a few cogent thoughts about why the modern wine industry is at a point of change, and what the future might hold.

It was my pleasure to be invited to write one of Pellechia's back-jacket blurbs, which allowed me an early look at his manuscript. The published book bears out what I wrote then: "Pellechia's experience uniquely qualifies him to outline the history of the wine trade, a business that may just be the real 'world's oldest profession.'"

Thomas Pellechia's "Wine, The 8,000-Year-Old Story of the Wine Trade," is available online from in hardcover for $16.38, a 37 percent discount from its $26 book store list price:

As always, if you should choose to buy this book through this direct link, we'll earn a small commission that helps cover the costs of distributing this E-letter and maintaining

Now, for today's tasting, let's open a wine made from the Gamay grape, the featured variety in this month's "Wine Focus" topic on our WineLovers Discussion Group. Brouilly is one of the dozen or so villages within the Beaujolais region that are entitled to bear the name of the village on the label in preference to the more generic "Beaujolais," and Chateau de la Chaize is a long-term performer. This vintage, a return to more traditional form after the powerful and overripe 2003s, shows the good, refined berry fruit that typifies Gamay, along with pleasant toasty-earthy minerality that's a hallmark of Brouilly.

Chateau de la Chaize Chateau de la Chaize 2004 Brouilly ($15.59)

This Gamay from Brouilly, one of the named Beaujolais "Cru" villages, comes in a squat, rather medieval looking bottle. Light strawberry aromas add a distinct whiff of toasted white bread. Fruit is more forward on the palate, juicy red berries and a squirt of lemon, and the toasty aromas segue into a plesant earthy minerality to add flavor interest. U.S. importer: Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines, NYC. (Aug. 6, 2006)

FOOD MATCH: An offbeat match, curried summer squash soup, is just okay at first, palatable but not compelling, but the combination suddenly draws a gasp of pleasure when a sip of wine taken after a swallow of soup bursts on the palate like a perfect ripe strawberry.

VALUE: Shop around, as the local retail price I paid is very close to the high end of its range; it's available at some vendors for $10, at which price it's a much better buy.

WHEN TO DRINK: Even with the village Crus, there's never any harm in drinking Beaujolais young and fresh; if you want to try cellaring it, I wouldn't hold it much past five years post-vintage.

Chateau de la Chaize = "Sha-toe duh lah shahz"
Brouilly = "Brool-yee"

Here's a link to the importer's fact sheet about Chateau de la Chaize. You'll have to endure a quiz about your age before the site will let you in.

Find vendors and check prices for Chateau de la Chaize Brouilly on

To read and comment on today's column in our non-commercial WineLovers Discussion Group, click:

Today's article is cross-posted in our Netscape WineLovers Community, where we also welcome comments and questions.

To contact me by E-mail, write I'll respond personally to the extent that time and volume permit.

Here's a simply formatted copy of today's Wine Advisor, designed to be printed out for your scrapbook or file or downloaded to your PDA or other wireless device.

California Wine Club
Business Gifts become Memorable Gifts
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MoCool XVI: Sweet, Sixteen and Bubbly

A quick reminder that Saturday, Aug. 26 is the sixteenth annual MoCool (MoTown Cooperative OffLine) gathering.

Saluting the event's 16-year history, this year's topic is "Sweet, Sixteen and Bubbly," a three-way focus that encourages participants to bring their choice of sweet wines, sparkling wines or 16-year-old wines from the 1990 vintage to share.

MoCool is a non-profit, non-commercial venture, organized since 1992 by a volunteer group of 'net-wired wine lovers in the Ann Arbor and Detroit area of southern Michigan. The goal is a non-snobby, cooperative, affordable weekend for cyberwine fans to get together and enjoy wine, food, and each other's company. Participants bring wines to share, and are asked to contribute $45 per person to cover the actual costs of venue and food.

The primary event is a Saturday afternoon and evening picnic at a rural location near Ann Arbor. I'll be there as usual, and I hope to have the happy occasion to meet quite a few of you.

There's still time to join in. For more information, and to get on the MoCool E-mail list, visit the MoCool Home Page
or send me E-mail at

This week on

Some highlights of recent articles on that I hope you'll enjoy:

Hot topics in our WineLovers Discussion Groups
Our WineLovers' Discussion Groups are the best places online to ask wine questions and participate in the civil and intelligent discussion of good things to eat and drink. Our WineLovers Discussion Group (WLDG) is the Internet's original wine forum, a non-commercial venue intended for wine-related conversations that range from apprentice-level to wine professionals. Our WineLovers Community on the Netscape/CompuServe service is dedicated to wine education, a friendly place to get quick answers to your questions about wine, beer, spirits and all good things to drink.

Open Mike: 2001 Vacqueyras
WineLovers Discussion Group participants are getting into a new community wine-tasting project in which one enthusiast names a wine that he intends to try, and others join in by opening the same or similar wines; after tasting, all share their reports and learn a little by comparing notes on the wines. Last week's topic, 2001 Vacqueyras, prompted a number of reports on this sturdy red from one of the noteworthy villages of the Cotes-du-Rhone.

Poll: Worst wine trend?
One of our first WineLovers' Voting Booth topics, back in September 1999, invited readers to nominate the then-current wine trends that they considered worst. Today we return to this topic, curious to learn whether similar responses will prevail or if new worrisome trends have taken the fore after seven years. The more responses, the better, so please take just a moment to click to the survey form on our Netscape WineLovers Community and share your opinion:

Last Week's Wine Advisor Index

The Wine Advisor's daily edition is usually distributed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (and, for those who subscribe, the FoodLetter on Thursdays). Here's the index to last week's columns:

 Bargain Burgundy (Aug. 4, 2006)

 Gamay conditioning (Aug. 2, 2006)

 Short and sweet (July 31, 2006)

 Complete 30 Second Wine Advisor archive:

 Wine Advisor FoodLetter: The mighty tomato (Aug. 3, 2006)

 Wine Advisor Foodletter archive:

 30 Second Wine Advisor, daily or weekly (free)
 Wine Advisor FoodLetter, Thursdays (free)
 Wine Advisor Premium Edition, alternate Tuesdays ($24/year)

For all past editions, click here


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Monday, Aug. 7, 2006
Copyright 2006 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

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