Author Laura Grace Barrett, who divides her time between Bigfork, San Francisco and Puerto Vallarta (yeah, I’m jealous too), grew up in a wine-loving family. So wine-loving that they moved into a historic castle in Napa Valley to revamp the historic Chateau Montelena winery. This was back in the ’70s, when America’s culinary reputation was all about Ovaltine and processed cheese bricks, not so much chardonnay or aged cheddar.
So it was pretty exciting when Montelena’s chardonnay won at the 1976 Paris Tasting, an event that put the winery on the map and helped usher in a new era of American winemaking. The 2008 movie Bottle Shock, starring Chris Pine and Bill Pullman, offered a fictional take on the 1976 tasting. Barrett recounts the real story as she recalls it in her new book, What Is More Real Than a Dream: Memoir of Chateau Montelena Winery.
The book also includes recipes, Barrett’s artwork and memorabilia informed by Barrett’s lifetime of travel and cooking. She reads from the book and hosts a wine tasting at Shakespeare on July 17. You don’t have to know the difference between a cabernet sauvignon or a sauvignon blanc to appreciate that the often complex world of vino is tied to a greater appreciation of place, of time, of living well. —Kate Whittle