First published by The International Wine and Food Society (Pitman) in 1968, this copy is from the slightly updated 1978 second edition. Compared to the last book I posted on, by Philip Youngman Carter (1966), this 190-pager by Harry Waldo Yoxall is a little more studied and less spontaneously amusing, but Harry has his nicely self-deprecating moments and like Youngman Carter before, retains the BBC grammar of a bygone age. To balance, there is more depth and in some areas considerable insight.
Harry certainly knew his stuff; he was a ‘Grand Officer de la Confrérie des Chevailiers du Tastevin’, chairman of the society responsible for publishing the book, and for 40 years was also the head of the London office of Vogue magazine and a contributor to others.
Overall, a book with some interesting areas; how to serve the wines, the question of adulteration of wines etc., broad enough in it’s coverage that it could have been an early template for the much revered book and probably still reference point in the subject by Anthony Hanson. I leave you with a few quotes:
“Halfway through the 15th century some Côte d’Or wine was evidently reaching the French court, for Louis XI praised the 1447 vintage of Volnay. (I liked the 1947)”
“This côte produces a light, fresh rosé at Marsannay, quite pleasant, if you like rosé, for picnic lunches – if you like picnic lunches.”
“My advice to the civilised tourist who is not in great hurry (and civilised people should not be in a hurry) is to keep off the main roads as much as possible.”
[Talking of Le Montrachet]“…Alexandre Dumas was inspired to declare that “it should be drunk kneeling, with ones head bared”. Personally I drink little wine with my hat on and, with my rheumaticky frame a kneeling posture would not enhance the pleasure of drinking even Le Montrachet.”