The Tasting Panel magazine

Tasting Panel October 2010

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Page 84 of 96

WHAT WE’RE READING Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, by Daniel Okrent (Scribner, $30) Daniel Okrent, the first public editor of The New York Times, is an accomplished non-fiction writer. In Last Call, he puts his considerable gifts on display. The dry movement began in the end of the 19th century and gathered steam at the time of the First World War. Riding a groundswell propelled by anti-immigrant, anti-German, anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic prejudice, a minority forced its flawed views on an apathetic majority. The result was fourteen years that dramatically changed American society forever. This is a fascinating and vivid story that is well-told and carefully researched. It should be required reading for anyone whose living is related to alcohol and its marketing. The book is bursting with humorous—and horrifying—anecdotes and offers exceptional and un-romanticized insight into this surreal episode in our history. It also suggests interesting parallels between that tumultuous period and today. The only sour note in this otherwise superb achievement is a lengthy and over-wrought defense of Joseph Kennedy at the very end of the book. Nevertheless, Last Call is a must read—especially for those who are watching Boardwalk Empire. —Anthony Dias Blue Vino Argentino: An Insider’s Guide to the Wines and Wine Country of Argentina, by Laura Catena (Chronicle Books, $27.50) They don’t get any more “insider” in Argentina than last Call should be required reading for anyone whose living is related to alcohol and its marketing.” Laura Catena, whose father, Nicolas Catena, was almost single-handedly responsible for starting the Argentine wine revolution of the past two decades. Laura also has her own wine label, but more importantly, knows the country’s wine business from the vineyard soil to the dinner table. Stylishly produced and colorfully illustrated with hundreds of photos, Vino Argentino is as readable as Argentine Malbec is slurpable. The smallish format makes this hardcover a book that you should pack along if you visit Argentina—and if you care about what’s happening in wine today, you will. —David Gadd World Atlas of Whisky, by Dave Broom (Mitchell Beazley/Octopus Books USA, $34.99) As anyone might expect, Scotland occupies pride of place in this new and very essential volume from whisky expert Dave Broom. The home of the world’s most respected whiskies not only comes first, but also takes up nearly two- thirds of the volume. That’s not to say that other countries are shorted. On the contrary, there’s an entire chapter on Japan with whisky brands you’ve never heard of, much less tasted, and Broom even manages to scare up a Dutch-made rye and a Belgian single malt, among other obscure drams. Whether you sell whisk(e)y or just tipple it, this one is a must. —D. G. 101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die, by Ian Buxton (Hachette Scotland/ Headline Book Publishing, $19.95) THE TASTING PANEL’S regular Scotch Report contribu- tor has just published this challenging “bucket list” of the best drams any whisky lover should make a point of trying before hanging up his or her Tam O’Shanter for the last time. The drams—from Scotland and everywhere else whisk(e)y is made—are in alphabetical order, so pick your own way through the listings and keep your own notes; we can discuss it all someday over a pint in that great pub in the sky. (Not available officially until December, but can be pre-ordered at —D. G. 84 / the tasting panel / october 2010

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