‘Educating Peter’ by Lettie Teage arrived recently, for review. Yey, my second review, I thought. However before I could even say ‘cabernet’, Mark (foodie and wine-lover other half) started reading the book. So the agreed deal was: priority in reading will mean a review on ‘Educating Peter’ for Glorious Food and Wine.
The concept of this book as suggested by the title is the education of a wine novice but film expert, in this case long time Rolling Stone film critic Peter Travers through the many complexities and opinions that form the world of the wine enthusiast. The author Lettie Teague takes a firm but friendly approach to improving the knowledge of her friend beginning with the French wine regions and expanding worldwide with an emphasis on American wine. As is to be expected, the regions, grapes and producers are the main focus but the interest is held by the opportunity to learn along with Peter as he develops his own method of allying film styles to wine types. There are name drops to conversations with top personalities from the film industry which offer a good reference point and add to the entertainment even if it could be predicted that Martin Scorsese likes Chianti.
A trip through California’s Napa Valley gives the pupil an opportunity to learn about the passions and the processes involved in producing good wine. The book concludes with tests of the knowledge gained by exposure to wine auctions, sommeliers and restaurant wine lists giving an insight into both the pleasures and pretensions associated with the wine industry.
This book makes for a pleasant read for a reader with an interest in wine or film, preferably both. Whilst lacking the pace or drama to interest anyone with no interest in the subject, it does educate and entertain by allowing the reader to learn through the experiences of Peter combined with an admirable willingness on the author’s part to integrate the opinions of her pupil into the lexicon of wine.
++ Offers a good reference point by allowing the reader to identify with a pupil
— A little too heavy on American wines for non-American readers