...a lively and instructive recounting of his wanderings to the curious corners of the wine world ... A bounty of books relate the history of wine...Mr. Begos’s welcome distinction is to come at the subject as a curious journalist who makes no claim to being a wine savant. We experience his discoveries on the wine side roads as freshly as he does ... Mr. Begos shows a knack for ferreting out surprises. Who knew, for example, that Leonardo da Vinci owned a walled vineyard across the street from the Santa Maria delle Grazie church, where he painted 'The Last Supper.'
His story unfolds in a manner similar to the growth of ancient grapevines; rooted in a strong central narrative, side stories grow like tendrils, wrapping around and supporting each other, while clusters of vividly described wines emerge like ripe grapes. Anyone who is interested in wine history, viniculture, or just enjoying a glass of wine will likely find Tasting the Past a pleasurable read.
You don’t need to be an oenophile to enjoy this flavorful adventure about one wine nerd’s search for the perfect grape ... The narrative occasionally drags, but this multidisciplinary master class in the history, science, religion, and literature of wines is as luscious as a full-bodied pinot noir.
Oenophiles will raise a glass to Begos’s excellent exploration of the science and history of wine ... He helpfully finishes many chapters with lists of recommend wines. This mix of memoir and wine education guide is all-around satisfying.