Essay title: Reviewing Sullivan’s Study of America’s Wine
For those not familiar with the wine it is important to note that Zinfandel, according to Sullivan, was the first and most successful American wine. Typically, wines from France and Italy prove to be more superior in taste than the American counterparts. However, with Zinfandel this is not the case. Unlike aged and dry wines, the young, fruity flavor of the Zinfandel makes for a more enjoyable flavor that appeals to a greater number of people’s tastes.
Sullivan does an excellent job keeping the book enjoyable by providing readers with intriguing side notes. For example, here he tries to illustrate the extreme passion that the Californians had for Zinfandel.“So great was the Napa passion for this grape that one of the tiny railroad stations below St. Helena was renamed “Zinfandel.” By the 1880s Zinfandel Lane crossed the valley, and the steamer Zinfandel plied the bay waters between San Francisco and the wharves of Napa City.”(Sullivan, 2003)This passage is a perfect example of why this book was enjoyable for me.
However, there are times during the book where Sullivan becomes longwinded when it comes to explaining certain points. Long paragraphs embedded with, at times, insignificant graphics and charts make the book a hard and slow read. Yet, my curiosity and desire to learn helped me overcome the craving to close the book. The desire I did have to close the book may have been attributed to the amount of “wine lingo” found within the text. The excessive amount of references to other wine varieties made it extremely tiresome, as I had to repeatedly look up in dictionaries and encyclopedias the characteristics of a certain wine he was describing. I believe that a person more educated in the subject of wine would enjoy this book more than an uneducated person like me.
If a reader is not familiar with wine, the book can be quite discouraging at times. There are many sections of the book, though, where one does not need to know a large amount about wine. A large portion of the book is committed to proving the “Haraszthy myth” wrong. This myth as I mentioned in the introduction is an explanation of the history of the Zinfandel grape.
Originally most wine researchers thought that Count Agoston Haraszthy brought the grape over from Hungary when he immigrated to America in the early nineteenth century. Yet, this assumption was never proven to be true. It was merely based on the remarks of, at the time, a hurt and broken son.
Agoston’s death fell hard upon his son Arpad. After the death, Arpad was interviewed by journalists about his father’s.