`Wine is alive, ageing and changing, but it's also a triumph over death. These grapes should rot. Instead they ferment. What better magic potion could there be, to convey us to the past?'
Impelled by a dual thirst, for wine and for knowledge, Nina Caplan follows the vine into the past, wandering from Champagne's ancient chalk to the mountains of Campania, via the crumbling Roman ruins that flank the river Rhone and the remote slopes of Priorat in Catalonia. She meets people whose character, stubbornness and sometimes, borderline craziness makes their wine great: an intrepid Englishman planting on rabbit-infested Downs, a glamorous eagle-chasing Spaniard and an Italian lawyer obsessed with reviving Falernian, legendary wine of the Romans. In the course of her travels, she drinks a lot and learns a lot: about dead conquerors and living wines, forgotten zealots and - in vino veritas, as Pliny said - about herself.
In this lyrical and charming book, Nina Caplan drinks in order to remember and travels in order to understand the meaning of home. This is narrative travel writing at its best.
An enchanting journey into European culture and civilisation through our love of wine
A travel journal like no other I've ever read: evocative, intelligent, beautifully written, a pilgrimage of the soul through a love of wine and the vineyards that produce it. * Elisabeth Luard * A lively journey from the vineyards of antiquity to the modern dining table. You'll savour every last drop. * Daisy Dunn * Rich and multi-layered, full of love and family, erudite and dense with fascinating detail while being as deliciously gluggable as a fine pinot noir. Intoxicating stuff. * Marina O'Loughlin * Nina Caplan and I share a family tree; I had no idea, until I read this marvellous book, that it was a vine. I am drunk with her passionate knowledge * Maureen Lipman *
Nina Caplan is an arts, wine and travel journalist. She is the wine columnist of the New Statesman and also writes for The Times, Decanter, Conde Nast Traveller and others. She has been awarded the Louis Roederer International Food and Wine Writer of the Year, Louis Roederer International Columnist of the Year and Fortnum & Mason Drink Writer of the Year. In the past, Nina has been employed by publications including the Guardian and Time Out, but these days she wanders too much to remain deskbound. She lives in London and Burgundy.