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Aaron N. Tubbs

Dragon chaser.

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Julia Flynn Siler’s The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty chronicles, well, American wine, the Mondavi family, and how we got where we are today. For a family whose life reads more or less like a soap opera, the book is plodding and tedious, sometimes chronological in organization, and sometimes thematic. While there’s a ton of stuff to cover, it seems like some things get ample treatment, some get neglected, and others are disproportionately covered (or digressed into). It’s not really a good book, but it’s a lot of important context for somebody who missed all of the drama over the last several decades. If you want to know about the Mondavi family, and get some context for where/what Charles Krug and Robert Mondavi wines are today (as well as Opus One, Continuum, and the various other luxury properties), this helps set it up, but you might need to skim a bit to keep engaged. That is, it seems the most thorough treatise on the topic and is well-researched and sourced, but it’s not particularly well written. 6/10.