The 4th of July is coming. If you're American, that means a great deal. Me, I'll just use any old excuse to throw a fabulous dinner. Plus I've got some fireworks I'm just dying to use.
I own around 300 or 400 cookbooks but have very few books on wine. Hardly surprising I guess, but amongst those few books, one is a real gem.
It's John Saker's "How to Drink a Glass of Wine", published by Awa Press right here in Wellington back in 2005. This delightful little book is a piece of design art in itself and is the perfect lazy Sunday afternoon read.
Now we all like a glass of wine on occasion. In fact, I like at least two. It's one of life's little pleasures.
John helps explain why this 'soothing balm, this elixir of love, this forger of friendships', is one of the worlds most enigmatic beverages. The book reads like a great Roald Dahl story, taking you on a mystical journey where you learn about aromas in wine, woven in with the history of the gumboot clone we call 'Abel' that makes some of our best Pinot Noir's and why the shape of a glass can change the taste of wine.
Its got loads more great stuff too, but this isn't a book review.
John Saker himself is an interesting fellow. He began his working life as a professional basketball player, playing in New Zealand, France and the United States. In 1984 he took up a career in journalism and since 1990 has worked freelance. His features and columns have appeared in many publications, including New Zealand Listener, North & South, National Business Review and Capital Times. In 2002 he won the Cathay Pacific Travel Writing Award. He is currently wine columnist for Canvas magazine in the Weekend Herald and for BMW Magazine and Cuisine.
He's also written a fabulous book on the history of pinot noir in New Zealand. Not surprisingly, it's called "The Pinot Noir Story", published by Random House in 2010. And he wrote another gorgeous little book called 'Tracing the Arc', a reflection of his personal experiences in sport.
Like I said, he's an interesting fellow, and he tells a great story. Now I'll tell you why you have just been reading all about him:
You see, June's BYO Bordeaux Dinner was such a cyclone of a success,
I had to think really hard as to how I could top it. I've worked with John in the past and always enjoyed his great company so invited him to host an intimate dinner at the restaurant, with the choice of wines being left to him and a menu designed by myself to match.
He loved the idea and even came up with a theme for the evening. Because he's such a gifted writer I won't sub-edit his words...
"Wine Writer John Saker leads a tasting tour that celebrates our French connections. The evening takes in special moments in the history of New Zealand wine, highlighting the significant part played by the French in each of them, and accompanied by five courses of gallo-kiwi-inspired Bosley deliciousness."
Told you he was gifted writer; I especially like that last bit.
Frankly, apart from some fireworks, none of this has anything to do with American Independence Day, but then why should it; I'm fairly sure they don't celebrate Waitangi Day. I promise you though it's going to be a truly, truly special evening of wine, food and entertainment.
Then, when it's all over, I'm going to let rip with the Boom Box. I'll give you your own sparkler.
Book online here