This is a fun little book released in time for Christmas, no doubt with a view to being a present and gift. However, it’ll be a neat and inexpensive present any time of the year and for any occasion. It is a brief little tome that is the collaboration of illustrator Scott Kennedy, whose work appears in books, magazines and newspapers in New Zealand as well as overseas and John Saker a writer, well-known for his contribution to Cuisine magazine, and as author of two wine books. And it’s a collaboration that has worked very well. The book works through each letter of the alphabet highlighting a word with a vinous connection, and each entry is accompanied by a drawing.
Clever is an apt description of the words and the art. For each subject, John Saker has provided an upfront description or meaning for the word, but he also manages to add in a more sophisticated aside and injected a sense of humour with the use of puns. The book’s title sets the theme. Thus a total novice as well as a knowledgeable wine enthusiast is catered for, and amused. Scott’s art work is equally clever. His characterful drawings are washed in full colour, but only to highlight rather than to fill out. There’s a sense of texture, and they connect extremely well with the words on both the simple and sophisticated level. There’s clearly a bond and similarity of thinking in both Scott and John’s approach and execution.