By Jay McInerney
Alfred A. Knopf, $26.95, 284 pages
If you are a wine connoisseur or you are simply seriously enthusiastic about wines, Jay McInerney’s The Juice will be a delight to read. He is a good writer and his fifty-five essays will entertain you for fifty-five days—provided you can control yourself. The essays are mainly short, a few pages long, are well written and full of stories but all related to wines in some way. McInerney weaves many of his personal life stories and anecdotes throughout these pages. He divides the essays into six chapters and a longer epilogue. The essays range from such relatively simple topics as Santa Margherita’s Pinot Grigio and California Pinot Noir to more complex such as biodynamics, a system of organic agriculture as applied to vineyards. He travels the globe to wherever viticulture is rooted, from California’s Paso Robles to the Sauvignon Blanc’s of New Zealand and, of course, all the fabled wine regions of Western Europe. The book has no illustrations and it almost feels like a textbook yet, with the short essays, it is an easy read. An unfortunate omission is an index. Having odd essay titles, you will have a hard time finding a previously read piece.