Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Booknote: Let Me Tell You About The Wine

Clarke, Oz, Let Me Tell You About the Wine: A Beginner's Guide to Understanding and Enjoying Wine. London: Pavilion, 2013. ISBN:  9781862058651. (Link to publisher page. Pavilion is part of Anova Group).

This book is an extensive and accessible guide that covers just about any detail you would want to know about wine. It is written in simple language; any specialized vocabulary is easily explained. A strength of the book lies in its conversational tone. It really does feel as if Mr. Clarke is just having a casual conversation with readers about wine, wine culture, and how to best enjoy it. Clarke takes you through the world of wine: flavors, grapes, varieties, terms, how to drink and choose wines, food and wine pairings, and more.

The book is organized as follows:

  • Part One: The Flavours of Wine. The author discusses grape varieties and how they make different wines distinctive. 
  • Part Two: Enjoying Wine. How to buy, store, taste, and drink wine at home or dining out. For me, this was a useful section, one to refer to again. There is also a small discussion on the health benefits of wine. 
  • Part Three: This section covers the World of Wine. The author goes over wine regions around the world. He strives to be a bit comprehensive, but some regions get better coverage than others. For instance, I felt the U.S. was a bit light outside of the usual California highlight. I say this because I have sample wines in various Midwestern States as well as Texas, and these areas are barely acknowledged. This may be reflective of a more European bias/focus in the work. However, you do also get some mentions of other wine-producing countries rarely mentioned anywhere else. 
Overall, this is a very good book. Wine enthusiasts will likely enjoy it and may want to add it to their wine book collections. Personally, as an amateur or casual wine drinker, I feel this is a good book for me. Clarke write, "just a little knowledge will double the pleasure you get from a glass of wine and will give you the key to choosing wines you like" (8). Clarke gives you lots of little pieces of knowledge to help readers learn and appreciate wine. I liked that even though there may be a lot of details, this book is never overwhelming. You can read bits and pieces and try the advice and suggestions at your pace. Pick what you like, skip what you don't because at the end of the day the wine experience is yours to taste.

I really liked this book, so I am giving it 4 out of 5 stars. Though I read it as an e-galley via NetGalley (there is your disclosure note to keep The Man happy), this is one that I would add to my shelf. And yes, I would prefer the book in print. By the way, the book also features some very nice photos throughout.

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