The characters in Tasting the Past include a young Swiss scientist who set out to decode the DNA of every single wine grape in the world; Middle Eastern researchers who seek to discover the wines that King David drank; and a University of Pennsylvania academic who has spent decades analyzing wine remains. The science illuminates wine in ways no critic can, and demolishes some of the most sacred dogmas of the industry: well-known French grapes aren't especially noble.
We travel with Begos along the original wine routes-starting in the Caucasus Mountains, where wine was domesticated eight thousand years ago, down to Israel and across the Mediterranean to Greece, Italy, and France, and finally to America, where California and Vermont vineyards are creating new wines by letting native and European grapes breed together. It's a melting pot of new tastes and possibilities. As he samples these wines, Begos offers listeners tasting suggestions that go far beyond the endless bottles of Chardonnay and Merlot found in most stores and restaurants.
From this combination of journalism, history, science, and adventure travel, readers will learn the multicultural roots of wine while enjoying a full-bodied story with a rich, nutty bouquet and plenty of subtle nuances that will linger.