living with wine, samantha nestor & alice feiring (2009)


livingwithwineThe last book I read turned out to be a bit of a Christmas stocking filler. This one is published in time to make such a list too (and you can already buy it for a discount!), but be warned, you will need a considerably larger stocking!

This book is far too big for my bag for the trip to work and back, lucky then that there’s not that much inside to read!

This is – pure and simple – a coffee-table book, there are words, but not so many. This is a book of pictures; expensive bottles and expensive polished wood. Wine porn? Perhaps, but I see this more as an interior design book than particularly about wine, rather wine is merely the background motif:

“Scudiery admits that what he likes best about his cellar are the wines.”

Enough said? You certainly won’t learn anything about wine from this book, rather it is (15%) a commentary on how a few ‘eye-candy’ cellars came about, and the rest is the eye-candy (photos…). Actually a little of the technicalities of maintaining a cool, humid cellar in such a variety of styles would have been interesting (to me) but I suppose that was way beyond the brief of this book and likely outside of the interest of the target audience too – whoever they may be…

I don’t know Samantha Nestor (it seems she’s more a ‘Homes & Gardens‘ writer), but I might have expected more from a book connected to Alice Feiring – yet it’s not really a wine book – perhaps Alice was just a technical consultant and/or helped locate the cellar owners. To be honest, I find a number of these cellars to be the carpentry equivalent of a big red Porsche in the driveway. For me a cellar is where I store my wine, but one day, given a bottomless pit of cash and the enthusiasm of my wife, I wouldn’t be surprised to be greeted by the scent of polished redwood when looking for a bottle of Beaune!

Reference material it is not! But this book looks fine on the coffee table.

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?

There are 2 responses to “living with wine, samantha nestor & alice feiring (2009)”

  1. Ed22nd October 2009 at 12:03 pmPermalinkReply

    Best thing about a poorly organized, ramshackle cellar of plywood shelves and piled cases is finding the odd bottle you had forgotten, or thought you had consumed the last of. Wine is much better to drink than to look at.

    • billn22nd October 2009 at 12:06 pmPermalinkReply

      Ed – you are so right.
      I consider myself even more minimalist – I have no plywood – maybe that’s why some of the 6-packs piled 6 (7,8…) high are bulging a little at the bottom. I hide that by piling more in front of them! 🙂

  2. Alice Feiring22nd October 2009 at 12:51 pmPermalinkReply

    Hello Bill, Well, first off, there’s a clue to my association with the book: my name is in small print and there’s no picture of me on the jacket. So that should give you a hint that I’m a hired hand to write the profiles of the collectors and make sure the wine info is correct. For the nuts and bolts of wiring? Those books exist.

    You are absolutely correct: this is a design book.

    This book–for better or worse–is a bit of wine porn as well as provide the collector who wants a show piece wine cellar some ideas. Cascades? Cubby holes? Diamonds? Pros and cons?

    Choice of materials, jersusalem limestone? Redwood vs. oak vs. aluminium shelving? What kind of lighting? Security? Wine tracking software? Those details are there. DYI wiring and HVAC? Go elsewhere.

    I had originally thought that the splashier the design the worse the collection, but I was surprised to find some people like Scudiery who started with Parker and escaped into a fairly geeky wine palate. His quote was meant to be ironic. And in this book, there are plenty of people who love the design and the room more than the wine.

    Writing the book was fascinating, I met a ton of interesting people and it was fantastic for me to get tuned in with another part of the world. –Alice

    • billn22nd October 2009 at 1:07 pmPermalinkReply

      Hi Alice – I suspected that it would work that way – I anyway look forward to your next book!
      I guess I can’t help betraying a hint of cynicism when people build something to shine lights onto their ‘collections’ – I suppose I’m old-fashioned in that I prefer to keep my bottles in a dark place 😉
      Keep well

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