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Wine Literature for the Serious Student


helenas
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The title of the thread is stolen from the amazon.com review of the book by Doug Frost "On Wine : A Master Sommelier and Master of Wine Tells All". In Washigton Post this book is described as "Fabulous job here, witty, engaging and wise". And once again, i'm tempted.

Although i own and read several books on wine and wine appreciation, so far i'm disappointed.

So name your favorite book or two, including one on appreciation.

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i think willie gluckstern's book "the wine avenger" is a great place to start.  it's short, funny, irreverent, and provides a great overview of the many different grapes, regions, and styles.  it's geared towards the dynamic btwn wine and food, which i have much interest in.

it's inexpensive and can be purchased here.

willie also holds wine tastings in NYC.  upwards of 30 tastes during his classes.

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Windows on the World Wine Course by Kevin Zraly is quite good.  Also Andrea Immer's Great Wine Made Simple is good for novices and intermediates.  I also keep a copy of the Oxford Companion to Wine for more encyclopedic reading.  Finally, Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book is a great companion to have while browsing the bins at your wine shop.

I am currently read Frank Prial's Decantations and am finding it rather dull.  Its just a collection of his wine columns from the Times.

cheers

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New reads:

1.  Paul Lukacs--"American Vintage:  From Isolation to International Renown--The Rise of American Wine"  Mentioned in the same Post article that Helena referred to.  He is such a good writer sometimes it makes me blush.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A21575-2001Nov27.html

2.  Karen MacNeil's "The Wine Bible"  (ฤ, Workman Publishing)  Her book is as amazing as she is and, inexplicably, not included on Ben Giliberti's holiday book gift list.

Old read:

Kermit Lynch's "Adventures on the Wine Route--A Wine Buyer's Tour of France" from 1988.

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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  • 2 weeks later...

i followed Tommy's recommendation on willie gluckstern's book "the wine avenger". The book is exactly like Tommy described it, with emphasis on food friendly wines. Gluckstern sounds convincing, so bye-bye zins and shirazes, i'm switching to pinos and rieslings... Thanks god, i never liked chardonnay, otherwise i'd feel embarassed right now

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I often use Robinson's Oxford Companion as a reference.  Probably the non-beginner wine book I've enjoyed most is Gerald Asher's.  If you've only ever read him in Gourmet, he actually has a lot more range than that.

Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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Quote: from helena sarin on 11:30 am on Dec. 10, 2001

Gluckstern sounds convincing, so bye-bye zins and shirazes, i'm switching to pinos and rieslings... Thanks god, i never liked chardonnay, otherwise i'd feel embarassed right now

would it sound overly stupid, shallow and naive if i suggest that his book changed my life?

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to me, wine books are usually an oxymoron, kind of like sports books. they're usually pretty poorly written, interesting mainly for their advice rather than for any kind of intellectual stimulus. (they usually answer only one question and that is: "what should I buy"). that said, i've always thought a lot of matt kramer's "making sense" books. and not just because he's a friend.

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Another fun, irreverent, practical book: Sip by Sip by Michael Bonadies.

(Yes, this a plug for the boss.  :biggrin:  But it really is a good book!)

Didn't he win a Beard award for wine writing?

(disclosure: he was sort of my boss too, years ago, but he really does know his stuff.)

I'm rather partial to Karen MacNeil's The Wine Bible, which came out about a year ago. Readable, highly informative, accessible ("If chardonnay is Marilyn Monroe, sauvignon blanc is Jamie Lee Curtis." "...California pinot noirs are fairly dependable, especially in comparison to Burgundies, which are the vinous equivalents of manic-depressives [very high quality or very low; not much stuff in the middle].")

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A bit more specific, but a fantastic reference on Italian wine, is "Vino Italiano" by Bastianich and Lynch. The book covers every region in Italy, including a discussion of the food culture of each region and how it is inextricably linked with the regional wines. Also included are recipes from Mario hisself, the undisputed king of Italian TV chefs.

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tom stevenson, for reference--he does the sotheby's books. not dry, either; you could actually read this from cover to cover & not use it just for reference.

i love clive coates, MW, on burgundy!!!!!!! "Cote D'Or: a Guide to the Great Wines of Burgundy" highly recommended, with compelling stories & histories of producers. this is one of those books i want duplicate copies of so i don't have to schlep it around, i use it so often.

any favorite books on german/austrian wine? i kind of like parker's recent take on the austrian 2001 vintage in the other month's advocate.

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There is a dire short story by Dorothy Sayers

('The bibulous business of a matter of taste') which turns out to revolve around a competitive tasting.

This offers the possibility of a close approximation to scratch'n'sniff.

Reference works of course struggle to be read otherwise.

John Arlott's writing certainly encouraged me on the few occasions I played cricket over the age of 16 to do so equipped with a bottle of claret.

Wilma squawks no more

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I just bought Parker/Rovanni's lastest edition of their tome. While my taste for wine is not always the same as Bob's, this book is very useful. It profiles an astounding number of producers from all the major wine regions. I have found it particularly helpful for discerning what grapes make up the blends in my favorite Languedocs and Southern Rhones. For instance I was amazed to find that there was 30% cabernet sauvignon in this lovely $10 wine I have been drinking from Domaine Alary called La Grange Daniel. Coming from L'Orange, I just assumed it was all grenache and syrah. I should have bought more of this wine.

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  • 10 months later...

I know almost nothing about wine, but I find as my cooking skills improve I want to learn more about it. Can you recommend some good literature on the subject for a novice?

Thank you...

pjackso

"You like Thai?"

"Yea, you like shirt?" -Trent Steele & Max Power (From The Simpsons Episode No. 216)

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Wine Spectator magazine is always a good source for general articles and tasting notes. The latest Robert Parker buying guide is also a good idea. If you really get into it, you can always expand your library and/or subscribe to Parker's newsletter, The Wine Advocate.

"If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."

~ Fernand Point

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The first book I always recommend is Kevin Zraly's Windows on the World Wine Course. My two favorite books are Hugh Johnson's The World Atlas of Wine , recently updated with Jancis Robinson, and Michael Broadbent's Great Vintage Wine Book. Zraly's book starts from scratch and was originally intended for the waitstaff at Windows on the World in the World Trade Center. Johnson's book has an easy to understand introduction to every aspect of making wine, including the history of winemaking, plus detailed topographical maps of every great vineyard site in the world. Broadbent's book is fascinating in that there are tasting notes of great wines that go back to the mid-nineteenth century.

Mark

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