The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

By Rebecca Skloot
Publisher:Crown, (2/2/2010)

Average Rating:
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4.50 out of 5 (10 Clubie's ratings)

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Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first “immortal” human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. If you could pile all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they’d weigh more than 50 million metric tons—as much as a hundred Empire State Buildings. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions.

Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave.

Now Rebecca Skloot takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the “colored” ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to stark white laboratories with freezers full of HeLa cells; from Henrietta’s small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia—a land of wooden slave quarters, faith healings, and voodoo—to East Baltimore today, where her children and grandchildren live and struggle with the legacy of her cells.

Henrietta’s family did not learn of her “immortality” until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists investigating HeLa began using her husband and children in research without informed consent. And though the cells had launched a multimillion-dollar industry that sells human biological materials, her family never saw any of the profits. As Rebecca Skloot so brilliantly shows, the story of the Lacks family—past and present—is inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of.

Over the decade it took to uncover this story, Rebecca became enmeshed in the lives of the Lacks family—especially Henrietta’s daughter Deborah, who was devastated to learn about her mother’s cells. She was consumed with questions: Had scientists cloned her mother? Did it hurt her when researchers infected her cells with viruses and shot them into space? What happened to her sister, Elsie, who died in a mental institution at the age of fifteen? And if her mother was so important to medicine, why couldn’t her children afford health insurance? 
Intimate in feeling, astonishing in scope, and impossible to put down, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks captures the beauty and drama of scientific discovery, as well as its human consequences.
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loralee1085's thoughts on "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks"
updated on:9/23/2012


Jenny's thoughts on "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks"
updated on:2/11/2012


Harriet's thoughts on "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks"
updated on:11/29/2010

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Alice_Wonder's thoughts on "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks"
updated on:6/5/2010

One of the best books I've read in a while and I don't usually read non-fiction. Well researched with interesting science and a good analysis of the scientific ethical questions involved. Additionally it is a great story of a woman's life and her family.


Reese's thoughts on "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks"
updated on:6/3/2010

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks brings to life the very fears we might not know we have when it comes to “back of the house” in the world of medicine, research, science, and discovery of cures and drugs. You might know you are afraid of going to the doctor or hospitals but do we pay much attention to what happens with our cells, blood work, organs etc. Rebecca Skloot brings all of these issues to the forefront in the amazing decade (or more) of research and discovery for this book. Have you heard of Henrietta Lacks? HeLa cells? I hadn’t. Skloot writes a true story full of the morality and ethics of the ownership and consent of buying and selling “human biological materials” in the name of research and medical advancement. From the naive way it started to more current times of privacy laws and litigation. It shows the complexity between the rights of the individual and their families and, whether right or wrong, the undeniable benefits of the advancements it creates in medicine and saving lives. Skloot did a thorough job of telling the story of the medical industry at the same time taking us on the disturbing journey of and consequences to the family. She ensconced herself in the lives of the Lacks family and gave us a portrait of their lives from Henrietta’s terrible death to what happened when they found out her cells had been taken without her consent. The book brings home the exploitation of poverty, racism, lack of education and the ethics and morality of science and research. You really feel for this family. If one can inject any humor in this…. as far as the Sci-fi nature of Henrietta’s immortal cells that are ever growing, ever dividing and ever overtaking. I kept thinking of the blob…and I feel ok getting a small chuckle as it was even mentioned as such in the book. As it turns out, that nature is what helped launch a medical revolution. Great for discussion and quite the education from reading this book.


Steph's thoughts on "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks"
updated on:6/3/2010

If the Sci-Fi channel, the History Channel, Discovery, and Lifetime had a child, it would look something like The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.  This biography/family epic/medical history/current events book has got it all; tragedy, medical intrigue, racial discrimination, the shortcomings of our health care system are all integral to the legacy of Henrietta Lacks.  It was hard at times to learn of the series of injustices that befell the Lacks family while, long unbeknownst to them, Henrietta’s cells were revolutionizing medical research.  The author’s dedication to revealing the history of Henrietta’s medical and family life is beyond commendable.  By gaining the confidence of the rightfully skeptical family, she endears us to them and brings some small solace to what they’ve endured by letting the world in on the best kept medical secret of the century.  The author also does a good job at balancing the material so it’s not too heavy on the medical, but not too condescending for those of us that are not MDs or PhDs.  Definitely a worthwhile read and a timely one as well given the current debate on health care.

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Sam's thoughts on "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks"
updated on:6/1/2010

"The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks " explores the life of Henrietta Lacks, her importance to science & society, and the tragic journey inflicted upon her family. My, what they went through to find the truth about what happened to Henreitta, the woman, and her immortal cells. They weren't even sure where she was buried. We watch (helplessly) as Henrietta's cells are taken without her consent and see the family's struggle to make sense of the bits and pieces of information they haphazardly have acquired. Rebecca Skloot, the author, becomes an integral part of the Lack's story as she aids Henrietta's daughter, Deborah, into greater understanding and helps to educate the world about important role Henrietta's life and disease has played in ALL of our lives. Exploited by the power of industry, and the result of poverty, racism, and the lack of regulations, the Lacks family had no real recourse. How much is different in today's society?  I sincerely hope that Deborah and her family have been able to find some closure knowing now that the world knows how important Henrietta was and is in our medical research and discoveries.


Ceci's thoughts on "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks"
updated on:5/31/2010

There are very few medical advances that we do not owe to Henrietta Lacks and her immortal HeLa cells. Have you ever heard of her, though?  Probably not, and that’s why Skloot is out to finally get all the facts on record. In the process, she provides a first-rate education about advances in science and medicine, the development of patients’ rights and informed consent, the sordid history of medical testing in African American communities, and whether we have a property right in our own body parts. She also puts you through an emotional wringer, describing the perseverance and heartbreaking circumstances of the Lacks family. Like all my favorite non-fiction, this book is meticulously researched and fact-checked, but still reads like a page-turning novel that you can’t put down. This is due just as much to Skloot’s clear, compelling prose as to the, sometimes unbelievable, elements of the story she is telling. Skloot lays it all out and leaves it up to the reader to draw our own conclusions about what happened to Henrietta Lacks and her family and what should happen with the future of bioethics. I’m still thinking about this book days after I finished it.


Book Junky's thoughts on "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks"
updated on:5/31/2010

What a story! What issues to be discussed! And it's all real! This story will make you look at medical research, profits & loses, race, culture, social classes, and education in a whole new conflicting light. Most of all it will make you thankful to Henrietta for her contribution to the world. And thankful to her family for putting up with this crazy world. Fast read with so much to talk about - perfect for book clubs or just interesting to read just for your own knowledge.

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Nick's thoughts on "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks"
updated on:5/28/2010

We all know that a lot of very complex science goes into the medications and vaccines everyone often takes for granted, but seldom do we think to put a human face on it. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks gives us a compelling look at one of those faces. Henrietta Lacks was a very poor, African-American mother who unknowingly donated her cells to medical science and spawned a revolution in biotechnology. Long after she died of terribly aggressive cancer in 1951, her cells continue to live on to this day and have played a major role in curing diseases and furthering science on many levels.

Author Rebecca Skloot tells the story of the person behind the cell cultures and describes the epic struggle her family endured. They had to cope the death of a loved one while striving to come to terms with the strange and difficult truth that a part of her quite literally lives on. The reader must grapple with difficult ethical questions. Henrietta’s cell culture has saved and improved countless lives, but was taken secretly and against her will. Do the ends justify the means? Many have profited from the research and discovery gained from her cell cultures, but her family lives in poverty and with little or no access to health care. Heroine or victim or both, this largely unknown woman has indirectly touched the lives of almost everyone on Earth. At times disturbing and at times uplifting, the book provides a window into the biotechnology industry which, in the not very distant past, has done terribly unethical things in the name of science and the greater good. As we watch the Lacks family go through periods of anger, fear, paranoia and confusion, the reader is taken on a journey filled with horrors and triumphs. This is a fascinating book brimming with philosophical questions and, perhaps most importantly, a very respectful literary monument to the memory of a woman who has long awaited the recognition she deserves.

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"The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks"
By Rebecca Skloot

Average Rating:
Very Unleashable
4.50 out of 5 (10 Clubie's ratings)

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The Gentleman
By Forrest Leo

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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Science journalist Skloot makes a remarkable debut with this multilayered story about faith, science, journalism, and grace. It is also a tale of medical wonders and medical arrogance, racism, poverty and the bond that grows, sometimes painfully, between two very different women—Skloot and Deborah Lacks—sharing an obsession to learn about Deborah's mother, Henrietta, and her magical, immortal cells. Henrietta Lacks was a 31-year-old black mother of five in Baltimore when she died of cervical cancer in 1951. Without her knowledge, doctors treating her at Johns Hopkins took tissue samples from her cervix for research. They spawned the first viable, indeed miraculously productive, cell line—known as HeLa. These cells have aided in medical discoveries from the polio vaccine to AIDS treatments. What Skloot so poignantly portrays is the devastating impact Henrietta's death and the eventual importance of her cells had on her husband and children. Skloot's portraits of Deborah, her father and brothers are so vibrant and immediate they recall Adrian Nicole LeBlanc's Random Family. Writing in plain, clear prose, Skloot avoids melodrama and makes no judgments. Letting people and events speak for themselves, Skloot tells a rich, resonant tale of modern science, the wonders it can perform and how easily it can exploit society's most vulnerable people. (Feb.) 
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“No one can say exactly where Henrietta Lacks is buried: during the many years Rebecca Skloot spent working on this book, even Lacks’s hometown of Clover, Virginia, disappeared. But that did not stop Skloot in her quest to exhume, and resurrect, the story of her heroine and her family. What this important, invigorating book lays bare is how easily science can do wrong, especially to the poor. The issues evoked here are giant: who owns our bodies, the use and misuse of medical authority, the unhealed wounds of slavery ... and Skloot, with clarity and compassion, helps us take the long view. This is exactly the sort of story that books were made to tell—thorough, detailed, quietly passionate, and full of revelation.”—TED CONOVER, author of Newjack and The Routes of Man

“It’s extremely rare when a reporter’s passion finds its match in a story. Rarer still when the people in that story courageously join that reporter in the search for what we most need to know about ourselves. When this occurs with a moral journalist who is also a true writer, a human being with a heart capable of holding all of life’s damage and joy, the stars have aligned. This is an extraordinary gift of a book, beautiful and devastating—a work of outstanding literary reportage. Read it! It’s the best you will find in many many years.”—ADRIAN NICOLE LEBLANC, author of Random Family
 ”The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks brings to mind the work of Philip K. Dick and Edgar Allan Poe. But this tale is true. Rebecca Skloot explores the racism and greed, the idealism and faith in science that helped to save thousands of lives but nearly destroyed a family. This is an extraordinary book, haunting and beautifully told.”—ERIC SCHLOSSER, author of Fast Food Nation 
“Skloot’s book is wonderful -- deeply felt, gracefully written, sharply reported. It is a story about science but, much more, about life.”—SUSAN ORLEAN, author of The Orchid Thief
“This is a science biography like the world has never seen. What if one of the great American women of modern science and medicine--whose contribution underlay historic discoveries in genetics, the treatment and prevention of disease, reproduction, and the unraveling of the human genome--was a self-effacing African-American tobacco farmer from the Deep South? A devoted mother of five who was escorted briskly to the Jim Crow section of Johns Hopkins for her cancer treatments? What if the untold millions of scientists, doctors, and patients enriched and healed by her gift never, to this day, knew her name? What if her contribution was made without her knowledge or permission? Ladies and gentlemen, meet Henrietta Lacks. Chances are, at the level of your DNA, your inoculations, your physical health and microscopic well-being, you’ve already been introduced.”--MELISSA FAY GREENE, author of Praying for Sheetrock and There Is No Me Without You
“Heartbreaking and powerful, unsettling yet compelling, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a richly textured story of the hidden costs of scientific progress. Deftly weaving together history, journalism and biography, Rebecca Skloot?s sensitive account tells of the enduring, deeply personal sacrifice of this African American woman and her family and, at long last, restores a human face to the cell line that propelled 20th century biomedicine. A stunning illustration of how race, gender and disease intersect to produce a unique form of social vulnerability, this is a poignant, necessary and brilliant book.”—ALONDRA NELSON, Columbia University; editor ofTechnicolor: Race, Technology and Everyday Life
“Rebecca Skloot has written a marvelous book so original that it defies easy description. She traces the surreal journey that a tiny patch of cells belonging to Henrietta Lacks’s body took to the forefront of science. At the same time, she tells the story of Lacks and her family—wrestling the storms of the late twentieth century in America—with rich detail, wit, and humanity. The more we read, the more we realize that these are not two separate stories, but one tapestry. It’s part The Wire, partThe Lives of the Cell, and all fascinating.”—CARL ZIMMER, author of Microcosm
“If virtues could be cultured like cells, Rebecca Skloot’s would be a fine place to start¾a rare combination of compassion, courage, wisdom, and intelligence. This book is extraordinary. As a writer and a human being, Skloot stands way, way out there ahead of the pack.”—MARY ROACH, author of Stiff and Bonk
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks takes the reader on a remarkable journey—compassionate, troubling, funny, smart—and irresistible. Along the way, Rebecca Skloot will change the way you see medical science and lead you to wonder who we should value more—the researcher or the research subject? Ethically fascinating and completely engaging—I couldn’t recommend it more.”—DEBORAH BLUM, author of The Poisoner’s Handbook and The Monkey Wars and the Helen Firstbrook Franklin professor of journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
 “This remarkable story of how the cervical cells of the late Henrietta Lacks, a poor black woman, enabled subsequent discoveries from the polio vaccine to in vitro fertilization is extraordinary in itself; the added portrayal of Lacks's full life makes the story come alive with her humanity and the palpable relationship between race, science, and exploitation.—PAULA J. GIDDINGS, author of Ida, A Sword Among Lions; Elizabeth A. Woodson 1922 Professor, Afro-American Studies, Smith College
“Rebecca Skloot’s steadfast commitment to illuminating the life and contribution of Henrietta Lacks, one of the many vulnerable subjects used for scientific advancement, and the subsequent impact on her family is a testament to the power of solid investigative journalism. Her deeply compelling account of one family’s long and troubled relationship with America’s vast medical-industrial complex is sure to become a cherished classic.”—ALLEN M. HORNBLUM, author of Acres of Skinand Sentenced to Science
“Writing with a novelist’s artistry, a biologist’s expertise, and the zeal of an investigative reporter, Skloot tells a truly astonishing story of racism and poverty, science and conscience, spirituality and family driven by a galvanizing inquiry into the sanctity of the body and the very nature of the life force.”—BOOKLIST (starred review)
“Science journalist Skloot makes a remarkable debut with this multilayered story about ‘faith, science, journalism, and grace.’…Recalls Adrian Nicole LeBlanc’s Random Family…A rich, resonant tale of modern science, the wonders it can perform and how easily it can exploit society’s most vulnerable people.”—PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (starred review)
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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

The Woman in the Photograph

There’s a photo on my wall of a woman I’ve never met, its left corner torn and patched together with tape. She looks straight into the camera and smiles, hands on hips, dress suit neatly pressed, lips painted deep red. It’s the late 1940s and she hasn’t yet reached the age of thirty. Her light brown skin is smooth, her eyes still young and playful, oblivious to the tumor growing inside her—a tumor that would leave her five children motherless and change the future of medicine. Beneath the photo, a caption says her name is “Henrietta Lacks, Helen Lane or Helen Larson.”
No one knows who took that picture, but it’s appeared hundreds of times in magazines and science textbooks, on blogs and laboratory walls. She’s usually identified as Helen Lane, but often she has no name at all. She’s simply called HeLa, the code name given to the world’s first immortal human cells—her cells, cut from her cervix just months before she died.
Her real name is Henrietta Lacks.

I’ve spent years staring at that photo, wondering what kind of life she led, what happened to her children, and what she’d think about cells from her cervix living on forever—bought, sold, packaged, and shipped by the trillions to laboratories around the world. I’ve tried to imagine how she’d feel knowing that her cells went up in the first space missions to see what would happen to human cells in zero gravity, or that they helped with some of the most important advances in medicine: the polio vaccine, chemotherapy, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization. I’m pretty sure that she—like most of us—would be shocked to hear that there are trillions more of her cells growing in laboratories now than there ever were in her body.
There’s no way of knowing exactly how many of Henrietta’s cells are alive today. One scientist estimates that if you could pile all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they’d weigh more than 50 million metric tons—an inconceivable number, given that an individual cell weighs almost nothing. Another scientist calculated that if you could lay all HeLa cells ever grown end-to-end, they’d wrap around the Earth at least three times, spanning more than 350 million feet. In her prime, Henrietta herself stood only a bit over five feet tall.
I first learned about HeLa cells and the woman behind them in 1988, thirty-seven years after her death, when I was sixteen and sitting in a community college biology class. My instructor, Donald Defler, a gnomish balding man, paced at the front of the lecture hall and flipped on an overhead projector. He pointed to two diagrams that appeared on the wall behind him. They were schematics of the cell reproduction cycle, but to me they just looked like a neon-colored mess of arrows, squares, and circles with words I didn’t understand, like “MPF Triggering a Chain Reaction of Protein Activations.”
I was a kid who’d failed freshman year at the regular public high school because she never showed up. I’d transferred to an alternative school that offered dream studies instead of biology, so I was taking Defler’s class for high-school credit, which meant that I was sitting in a college lecture hall at sixteen with words likemitosis and kinase inhibitors flying around. I was completely lost.
“Do we have to memorize everything on those diagrams?” one student yelled.
Yes, Defler said, we had to memorize the diagrams, and yes, they’d be on the test, but that didn’t matter right then. What he wanted us to understand was that cells are amazing things: There are about one hundred trillion of them in our bodies, each so small that several thousand could fit on the period at the end of this sentence. They make up all our tissues—muscle, bone, blood—which in turn make up our organs.
Under the microscope, a cell looks a lot like a fried egg: It has a white (the cytoplasm) that’s full of water and proteins to keep it fed, and a yolk (the nucleus) that holds all the genetic information that makes you you. The cytoplasm buzzes like a New York City street. It’s crammed full of molecules and vessels endlessly shuttling enzymes and sugars from one part of the cell to another, pumping water, nutrients, and oxygen in and out of the cell. All the while, little cytoplasmic factories work 24/7, cranking out sugars, fats, proteins, and energy to keep the whole thing running and feed the nucleus. The nucleus is the brains of the operation; inside every nucleus within each cell in your body, there’s an identical copy of your entire genome. That genome tells cells when to grow and divide and makes sure they do their jobs, whether that’s controlling your heartbeat or helping your brain understand the words on this page.
Defler paced the front of the classroom telling us how mitosis—the process of cell division—makes it possible for embryos to grow into babies, and for our bodies to create new cells for healing wounds or replenishing blood we’ve lost. It was beautiful, he said, like a perfectly choreographed dance.
All it takes is one small mistake anywhere in the division process for cells to start growing out of control, he told us. Just one enzyme misfiring, just one wrong protein activation, and you could have cancer. Mitosis goes haywire, which is how it spreads.
“We learned that by studying cancer cells in culture,” Defler said. He grinned and spun to face the board, where he wrote two words in enormous print: HENRIETTA LACKS.
Henrietta died in 1951 from a vicious case of cervical cancer, he told us. But before she died, a surgeon took samples of her tumor and put them in a petri dish. Scientists had been trying to keep human cells alive in culture for decades, but they all eventually died. Henrietta’s were different: they reproduced an entire generation every twenty-four hours, and they never stopped. They became the first immortal human cells ever grown in a laboratory.
“Henrietta’s cells have now been living outside her body far longer than they ever lived inside it,” Defler said. If we went to almost any cell culture lab in the world and opened its freezers, he told us, we’d probably find millions—if not billions—of Henrietta’s cells in small vials on ice.
Her cells were part of research into the genes that cause cancer and those that suppress it; they helped develop drugs for treating herpes, leukemia, influenza, hemophilia, and Parkinson’s disease; and they’ve been used to study lactose digestion, sexually transmitted diseases, appendicitis, human longevity, mosquito mating, and the negative cellular effects of working in sewers. Their chromosomes and proteins have been studied with such detail and precision that scientists know their every quirk. Like guinea pigs and mice, Henrietta’s cells have become the standard laboratory workhorse.
“HeLa cells were one of the most important things that happened to medicine in the last hundred years,” Defler said.
Then, matter-of-factly, almost as an afterthought, he said, “She was a black woman.” He erased her name in one fast swipe and blew the chalk from his hands. Class was over.
As the other students filed out of the room, I sat thinking, That’s it? That’s all we get? There has to be more to the story.
I followed Defler to his office.
“Where was she from?” I asked. “Did she know how important her cells were? Did she have any children?”
“I wish I could tell you,” he said, “but no one knows anything about her.”
After class, I ran home and threw myself onto my bed with my biology textbook. I looked up “cell culture” in the index, and there she was, a small parenthetical:
In culture, cancer cells can go on dividing indefinitely, if they have a continual supply of nutrients, and thus are said to be “immortal.” A striking example is a cell line that has been reproducing in culture since 1951. (Cells of this line are called HeLa cells because their original source was a tumor removed from a woman named Henrietta Lacks.)

That was it. I looked up HeLa in my parents’ encyclopedia, then my dictionary: No Henrietta.
As I graduated...
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REBECCA SKLOOT is a science writer whose articles have appeared in The New York Times MagazineO, The Oprah MagazineDiscoverPreventionGlamour; and others. She has worked as a correspondent for NPR’s Radio Lab and PBS’s NOVA scienceNow, and is a contributing editor at Popular Science magazine. Her work has been anthologized in several collections, including The Best Food Writing and The Best Creative Nonfiction. She is a former vice president of the National Book Critics Circle, and has taught nonfiction in the creative writing programs at the University of Memphis and the University of Pittsburgh, and science journalism at New York University’s Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting Program. She blogs about science, life, and writing at Culture Dish, hosted by Seed magazine. This is her first book.

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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

June 2010’s BB Book Club Book Pick:
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks By Rebecca Skloot

With Henrietta's cells mixing and mingling in so many different ways, we decided we needed to explore some blends too! We selected 3 blends that are sure to get you mixing and mingling. ;)

These French blends featured more of the "old world" taste vs "new world" meaning to us they tasted a bit muted and lacked the bright fresh fruit that more of the California wines exhibit. We felt all three of these wines were much better after decanting or aerating for some time prior to consuming.

Chateau de Beaucastel 2007 Coudoulet Rouge - Rhone Blends Red Wine

Chateau de Beaucastel 2007 Coudoulet Rouge - Rhone Blends Red Wine
(Was $34)
Compared to the other two wines, the nose on this wine was the most expressive and featured a nice floral smell. As we tasted the wine the same fruit smell translated into a very nice fresh raspberry flavor. This wine seemed to have a much better balance than the other two and had a decent mid palate as well as a smooth finish.

Uncorking Rating:
"Uncork it"

Domaine d'Andezon 2008 Cotes du Rhone La Granacha - Grenache Red Wine
(Was $16)
We did not pick up much on the nose on this wine, but if I had to come up with something I would say it had a slight hint of dark fruit. The wine had a smooth mouth feel and showed an earthy taste similar to a barn on a summer day with some black pepper thrown in.

Uncorking Rating:
"Uncork it - depending on your pallet"

Perrin 2007 Cotes du Rhone Villages Rouge - Rhone Blends Red Wine

Perrin 2007 Cotes du Rhone Villages Rouge - Rhone Blends Red Wine
(Was $13)
As mentioned above this wine, really needs to be aerated before the tasting should commence. The first time we tasted this wine it had an alcohol smell that wore off as the night went on but was quite apparent early on. My wife picked up a butter component as well on the nose that was quite interesting. As we tasted this wine we experienced very dark fruit such as plum, licorice and some pepper on the back end.

Uncorking Rating:
"Mildly Uncorkable to
Uncork it"

Perhaps it is just that our pallets are geared towards the new world vines, but none of these stood out as rock stars to us. If you like the old world tastes definitely give these a try as Wine Spectator rated all of them highly. But if your taste buds prefer the new world flavors. A great California blend that you can't go wrong with is...
Kendall-Jackson 2006 Vintner's Reserve Meritage - Bordeaux Blends Red Wine
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