By David Darlington
Here is the book that Frank J. Prial in the New York Times Book Review called "delightful, it weaves history, geography, wine, and some of the fascinating people who make it into a downright enthralling tale." It is the grape that has been stepped on, but never crushed. Long thought to produce workaday wines at best, the zinfandel grape has triumphed in the last decade, with stylish, sophisticated wines from the Ravenswood and Ridge wineries, among many others. In Zin, David Darlington delves into the murky and curious history of the wine and takes the story right up to the present, with portraits of the eccentric artisans who engineered the ascension of America's "native" wine. With an unerring eye for detail (a bedraggled vineyard in Sonoma County is described as looking "like a collection of fright wigs") and a gift for the on-target characterization (Sutter Home, for example, is called "the Sylvester Stallone among wineries"), Darlington has created a classic transcending its genre.