It isn't often that I recommend a book to myself, but occasionally some artifact travels through time in a manner that causes such an event. This week, it was a pretty little book entitled The Oenologic Holmes by Steve Robinson. I met Steve at the home of noteworthy Sherlockian John Stephenson, back in the 1980s, and at some point now escaping my aging memory, agreed to write an introduction to a book on Sherlock Holmes and wine Steve was working on.
I enjoyed what Steve had written then, and wrote a pleasant little introduction that also made reference to one of those embarrassing incidents that happily slips one's mind with time. And then moved on to other things and forgot all about it, not being a regular wine enthusiast, until recently when Steve let me know the book was being published at long last, and generously sent along a copy.
Having more recently developed a taste for moscatos and rieslings, I am still not what one would consider a connoisseur of fine wine, but the chance to wander back through the wines in the lives of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson always makes one feel just a little more cultured, no matter what one's level in the world of wine. And in The Oenologic Holmes, Steve does a great job of capturing not just the details of each wine the detective and the doctor encountered, but the context in which each was drunk, and what that particular wine revealed about that moment in their lives.
The best Shelockian scholarship has always enhanced Dr. Watson's writings for us, and Steve Robinson's monograph on wine does exactly that. And given the subject, it would make a fine basis for a Sherlockian evening of discussing Holmes while sampling the modern incarnations of what he drank back then. (Coppola claret, anyone?) So, having recommended this book to myself and reread it now that it's a published work, I can heartily give it another, more current, recommendation.