Vintage France

Vintage France

4.8 5
by James E. Tanner
It is heartwarming for an American expatriate who has lived in France for over thirty years to read a book which absolutely shines with love and appreciation for France. Tanner has discovered the most elusive yet lasting pleasure: a second home in a "foreign land".

There are gentle tidbits of history in his story. He stands in a thousand year old cathedral and


It is heartwarming for an American expatriate who has lived in France for over thirty years to read a book which absolutely shines with love and appreciation for France. Tanner has discovered the most elusive yet lasting pleasure: a second home in a "foreign land".

There are gentle tidbits of history in his story. He stands in a thousand year old cathedral and reflects on kings and bullet holes. He had an eye for landscape; his first sight of the famous hill of Corton Charlemagne moves him deeply. He has a diarist’s sense of detail especially when describing the sumptuous meals he shares with his wife and friends in France’s gastronomic and viticultural capitals.

The major part of Vintage France occurs in Burgundy, an aristocratic yet fundamentally rural region that produces many of the world’s best wines. It is here that Tanner hangs up his hat and becomes close to several families. He harvests grapes, visits vineyards and cellars, and weaves himself into the daily life of Frenchmen and Frenchwomen who have fully adopted this gregarious stranger.

Required reading not only for first time visitors to France, but for all those who are gentle adventurers.

—Becky Wasserman Hone

Editorial Reviews

Armchair France
Vintage France: Adventures Along the Wine Route is the debut book of Jim Tanner, an American who brings us along on his explorations. Great armchair book for franco- and oenophiles.
France Today
With a love for French wine that borders on fanaticism, Tanner takes us across the vast countryside in his rented silver Volvo, as he chronicles his travels in France's varied and bountiful wine regions. Smitten with Burgundy, he settles down, becomes an active part of the community and lovingly details his days spent in sun-drenched vineyards harvesting grapes and later enjoying the fruits of his labor.
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Tanner's account of his free-spirited travels through France's wine regions reads like a diary. There's a certain candor to it that draws you into the poorly marked rural roads of the French countryside and smoky Burgundian cafes. Tanner tends to gush like a boy in love, but that's understandable. "Vintage France" isn't so much a critical work as it is the story of a Midwesterner who dove into France with an appreciation of fine wine and an open mind and found, much to his surprise, the warm embrace of genuine friendship.
Journal Francais
Jim Tanner, président d’un club d’œnologie dans le Minnesota, vient avec sa femme pour la première fois en France, sur la race des vins les plus célèbres: parcourant la Champagne, l’Alsace, la Bourgogne, la Gironde et Paris, ils dégustent de grands crus, mais, surtout, ils découvrent la France et ses habitants. Ce sont ces personnes, avec qui l’auteur a ri, pleuré, joué et même travaillé, qui rendent l’âme de la France vivante pour le lecteur.

C’est donc l’histoire de ce voyage que Jim Tanner raconte, avec force détails qui plongent le lecteur dans cette France des rands vins. L’auteur ne s’arrête pas à la gastronomie cependant, et en véritable écrivain-voyageur il narre son émerveillement face aux paysages et à l’architecture.

Dans ce témoignage débordant d’amitié pour la France, Jim Tanner écrit: «Je comprends maintenant ce que Benjamin Franklin voulait dire quand il disait que chacun a deux pays – son propre pays et la France.»

Ainsi en est-il de lui.
Midwest Book Review
Expressing delight in French cuisine, wines, and classic culture, and with an exquisite eye for narrative detail, Vintage France is in many ways a kind of reading tour of the remarkable aspects the wine culture of this proud, flavorful, and inviting nation from village vineyards to festivals, to simple hospitality.

Product Details

iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.47(d)

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Vintage France 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
O.Bergman More than 1 year ago
This is an unusual wine book. Unusual in the sense that it's neither full of facts, figures and tasting notes, nor is it one of those glossy coffee table books with little to add to the subject. Instead Tanner focuses on the spirit and the people behind the wine. His first encounter with rural France is shared with warmth and humour. This is not a book for label-collectors, this is a book for for those who believe that good wine should be accompanied by good food and good friends. Highly recommended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Vintage France is the personal travelogue of JamesTanner- a rare breed- an adventurer who plans but leaves room for serendipity. A good role model for anyone thinking of traveling in France or almost anywhere in Europe. He shows that planning opens the door to wonderful people and experiences and demonstrates the politeness of travel as opposed to tourism. He also shows how to take advantage of opportunities or complications as they develop. Few travelers can know exactly what to expect, especially given weather, small town calendars, transportation and communication issues. See the book review on the back cover of the book- it may be copied here or a publishers website. That review is accurate and comprehensive. Jim Tanner has reached two audiences. The first is the future traveler who has yet to comprehend the veracity of accounts of futilely looking for a location across a small town (with a map and directions) and not finding it for hours or having the small hotel owner surprise you with a basket of bread, cheese and wine for your day trip into the country. The second is the seasoned traveler who nods in knowing appreciation about an account of scurrying across the countryside wondering if the clock is motorized- how could a two hour lunch result in such a loss of time ??? or of a winemaker sharing his special reserve wine in the cellar. Most travelers confirm the friendliness of the French either in Paris or in the countryside. The key seems to be that expecting too much, too fast or visiting during the peak vacation season invites harshness. While we enviously look forward to Bordeaux and Burgundy travel ourselves, experiences in Paris, Provence and Italy confirm the tone and tenor of stories. Rest assured these people, friendships and experiences are not exaggerated. Firsthand observations are quite different than media portrayals. The structure and body of the book resemble several travelogues and differ from classic storytelling. A combination of uneven pace and eager digression seems common to these works and only enhance the charm of the stories. Thankfully the author is descriptive and has a broad overview as a basis for taking on the rigors of writing. At the same time his naivete upon first seeing some of the famous sites of Europe or winemaking is common. It would be easy to expand any one of the events of the book, but that is typical of all travelogue writing. Jim¿s enthusiasm and rapture are infectious. His thoughtfulness and awareness of the situation often ease whatever diffuculty could develop. Naturally, he reports there Are times when he is painfully unaware of something and is guided by his companions. Those of us who lead clients to food and wine cooking tours of Europe appreciate any time someone takes the trouble to help educate or remind people of the glorious possibilities a trip can provide. Thank you, Jim. Bon voyage, gentle reader.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I don't know much about wine, but I know what I like when my wife and I add this to a fine dinner. And, I don't know much about France and I have never been there. But Jim Tanner makes both come alive in his vivid descriptions of the country and its people and the fine art of wine-making. There is also a taste of history, the fine arts, religion, and the joys of traveling to and in unknown places. He is an excellent writer, who paints word pictures with witt and charm. He should be hired by the Tourist Bureau of France. By the time one puts this book down one wants to go there to see for oneself if all he says is true. And, if your wine supply is low, a trip to the winestore is in order.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I met Jim Tanner several months before his book was published. He impressed me as an interesting person who seemed to have found a good balance in his life. Jim was friendly and gracious. No big ego or unrealistic expectations about life would hamper his ability to spot an opportunity. He mentioned rather casually that he had an experience traveling in Europe that transformed his life. Being full of very fond memories of my own recent trips to France and Italy, I asked him to, ¿say more.¿ As he spoke, my jaw figuratively fell open and I was spell bound as he reminisced about several encounters in France. When I told him he ought to write a book, he admitted that he was finishing one at the urging of friends. None too soon I learned Jim¿s book was finished and available. I teasingly told him I¿d buy a copy and wanted him to autograph it. A few days after the book arrived I thought I¿d just glance through it. Frankly, I thought it couldn¿t possibly be as good as Frances Mayes' wonderful books on her Tuscany experiences, but Jim¿s quiet elegance I found to be superior. The book is lovely, gentle and beguiling. I eagerly recommend it to seasoned travelers, wine and food connoisseurs, or story lovers. But, even if you have never traveled far from home, don¿t know your Merlot from Budweiser, or only find your entertainment on a big screen, this book will offer very pleasant reading. I was transfixed. This time, reading about his journey, it was my mind that fell open. I was opened to the wonderful images he put before me. Images of people, places, and relationships and feelings all were drawn in a way for even an experienced traveler to enjoy. The book tells a story about a life transforming experience. It starts with learning that a stranger has finally experienced something many people have experienced over the years. Aha, Jim made it to France! But, as you read more about Jim and Liz, you come to realize that he has shared this part of his life¿s journey with you. You witness the process. Jim learned something I did not and could not have known before. He found his France and willingly offered it to me. The sharing of the trip was complete; not just the places and events, but the heart of this unassuming man was offered to his new French friends, and to me. Through his trip abroad he found his home, and shared that process in this little book. It enabled me, years later, to appreciate my own journey to France in a new way. That is a gift for which I am grateful. Betsy Marvin, JD October 21, 2002
Guest More than 1 year ago
What makes VINTAGE FRANCE so unique is the author's ability to take you right into the pages of his book, making you feel like you are right there with him by his side. Mr. Tanner takes you with him on his travels through the countryside of France, tasting the wines along the way and introducing you to the incredibly gracious French people he has not only gotten to know, but love. From the descriptions of his explorations of the tiny wine villages, to the astonishing way his palate finds the incredible flavors of France, Tanner paints a picture of France that literally takes you there. The French people he and his wife encounter and befriend are so gracious you want to pack your bags and leave immediatelyl for France. This is an extraordinary insight into the lives of two Americans who have traveled to, and been embraced by, France. It is a unique opportunity not only to learn about the wines but to get to know the people of the regions they were visiting, especially Burgundy. VINTAGE FRANCE is nearly impossible to put down once you begin it. Planning a trip to the wine country of France with my husband, this book gave us such an insight into the land, the people and the great wines of France that we felt we had already been there - and already had friends there. This book was exactly what we needed to help us better understand the journey we were about to take.