Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

“Educating Peter” by Lettie Teague

By Jessica Yadegaran
Wednesday, April 11th, 2007 at 10:40 am in Uncategorized.

I went to a book launch party for Lettie Teague last night at One Market Restaurant in San Francisco. Teague is an executive editor at Food & Wine magazine. You might know her column, Wine Matters. Her new book, “Educating Peter,” is about her one-year experience of teaching her friend of a decade, Peter Travers, the film critic for “Rolling Stone,” about wine.

Peter himself couldn’t be there (kidney stone, we were told) but to an intimate group of well-wishers (I’d say 50 peeps, tops), Teague read an excerpt from the book. I’m pretty excited to read it. The jist I got is that she uses Peter’s personality — rather quirky, with a penchant for name dropping Martin (as in Scorcese) and George (as in Clooney) — to tell the tale of how an albeit smart dude who doesn’t know the difference between Merlot and Cabernet can in fact learn. And, when you’re drinking every weekend and sometimes during the week, rather quickly at that.

Peter is a critic, after all, and we learn that his “a cinematic flop, lacking plot” can easily morph into “flabby, without character or structure.” I haven’t even read it yet but I can tell you that the film metaphor is a powerful one, and may help Hitchcockians find their bottle. has a wine club for movie buffs. Indeed, it’s a winning combo.

These get-togethers are always fun, and the book launch was no exception. I ran into Alder Yarrow of, Terry Hall from Napa Valley Vintners and Mike Kohne of Rosenblum. Naturally, I also tasted some wine. I’ll tell you about the good ones tomorrow (gotta go cause I’m on deadline) but the worst wine I tasted was a fireball, a Wente Syrah made from small lots no less. Maybe it wasn’t decanted, I don’t know. I couldn’t find the small lot version on the site but the current vintage is 13.5% alcohol. This one might’ve been pushing 16. As Robert Smith says, “Hot hot hot!!” It almost singed by nose hairs.

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