...a wonderfully engaging memoir of both her father, Clifton Fadiman, and of what it was like to grow up in a highly bookish and privileged household ... By recording both her past experiences and her current thoughts about those experiences, she keeps The Wine Lover’s Daughter consistently absorbing and, once begun, you will be hard-pressed to stop reading, even though the book should probably be savored like a grand cru rather than guzzled down like cheap beer. Either way, though, you’re in for a good time ... Anne Fadiman’s prose, like a proper gentleman’s suit, is beautifully tailored without drawing attention to itself ... [a] clear-eyed and loving memoir.
...a deliciously rich, well-balanced portrait ... But Fadiman’s memoir uncorks much more than a remembrance of drinks past or a daughter’s filial intoxication. By allowing her memories to ripen over the many years since her father’s death in 1999, the result is a superbly evolved, less tannic pour ... like her father, Fadiman has that rare ability to wear her erudition lightly. And what he said about wine also applies to The Wine Lover’s Daughter: it is a delectable ode to cultivation and civilization.
...an illuminating and nuanced case study in connoisseurship that probes the dazzling hedonism and gnawing anxieties that fuel an obsession with fermented grape juice ... Fadiman, a gifted writer with an instinct for brilliant detail, conveys the blissful suspense of uncorking a new bottle when she writes, with characteristic feeling, that when her father first tasted a wine, 'one could feel the entire world aligning with his aspirations.' She also teases out the darker desires behind oenophiles’ thirst, and investigates their psychology with an honesty that can be rare among wine lovers themselves ... Yet The Wine Lover’s Daughter occasionally feels short on another quality that drew Clifton to his prized French reds: acid, the sourness that adds complexity to both wine and life.