Book club: 'Noble Rot: Wine from Another Galaxy', by Dan Keeling & Mark Andrew

Millie Milliken

Millie Milliken

23 September 2020

The duo behind the famed restaurant and magazine are publishing a book which gives wine a rock ‘n’ roll spin

Not content with opening a second site during a pandemic, the duo behind Noble Rot restaurant and magazine – Dan Keeling and Mark Andrew – are publishing a book.

Wine from Another Galaxy is probably the most rock ‘n’ roll wine tome this reader has seen (not that it’s hard and no doubt a harking back to Keeling's career in the music industry) deftly curating the things that make wine great – mavericks, parties and awe-inspiring stories – while also hitting all the necessary bases.

In his foreward, Stephen Harris of the revered seaside restaurant The Sportsman in Whitstable writes: 'As you'll see in this book, they write about the wines they love and want to investigate further, rather than engage in some mutual back-scratching exercise with the industry.'

And that's just what they do. The 180-page book covers the basics for consumers (how wine is made, varieties, how to judge wine, ageing and language) as well as featuring some of the lesser-referenced regions (Tenerife and Santorini just got cooler) to keep professionals on their toes.

Perhaps some of my favourite chapters for customers in section 1 include: 'How to Order Wine in a Restaurant Without Fear' (a handy and succinct guide to navigating wine lists that can be scrolled between the sommelier dropping the list at the table and coming back to order); 'The Lexicon of Usefulness' (breaking down language around describing wine) and its 'alternative wine aroma wheel' (although I don't appreciate some of the associated female celebrity references); and 'Out of Order', which breaks down how to identify tainted wine and why it happens.

Section 2 dives into the worlds of the people and places behind the wines, with photography more akin to that of musicians' magazine profiles, and including Gloria Garriga of Els Jelipins in Penedès (Catalonia), Cornas (Rhône) and La Paulée de Meursault (Burgundy).

Smaller parts of the book provide deep dives into subjects that consumers may not find interesting, but the trade (from beginner to expert somm) most certainly will. 'Desert Island Drinks List' delves into the ins and outs of building a successful wine list; 'How to Serve Wine' gives tips on glass thickness and temperature; while 'Bottle Art' explores how aesthetic affects a wine's buyability.

Fans of the magazine will be pleased to hear that the same, zany and aesthetically pleasing illustrations pepper the book’s pages, alongside photos chronicling the guests of the restaurant, behind-the-scenes shots and the food that Noble Rot is just as famed for.

Impeccably, riotously tasteful – just as I was expecting.

£30 (29 October), Quadrille Publishing, hardiegrant.com

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