Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A review of Nose

From the Pennsylvania Vine Co.

Nose: Quaffable Fiction

by Mike Madaio nose-james-conaway
This post is part of our ongoing series on wine reads.
Wine books that come across the PAVC desk tend to be somewhat academic – either a reference guide, a historical account, or perhaps a collection of essays about different wine topics. Though some read like novels (e.g. The House of Mondavi), almost all are non-fiction. As such, it was with great interest that we cracked open Nose, a recently-released novel by James Conaway, set in a fictitious wine-making valley of California that bears a striking resemblance to Napa.
Conaway does bring non-fiction wine writing experience to the table, with bestseller Napa: The Story of an American Eden and follow-up The Far Side of Eden, both of which dig into the real-life US winemaking capital. With Nose, however, he takes a decidedly more casual tone, playfully mocking the politics and personalities of the valley and the soap operas their lives often become.
The story’s MacGuffin is the delivery of a mysterious, unlabeled bottle to Clyde Craven-Jones (aka “CJ”), the world’s foremost wine critic, whose unabashed love of big, bold wines has reverberated throughout the wine world and inspired many wines aimed at his palate. (Sound familiar? He also publishes a paper newsletter.) This mystery wine is the first ever American wine to receive a 20-point score (the best possible), but CJ doesn’t know who made it. The ensuing quest to identify said wine, led by protagonist and valley newcomer Lester Breeden, weaves its way in and out of the lives of the biggest characters in the valley.
Much like CJ’s preferred quaff, this book is made for easy consumption.



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