If you’ve ever tried to understand the world of wines, you know how intensely complex it is. Wine experts across the globe, with the intention of simplifying this subject for us, have brought forth various guides. Let’s take a look.
When asked when if he ever confused a Bordeaux with a Burgundy in a blind tasting, British Wine Legend Harry Waugh replied, “Not since lunch.”
Woven with finesse and elegance, the vinous world is a rather complex one, with so much to comprehend about the different kinds of wine-producing regions across the globe, the kinds of grapes and wine-making methods used, and not to mention the perplexing flavor profiles. Then there’s so much to learn about food and wine pairings, dessert wines, aperitifs, etc., and the gazillion wine jargons that seem to elude you on wine labels! How does a person who knows little about wine steer his or her way into this unfamiliar terrain? Where and how do you begin?
Well, fortunately some wine aficionados and wine experts have penned down their expertise, for simpletons like us to grasp the wonders of luscious finesse of wines. But, there’s another problem! Just like the vast sea of wines being stored in wine cellars across the globe, there are scores of wine books available that flood book shelves around the planet, which can make choosing one extremely mind-boggling. To help ease your dilemma, we at Tastessence have brought forth some of the best and simplest wine books that will help you in this wine odyssey of yours.
7 Wine Guides Every Wine Lover Should Own
Wine ― by Andre Domine
Authored by the award-winning German writer and journalist, Andre Domine, ‘Wine’ is the one-stop guide for wines. This large and heavy book dwells on different aspects of wine, including its history, making process, storage cellars, etc. Andre Domine takes his readers on a journey into the different wine-growing regions of the world, explaining the highlights of each. The book is classified in an organized manner, making it easier for readers to find their way in it. The attractive photographs capture your visual senses, while the different maps engage your intellectual side. This comprehensive study on wines will not only help you gain insight about wines in general, but will help you understand how to taste and study the nuances of this elegant drink. The author also doles out information about the right glassware and helpful tips about uncorking a wine bottle. So, it’s a complete guide for a wine novice.
His Other Books
‘Red Wine’ and ‘White Wine’ are also two other delightful compilations of Andre Domine that focus upon the basics of the reds and whites.
THE WORLD ATLAS OF WINE ― by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson
Just like the fashion world where trends keep changing, the world of wines has new aspects and elements that need to be considered. Understanding this need, eminent British wine writers Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson have co-authored the 7th edition of the original ‘World Atlas of Wine’, published in 1971, creating nothing less than a landmark in wine literature. Also touted as the Bible of the wine industry, this piece of literary work brings forth the latest information about wine-growing regions, their climatic conditions, current wine-making techniques, and also dwells on the newer wine-making regions of the world. If you’re interested in learning about today’s wine culture and wineries, this is the book you need to own!
Their earlier editions are also available in the market; however, their latest iPad eBook version is worth noting. It comes with additional features like interactive maps, note-making facility, authors’ address, and so on. They sure are serious about keeping up-to-date!
ineWise ― Steven Kolpan, Brian H. Smith, Michael Weiss, and CIA
Now that you’ve gained insight about where and how wine is made, it’s time to learn about how to choose your very own bottle from the endless array showcased in wine stores. Co-authored by Steven Kolpan, Brian H. Smith, Michael Weiss, and the Culinary Institute of America, this wine guide has been designed for commoners like us, who want basic information about how, where, and when to purchase wine that we can enjoy. This book is devoted to help its readers distinguish between different flavor profiles and also dwells on basics of food and wine pairings. So, you not only learn to choose your wine, but also learn to pair it with your food, and enjoy the combined flavor. Moreover, because wines range from extremely expensive to inexpensive, the book teaches you to get a better bargain for your money. There’s also a small guide about wine in restaurants.
You can take a look at some other books authored and co-authored by Steven Kolpan like A Sense of Place and Exploring Wine.
COMPLETE WINE SELECTOR ― Katherine Cole
Authored by wine columnist Katherine Cole, this book focuses on helping the readers choose the right wine every time. Katherine brings a fresh and different approach to understanding wines, which is definitely welcomed by beginners. Instead of classifying wines by their region, she classifies wines by their style. Her aim is to simplify the complexity involved with wine selection, storage, and serving style, and reduce the intimidation associated with the vinous world. Besides helping her readers to decode complex wine bottle labels, she also gives specific instructions and ideas about which wine will complement a certain food type well. This wine writer doesn’t just stop here. Since she’s determined about getting you your wine, her book also dwells on wine navigation tips, with information about the best vendors and websites for purchasing wines.
You can check out her book Voodoo Vintners that focuses on biodynamic wine growing.
How to Taste: A Guide to Enjoying Wine ― Jancis Robinson
While the earlier books focus on where and how wine is made, how to choose a bottle, how to serve it, and so on, this book dwells upon enjoying the wine. Authored by the world-renowned wine writer, Jancis Robinson, this wine guide is all about understanding the flavors of wines. If you’ve been for a wine-tasting session and found all the wines to taste the same, then it’s time you purchase this book. Robinson gives practical guidelines on how to appreciate wine and distinguish between the different wine varieties. She also provides tips and suggestions for tasting notes. Hopefully after reading this book, you’ll have a better idea about the expertise of wine tasting, thereby, making your next wine-tasting tour a whole new experience in itself.
You can take a look at The Oxford Companion to Wine, which has been edited by Robinson. You can also follow her on her website, wherein you will find loads of helpful information about wines.
Drink This: Wine Made Simple ― Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl
Authored by Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl, this wine book is an easy-to-read, entertaining wine guide that is filled with wit and world-class information. Granted you’ve read so much about how to select the right wine and even how to appreciate its flavor, but this guide is also a must-read. Structured around nine wine varietals, the author focuses on these wines extremely well, and helps you strengthen your knowledge and understanding about these wines. Drink This helps readers learn the basics of wine tasting with simple and fun exercises, including her classic ‘two at a time’ method which involves tasting two wines of the same varietal to learn about them better. So, basically this book equips you with enough knowledge to hold your own wine-tasting session at home.
Grumdahl has written for popular food magazines like Bon Appétit, Saveur, Gourmet, and many more. You can take a look at her articles there.
The Wine Lover’s Cookbook ― Sid Goldstein
You’ve learned so much about wine that it’s time to showcase your talent this holiday season. It’s time to pair different delicacies with different foods and present it to your near and dear ones. The Wine Lover’s Cookbook will help you achieve the perfect harmony between the food and wine you serve. Authored by Sid Goldstein, this wine guide helps you comprehend the dynamics that take place between this elegant drink and the food you’ve prepared. Structured around 13 wine varietals, the book helps readers pair wines with appetizers, main courses, and even desserts. What’s even better is that the author provides 100 recipes with wines that pair well with them, making your initial steps easier.
You can also take a look at From the Earth to the Table, which Sid Goldstein has co-authored along with John Ash.
The above-mentioned 7 books focus on different aspects of the vinous world and aim to take you through a wonderful journey from vineyards across the globe, all the way to your dinner table! Reading these books is sure to give you a deep insight into the glamorous, untouchable wine galaxy. You may find various aspects overlapping in these books; however, this will only fixate your understanding of the subject. Enjoy your wines!