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Wine Books

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I know I just started a topic on cookbooks, but while I was at the bookstore picking one up, I kept looking at all the books they had on wine. I really have no experience at all when it comes to wine, so I would love to pick up a book that would serve as a thourough introduction. The two I kept looking at were making sense of wine, and the world atlas of wine. Does anyone have experience with these, or could anyone reccomend a great book for an introduction? Thanks.
post #2 of 5
Kevin Zraly's book would be the definitive choice for you since you need an intro. It is definitely informative and entertaining while not being dumbed down in any sense. I imagine that he still calls it the 'Windows on the World Wine Course' after the late restaurant of the same name in the WTC. Regards, Huntsman ps. Apparently the 2007 edition is out: http://www.amazon.com/Windows-World-...e=UTF8&s=books
post #3 of 5
These are both great books, for different reasons. Making Sense of Wine isn't going to give you specific advice about different grapes or regions, but it will give you an idea of how to approach wine -- a sense of "connoisseurship", as Kramer (the author) so brilliantly puts it. This idea of connoisseurship isn't unique to wine of course -- an understanding of music, of art, of bespoke clothing, or anything else is easily translatable to other disciplines in which a similar sensitivity and discernment is involved. I love this book, and recommend it to everyone who wants to learn more about wine.

The World Atlas of Wine is perhaps the single most valuable wine book available, whether you're a novice or a wine expert. This book covers every major wine region (and many minor ones), with a brief introductory text and, more importantly, incredible maps that are unrivalled in their detail and precision. In the regions that I know well, I can often identify individual producers' houses on these maps, they're that good. It's an indispensable book, needless to say, if you're going to further your understanding of wine.

I would highly recommend the purchase of both of those books. However, if you're just getting into wine I would recommend an introductory book to complement those two. There are tons of these on the market, and you can pick any one that you like. Essentially you're looking for a book that gives you a basic introduction to some grape varieties and wine regions. I personally like a book called The Wine Avenger, by Willie Gluckstern. I like it mostly because his tastes align with mine for the most part, so I'm a little biased, but beyond that, it's packed with great info and it's written in a very accessible and humorous style, so it's easy to digest.

If you really want to get geeky, buy the Oxford Companion to Wine. It's the grand encyclopedia of all things related to the topic, but it's, well, encyclopedia-like. I wouldn't recommend it as a beginning text. Get it only after you've read the above three books, and perhaps a few more, and if you decide you really want to become a wine nerd.
post #4 of 5
Hugh Johnson does an annual mini-encyclopedia (breast-pocket size) that covers pretty much all wine regions, grapes, notable suppliers. Some useful, if provocative tidbits on matching food with wine, thinking about aging, etc. Worth every bit of the small investment and more.

In past years, he's done more thorough coffee-table books that were very good. No idea of what his current offerings are in that department.
post #5 of 5
My favs (in order):

1. The Oxford (Oxxford?) Companion to Wine, Jancis Robinson. The Bible of wine terminology.
2. Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book. Excellent food/wine pairing suggestions.
3. Jancis Robinson's Guide to Wine Grapes. Helpful in identifying grape varietals in Old World wines named after the region they came from, not the grape.
4. Great Wine Made Simple, Andrea Immer. Superb menus to pair with wine.
5. Wine For Dummies, Ed McCarthy & Mary-Ewing Mulligan. Simplified but correct, with pronunciation guides for wine areas and grapes. A must read at one point.
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