29 March, 2010
Randall Graham. The literary provacateur! The winemaker! The auto-oeno-eroticist!?
Randall Graham, owner of Bonny Doon Winery, has been touring the country touting his new book “Been Doon So Long. A Randall Graham Vinthology.” I recently attended one of the stops of his so-called “Bataan Death March”, put on by the San Francisco Mechanic’s Library, in which we got a sneak peek of the book and Randall’s unexpected literary abilities. Indeed, Randall calls himself a provocateur, punster, philosopher and winemaker (of course.)
“Been Doon So Long” is a compendium of Randall’s literary parodies and fictions plus some serious essays on winemaking. He describes the book as the telling of his journey as a winemaker moving from the making of "vin d’effort" to the making of “vin de terroir”. "Vin d’effort" refers to wine that is totally controlled and created by the whims of the winemaker. “Vin de Terroir ” is the wine that expresses the place it comes from which includes the effects of the soil, climate and location. As he tells it, Randall has now become more of the maker of vin de terroir, letting nature take its course in the magic of the making of wine.
That night we were blessed by Randall’s reading of two of his incomparable parodies. “Trotanoy’s Complaint” is the exploration of a neurotic/erotic wine obsession a la Phillip Roth’s "Portnoy’s Complaint." (And yes, it all began with his Jewish mother’s dusty corkscrew…) This parody is where I found the “auto-oeno-eroticist” part of the title. I love thinking about what that might just mean. Hmmmm...
“The Lovesong of J. Alfred Rootstalk” is a take-off of Thomas Elliot’s “The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock.” Simply put it is the lament of the winemaker’s dilemma of who to make wine for: the critics, the people or himself.
For an excerpt of the book go here: http://www.beendoonsolong.com/book/excerpt/
I say read this book and get tangled up in Randall’s provocative prose, thoughts, and off-beat humour. And be sure to enjoy it with a bottle of the 2006 Le Posseur Central Coast Syrah. Makes it even better…
RG NEWS ALERT: “Been Doon So Long” was just nominated for the 2010 James Beard Book Award in the Beverage Category (winners announced in May). Not only that, Randall was also inducted into the Vintner's Hall of Fame. Kudos to you Randall and your justly deserved accolades. Life must be good!
We got to taste this food-friendly Central Coast Syrah. Under 14% alcohol.
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He seems like a very interesting man! I had a chance to check out his website https://www.bonnydoonvineyard.com/ all the way from sunny South Africa and thought it was very innovative :)
Great blog. Hope to see you girls in SA some time soon.
Thanks for reading Jen! Looking forward to learning more about SA wines some day...
Bonny Doon has some fantastic wines ... haven't been out to the vineyard yet, but definitely wanting to make a trip soon.
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