Format: Ebook

ISBN: 9781913141332

Publication Date: 8 November, 2022

Drinking with the Valkyries – eBook

Writings On Wine

Andrew Jefford


Other Editions Available:


‘The greatest living wine writer in my opinion … more than a writer, Jefford may well be the most profound wine thinker’
Karen MacNeil

‘I open Jefford’s books to skim through and find myself drawn in.’
Victoria Moore, The Telegraph

‘A tumble of short stories, it reveals the kaleidoscope landscape of a staggeringly beautiful, complex mind, reflecting a staggeringly beautiful, complex world.’
Tamlyn Currin,

‘A new sort of literary gumption arrived on the scene with Andrew Jefford: a powerful blend of science and poetry.’
Hugh Johnson

‘It’s not wine writing. It’s writing.’
Jay McInerney

‘Jefford is that rare thing in the wine world, a genuine intellectual. … There are more ideas in each of these short essays than in most books.’
Henry Jeffreys, The Critic



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Andrew Jefford is, in the words of winemaker Randall Grahm, ‘the most thoughtful person we have writing about wine’. Discover why in this selection from Jefford’s work, celebrating the limitless beauty of wine difference. This book anatomizes the pleasure that awaits every drinker while simultaneously furnishing a philosophy of wine – one founded on astonishment, and drawing on personal discovery rather than hierarchy and mastery. There is no other wine writing like this.

Poet, philosopher, author, radio presenter and journalist, Andrew lives in France; but buried deep in one wine country what does he miss most about the rest? The answer: ‘Drinking young port. It’s the wine drinker’s equivalent of zorbing, wing-walking, base-jumping … you won’t fully understand it unless you have tasted it young, in its “Ride of the Valkyries” stage, when it comes hurtling out of the glass and puts the screamers on you…’

Andrew Jefford is the ideal companion for anyone wine-curious. In this collection of his essays, opinions and articles he shares his fascinating observations from half a century of discovery. For Andrew, wine should be listened to and admired, wherever it comes from; old-school pretentions turned on their head; style-points disdained; stellar prices dismissed; questions asked…

• Which is wine’s greater friend: the villainous Mistral or the blue Mediterranean?
• Chablis shivers (undoubtedly) but does it really taste of stone?
• Merlot: take a single grape like this and you can make wines ‘as soft as a trembling jellyfish’ or as ‘resolute as a guardsman’: how can this happen?
• Do the factors affecting wine flavour influence anything else in our lives? Like tea, cheese, lentils or roses? Or violins?
• Has wine been around longer than man?
• The tragedy of wine’s transactional destiny: is expensive wine really the best?
• Making wine strange again: should true wine lovers find astonishment in every new glass?
• A life’s work: wine is a representation of the world’s intricacy and beauty, but why choose it for a career?
• Lessons from the laureate: winemakers and novelists – as harnessers of emotional force, are they the same?



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Andrew Jefford was born in Gloucestershire but grew up beneath the wide skies of Norfolk. Having discovered the pleasures of wine in his early teens, he learned more about it by making it – from carrots, apples, nettles, elderflowers … and grape-juice concentrate. The quiet plop-plop-plop of fermenting wine in air-locked demi-johns tissued the night silence of the family home, while the finished wines (swallowed with a grimace) contributed to mealtime merriment.

After study at the Universities of Reading and East Anglia, he worked first in publishing as an editor and then, from 1988, as a wine writer, taster, educator, tour guide and occasional radio presenter (on BBC Radio 4). He has written for many British newspapers, notably The Evening Standard and The Financial Times, and continues to contribute columns to Decanter and The World of Fine Wine; he also acts a co-chair for the Decanter World Wine Awards and as academic advisor to The Wine Scholar Guild. His books include The New France (2002), Andrew Jefford’s Wine Course (2016) and Whisky Island (2019), a book about the Hebridean island of Islay. He has also published poems in The Spectator and The Independent. Andrew and his family moved to Australia in 2009 and to France in 2010, where they still live. He enjoys music and walking, but no longer makes his own wine.