A Sparkling Personal Tale of Wine and Self

sparklingGlassThere is something very idiosyncratic about Andrea Frost’s new book, “Through a Sparkling Glass”. It’s not like most wine books, yet has a structure many who imbibe in wine literature will recognize instantly.

Subtitled “An A-Z of the Wonderland of Wine”, the new issue from Hardy Grant Books is nominally an encyclopedia of wine terms (or at least terms related to wine). Frost’s short sections on topics such as Gruner Veltliner, Old World-New World, Scores, Decanting and other familiar terms are given space along side other subjects such as Family Trees, Gluttony, Music, Shouts, Stories and other un-wine topics.

What we have here is clearly a vehicle for the author to explore personal and universal themes disguised as a wine book. And it works quite well.

Frost is an accomplished wine voice. This is clear from her position in Australia as contributor and author at various outlets as well as from her New Ruby Press blog (though she’s not been writing there much these days) and from her victory at the 2012 Born Digital Wine Awards where her “The Invention of Wine” was honored with the “Best Editorial Writing” award (the very clever essay concerning God’s decision to invent wine is reproduced in this new book).

Still, “Through A Sparkling Glass” is much less about wine than it is Frost’s view of and experience with the entire world around her. Consider the first of the three paragraphs she devotes to the subject of Gewurztraminer:

“Appropriateness and I have a chequered relationship, especially when it comes to wearing the right outfit at the right time. Of course I’ll behave and shine at a wedding in whatever costume the bride prescribes but, at ;ess directed events, I like to choose outfits according to how I feel or where I wish I was, not where I actually am. As a result, I have been known to dress up and down at all the wrong times; for a safari when heels and sequins in order, or for a night on the town at a small person’s christening. It just makes me feel a little bit special.”

This all in the service of the notion that Gewurztraminer also tends to “over dress”. Cleaver. But more revealing about Ms. Frost than the variety.

I closed the cover on  “Through A Sparkling Glass” and felt entirely satisfied. In the end it was Frosts easy, engaging and thoughtful writing style that reminded me a great deal of the great Sarah Vowell. Pick up this new book for a very enjoyable read. You’ll get your dose of wine, but you get much more of Ms. Frost. And that’s a good thing too.

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