Terry Theise’s Reading between the Wines is not your typical wine book. It’s a short and small book that is somehow also quite dense and contemplative. It’s not, despite all appearances, a quick read.
The book reminds me of Hurn’s On Being a Photographer: A Practical Guide. Hurn’s book is a treatise on what it means to be a photographer. He explores how to be a photographer. He doesn’t teach how to use a camera or discuss equipment. He does talk about how to think about and work with a camera.
Theise’s book aims to accomplish something similar from wine. Say what you will about the author’s insistence to talk about crying, he is trying to get wine drinkers to think about the experience of wine. Far from just a thing of terroir, he tries to get one thinking about the place a wine comes from. He attacks the notion of authenticity that I first encountered in Kramer’s Making Sense of Wine, but in a much more holistic and thorough sense. He treats a lot of topics in a very philosophical way, trying to share with the reader the way he thinks about wine. He’s not forceful, but I’m left feeling that Theise does in fact understand wine at a far more unconscious level than most.
I don’t think I fully appreciated the book on my first reading. It’s something I intend to come back to in a few years, when I’ve got several hundred more bottles behind me. My objections to the book come from the author making it at times a bit too personal. This has some purpose in terms of making a connection with the reader, but I think at times it gets a bit excessive. Still, this is worth a read if you want to think seriously about wine. 8/10.