First published in 1951, A Contemplation of Wine is, in the words of Harry Eyres in his introduction to this edition, a "delightfully discursive, compulsively rambling... meditation on changing fashions in wine drinking, and gastronomy more generally."
Author Herbert Warner Allen, born in 1891 was a newspaper journalist decorated for his service in WWI, who also wrote a number of wine-themed mystery novels. His book is a collection of essays which range widely over vinous topics. In some he addresses subjects which would seem expected of a gentlemen who came of age during the Edwardian Era, paying tribute to figures such as George Saintsbury and Andre Simon. But Warner Allen is just as easily diverted by the wines of ancient Rome, medieval corkscrews, and hangover cures.
As a stylist, Warner writes from the perspective of an era when it was assumed every worthy reader had a working grasp of Latin and French. But given the scope of his frame of reference, even those of us who do not will find him a diverting and amusing reading companion.
A Contemplation of Wine is one of the Academie du Vin Library's Classic Editions, chosen, in the words of Hugh Johnson, for being "elegant, informative, inspiring, often eccentric and frequently witty."