The Young & The Thirsty: 25 California Wines For New School Drinkers is the mold-breaking new book by young winemakers Jacob and Jesse Kovacs that provides a map to their peers just beginning to cultivate a love for wine. The brothers’ goal is to launch a million winos with guidance as to which vintages offer a proper introduction to the sweet grape without being too harsh on the palate or pocketbook.
Written in a voice that is hilarious, daring and relatable, The Young And The Thirsty is perfect for budding aficionados curious about wine and eager to build the foundation for what could easily become a lifelong passion.
Jacob and Jesse are seventh-generation winemakers and proprietors of the Carmel Valley-based label Kovacs Brothers. The idea behind the book, Jesse Kovacs said, is to provide a starting place for budding enthusiasts.
“Because of the Internet, curiosity about wine among people our age is exploding,” said Kovacs, 28. “Traveling around the country, we’ve gotten the sense that there’s tremendous enthusiasm for the subject. This book is an effort to just channel that excitement and give people a place to start.”
“Jacob and I grew up around wine, day in and day out. We think we’re in a unique position to be credible with a young audience, without coming off as aristocratic or snobby. I mean, we made our first blend with wine from an empty beer keg, and we sold it out of the back of our cars. So I’d say we’re pretty grounded. Hopefully readers find this to be much more than a guide, but also something that’s really funny and daring.”
Today, Kovacs Brothers bottles and sells approximately 1,000 cases each year. The brothers share a vineyard with their parents, Jozsef and Bette, in the Santa Lucia Mountains, a world-renowned grape-growing region thanks to the marine layer in which the fruit bathes each night. The winery is several miles inland from the Big Sur coast.
For the book, the brothers selected 25 wines they felt would match nicely with wine lovers who are both young and young at heart. “We took into account value first and foremost — the quality of the wine along with the retail price,” Jacob Kovacs said. “We also accounted for their appropriateness for the warm summer and fall months, their versatility with situations New Schoolers find themselves in where wine is appropriate, and their availability either in stores or online.
“We also wanted the wines to have a little bit of soul. There’s nothing wrong with eye-level-in-the-grocery-store brands, but we wanted to choose wines with stories behind them. That’s part of the fun. All in all, we wanted to encourage a sense of discovery and discourage a belief that you can do something wrong as you come to learn about wine. Our parents always taught us there are no wrong answers when it comes to wine, and we hope we passed that on.”
The book breaks down the wines based on fragrance, taste, the foods with which they should be served, and occasions for which they’re appropriate, like dinner at the boss’s house, a baby shower or a backyard Sunday barbeque. The prices of the wines range from $10 to $30. The brothers also tell readers other wines to explore if they like the ones on the list, and also offer suggestions on “next steps up” if the reader is ready to spend a bit more money.
The book is the first of several to be released by the Kovacs brothers in the next calendar year. A similar book on Holiday wines will be released in November.
The Young And The Thirsty is 10 inches by 7 inches with a vibrant cover, and is meant for display in the home as much as for its value as a guide.