Libation, A Bitter Alchemy
3.5 out of 5: In this collection of linked essays, Deirdre Heekin describes her growing appreciation for wine and the land from which it comes. Her musings range from her travels to the small winemaking villages in Italy to her life at home in Vermont where she and her husband own and manage an Italian restaurant that uses locally grown ingredients. In her own words, Heekin describes Libation as a book “about soil, vines, fruit, history, scent, taste, chemistry, and memory.”
The breadth of the topics covered—from high-end perfumery in Paris to a casual family meal in Tuscany—ensures something to interest just about any reader. The lack of a central focus, however, renders Libation a bit disjointed. Heekin is knowledgeable and passionate about the subjects she discusses. Her writing is mostly charming but occasionally overloaded with technical detail. Winemakers and restaurateurs will appreciate the rigorous treatment, but armchair tourists will be left wanting more whimsy and less technique.