The Role of Wine in the Life
and Times of Sherlock Holmes
Illustrations by Jack Winn and Elizabeth Jackson
The Sherlock Holmes Society of Stratford-on-Avon in Stratford Ontario.
An Introduction by Brad Keefauver
Chapter One -- The Wines of Sherlock Holmes
Chapter Two -- Port
Chapter Three -- Claret
Chapter Four -- Montrachet
Chapter Five -- Beaune
Chapter Six -- Tokay
Chapter Seven -- The Other Wines
In his varied career path, Steve Robinson has been a criminal investigator, a wine sales rep and a bookseller. He is a past-president of the Denver scion society, Dr. Watson's Neglected Patients, and currently lives in Flagstaff, Arizona.
"The Oenologic Holmes: The Role of Wine in the Life and Times of Sherlock Holmes by Steve Robinson is a charming little book, beautifully illustrated with photos by Jack Winn. In 46 pages it can't go in to the sort of detail covered, for instance, by Patricia Guy in her excellent Bacchus at Baker Street, but it does take a fresh, intelligent look at the part played by wine (and its consumption) in Watson's chronicles."
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.