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In the interests of keeping this blog going after a brief taco eating hiatus, I just wanted to share some of my favorite wine books that I think offer a lot for both the novice and expert.   Let me say, however, that I think the only way to ever really get to know wine is to actually drink it.  That being said, reading about wine from another’s perspective can really teach us a lot about what we do not already know and affirm what we do.

      The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil is the book I most often use for research or to look something up.  It is kind of like an encyclopedia except it is divided into regions.  The introduction is essential reading for the beginners as it has tons of information on everything from history to winemaking to wine culture itself.  I find myself coming back to the  introduction over and over again.  This book has been particularly helpful for me when I am researching non Italian winemaking regions.  Anyone who studies wine knows that Burgundy is the greatest and most difficult wine area to understand, and this book has made that journey slightly less difficult.  This book  is more for reference than a page turner.  Useful for any wine library. 


Great book for wine tasting basics

When I studied wine I studied in italiano so not only did I have to translate what I was learning into English, I had to study everything twice;  once in Italian and once in English to make sure everything sunk in.  I accumulated a million books on wine and tasting during my studies, and I would say at least 1/3 of them are on tasting.  Tasting seems pretty simple, right?  Look, smell and taste, wine tasting in a nutshell, right?  Wrong.  Wine tasting is complex and one has to acquire the skills for it and also a wine vocabulary to be able to articulate what one is experiencing while tasting.  How to Taste:  A Guide to Enjoying Wine by Jancis Robinson makes complexity much more inviting.  She has wonderful exercises to help anyone become a better tasting and to aid those who find finding the right words daunting when trying to articulate what exactly is that wonderful aroma?  This book is broken down into wine tasting basics with exercises not based on region but by major grape varietal.  I highly recommend.  

I do not even know where to begin with this book.  It changed my life.  It threw me a wine curveball.  Alice Feiring faces the greatest enemy known to the world of wine and that is the industrialization/globalization and Parkerization of the world palate.  This globalization in wine has made winemakers make Bordeaux style wines in places that they were never made before.  She writes about authentic wines by weaving her own life experiences into a wonderful tale of mystery and intrigue.  This is not a reference book but an experience.  After I read this book I started doing my own research in wines.  I knew what wines I enjoyed and which I didn’t, and I began to question what was actually in my wines and how they were made.  This goes beyond the new fashion of organic grapes and biodynamic farming practices.  Authentic wines are wines that are the definition of terroir driven wines.  Wines I like.  I want to know the winemaker, the land, and I want the wine to tell a story.  Only, I wish I could tell a story as well as Ms. Feiring in The Battle for Wine and Love or How I Saved the World from Parkerization


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