Book review: Boon Doon So Long

Been Doon So Long

Randall Grahm, the owlish sage of Bonny Doon, is a river of words, a brain-numbing cascade of clunking puns.

When does he take time out from making some of the New World's most elegant and longest-lived Rhône blends? When does he stop to write a 60-page pastiche of Dante's Inferno (the Vinferno)? And not just Dante. Joyce (Cheninagin's Wake), Eliot (J Alfred Rootstock), and dozens more slabs of tiny, migraine-inducing type.

He's read a lot, and wants us to know this. In which case, shouldn't it be spelt Cheninigans Wake, without an apostrophe? And shouldn't Rhône authority John Livingstone-Learmonth's name be spelled correctly?

Among the verbiage there's good stuff, disquisitions on labels, the difference between the Continental and the Mediterranean as marked by the 45th parallel: butter vs olive oil, herrings vs anchovies, Bergman vs Fellini and so on.

And a couple of good jokes - Ten Ways to Know You've Met a Wine Geek is a laugh. But hang on: the geek ‘will stun you with a dizzying display of serial name dropping'. Randall, you've name-checked almost everyone here. I do hope you're being ironic.

Boon Doon So Long is published by the University of California Press