cover image Naked Wine

Naked Wine

Alice Feiring. Da Capo, $24 (240p) ISBN 978-0-306-81953-7

With a title as loaded as that of her first book on wine authenticity (The Battle for Wine and Love), Feiring’s new offering is a treatise on the joys of wine made with nothing but grapes. It’s also a memoir of her adventure making her own chemical-free Sagrantino with an assist from the Pellegrini Family Vineyards of Sonoma, a story she first recounted in a series for the New York Times’s wine blog in 2008. Yes, the tale does include the stomping of fruit with her bare feet, but more to the point, it gives the boot to the scores of government-approved additives that are found in domestic vino. Among those, Feiring reserves a special place in hell for sulfur, listing its negative side effects, seeking out winemakers with similar angst, and at one point throwing her body in front of her fermenting brew to act as a “human shield” against a possible sulfur encroachment. Somehow, Feiring manages to pull herself away from California and fill out her book with envy-inducing trips to Europe, where she eats and drinks with an assortment of rustic farmers, vintners, and the like. And while her companions have some interesting thoughts to relate, the sugary tone of her travel writing (“Jacques made fun of my romantic musings”) at times is hard to swallow. (Oct.)