Good Wine for Bad Men

| September 13, 2012

By: Charlotte van Zummeren


John Grisham is a bestselling author of legal thrillers. He used to be a lawyer and knows the American legal system inside out. But in recent years, he’s left the courtroom behind him and become a full time writer. Worldwide, he has sold over 60 million books, translated into 29 different languages. Lately, his books have revolved more around social issues. In The Innocent Man, for instance, he tells the story of a man who was wrongfully convicted to death row. In his recently published The Appeal, which was immediately translated into Dutch, he takes up the cudgels for cancer victims of companies that have been dumping toxic materials into the environment for years. His description of the bad guys with their billion dollar bonuses, flashy cars and trophy wives is very true to life.

It’s surprising therefore that at one point two conniving, unsavory characters order a second bottle of Oregon Pinot Noir to go with their meal. In fact it’s quite unique because Grisham hardly ever mentions wine in his books. But in his latest book, he praises this particular wine for its good quality, and rightly so. Grisham has become a trendsetter and people remember little bits of  information like this.

Over the past few decades, various wine producers have established successful companies in Oregon, and particularly in the Willamette Valley, that can compete with the best Bourgognes. For years Domaine Serene has been advertising in the Wine Spectator that in blind tasting events their wines score higher than wines from Domaine de la Romanee Conti. The famous family-owned winery Drouhin has a branch run by daughter Véronique. And there are a lot more outstanding wineries, for instance Ponzi and Beaux Frères. This last winery belongs to Michael Etzel and his brother-in-law Robert Parker. They strive to produce wines that perfectly reflect the terroir with as little intervention in the vinification process as possible. The terroir in this region is exceptional. The landscape is overwhelmingly green and charmingly English, but the soil is red—terra rosso. The climate is favourable to Pinot Noir: not too hot and the right sprinkling of rain at the right time. It meets all the conditions for an ideal wine region: a suitable climate and the right grape varieties, vinification methods and marketing strategies through highly informative websites, covering all the wineries in Oregon.

This region deserves praise and in this regard John Grisham has contributed his part . It’s just a pity that the wine in the book was drunk by two unscrupulously greedy parvenus.

Filed in: Vino Files