Grail: A Year Ambling and Shambling Through an Oregon Vineyard in Pursuit of the Best Pinot Noir Wine in the Whole Wild World

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Take the red hills of Oregon's Willamette Valley, a father-son winemaking outfit and one madcap wordsmith on a quest for the world's finest pinot noir. Let them ferment, and you've got a charming look inside the operations at Don and Jesse Lange's winery. An abundance of words (witness the book's subtitle), run-on sentences, rhyming, alliteration and stylized dialogue all contribute to a bacchanalian use of language that reflects Portland magazine editor Doyle's joyful view on both life and wine. With the author's bubbly sense of humor and sharp storytelling, dry facts become delightful tidbits. His descriptio of the grape vines' pollination process, for instance, bursts with sexual metaphors: "the wild seething scene in the vineyard, the vines fertilizing each other madly when no one is looking, the little tiny bras, the little tiny cigarettes, the recriminations at dawn." Like the wine Doyle writes of, these recollections are layered with subtlety and depth. Doyle ranges from discussing the basic pleasures of food, drink and conversation to ruminating on spiritual concepts. Perfect for wine aficionados and word lovers, this is a full-bodied, ebullient account. (May 30) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780870710933
  • Publisher: Oregon State University Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2006
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 708,081
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A year with Oregon wine

    In this wonderful account, Doyle shares the year he spent following Don Lange and his son, Jesse, of Lange Estate Winery and Vineyards located in Dundee, Oregon. He begins his story in late fall after crush, when the vineyards become dormant, but much work remains in the winery. Doyle then traces the trials and tribulations of the Lange father-son duo as they work through the winter, spring and summer, culminating in the fall harvest when crush is in full swing again.

    Doyle's writing style lends well to the subject of wine, for he does an excellent job providing readers with useful metaphors and insightful thoughts on the larger context of grape growing and wine making. I liked his emphasis on how wine should be celebrated as part of a meal, which is in keeping with the Lange's approach to winemaking. The book is an entertaining read and very enlightening. I came away with a much deeper appreciation for estate wineries in general, as these folks are as much farmers as they are winemakers.

    "The Grail" is one of my favorite wine books because of its primary focus on the "who", while still delivering on the "what" and "where". It's a book that will take you beyond the bottle and connect you to people and places producing wine in Oregon.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2007

    Very poor writing

    I could barely make it past the first few pages, the whole book seems like a series of VERY long runon sentences. The first paragraph on page 4 is a 154 word sentence. I quickly became bored and had to explain my swirling eyeballs to my wife. I could barely read a few pages. I skipped ahead, and found this same 'style' throughout the book. I found this to be absolutely unreadable

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