Top 10 books about wine, beer, and spirits to read in lockdown

Tasting Victory, Gerard Basset

Gerard Basset, one of the most decorated wine professionals of his time, died in January 2019 after a long battle with cancer.

Basset wrote his memoirs while undergoing treatment, detailing “the life and wines of the world’s favourite sommelier.” The book recounts his journey from a small industrial town outside of Lyon and a difficult childhood, resolving to move to the UK after watching his football team, Saint-Etienne, lose to Liverpool in the European Cup in 1977, climbing up the hospitality career ladder in France and the UK, and finally receiving an OBE from Princess Anne at Windsor Castle in 2011.

Called Tasting Victory, the book also charts Basset’s business successes: co-founding and selling the innovative Hotel du Vin chain and founding, with his wife Nina, the much-loved Hotel TerraVina in 2007, a venture which, though started well, was not withouts challenges.

As Basset writes: “For all the planning we did before we bought the hotel, the one business scenario we didn’t envisage was the likelihood of a worldwide recession.”

Taking in his early days as a kitchen porter and the 2008 economic crash, the memoirs not only tell Basset’s story, but also shed light on how much the UK’s fine dining sector has changed throughout the years.

Tasting Victory is available in Hardback from Unbound.

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