Series: For Dummies (Lifestyles Paperback)
Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: For Dummies; 3 edition (August 22, 2003)
Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #497,374 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #72 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Beverages & Wine > Wine & Spirits > Buying Guides #469 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Beverages & Wine > Wine & Spirits > Wine #629 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Beverages & Wine > Homebrewing, Distilling & Wine Making
This was my first book on wine. I've read numerous books on beer, so that was my background coming into the book.There's a lot of info in the book, but I feel like there is too little practical info and too much "academic" info.Indeed, three-forths of the book are devoted to the history and geography of wines. Don't get me wrong, this stuff is extremely important; it is the geography and the winery which makes the wine what it is. The problem is that in this regard, the book reads more like "Wine for Experts" than "Wine for Dummies".In a book for complete novices, you would expect a table, chart, or other easy-to-read section on all of the major types of wine, broken down by various properties such as appearance, smell, taste, etc. "What's a Chardonnay? What's Pinot Noir?" But there isn't anything like that. There are a couple of pages which briefly mention three to four of the most popular varietals in both white and red, but that's it. There's a short section on how to smell/taste wine, which is good, but then you're left to page after page of French legal classification systems and all kinds of other stuff.Again, that "stuff" is important, and I'm glad it's in there, but it's kinda difficult to get a *basic* grasp on wine by reading all of the expert material, when they never gave you a halfway decent foundation to start with (and I even speak French; if you don't, it will be an even steeper learning curve). And that is my problem with this book.This is an okay book, but if one of my friends asked, I could not honestly recommend it to someone who knows absolutely nothing about wine. If you already have a fair amount of experience with wine, then you will be okay with this book, but if you are a complete beginner, I would recommend something more basic, because this book really isn't for "dummies" in the subject.
I read this book when I was first beginning to experience the wonderful world of wine, and it has been a great resource for me. A quick read, the book is organized into chapters on choosing wines at shops and restaurants, where and how wines are made, choosing wine to go with food, and descriptive terms for wine. (They even have pronunciations for wine terms. No more looking stupid at dinner parties!) Also, the book touches on some of the major wine-makers that it pays to be familiar with.I really like the attitude that the authors take towards the subject matter. They seem to think (as I do) that wine is not a snobby subject to learn about. It's about something most of us are already familiar with - what tastes we like and don't like. Easy, huh? They emphasize that wine is to be enjoyed, not agonized over.I like the way the content is interspersed with funny comics, highlighted tips, and even little technical blurbs about wine. (There are also "snob alerts" throughout the book! They address some of the attitudes self-proclaimed "wine experts" sometimes express. What a hoot!)All in all, a great read. Based on the book's advice, I bought a small, pocket-sized wine book. When I'm out at a restaurant or party and I taste something I like, I jot it down in the book for future reference. Then, I use the book when I go to the wine shop or when I'm eating out. Great suggestion!
About six years ago, I first caught the wine bug. A novice at the time, I recall that perusing wine shops was both a joyful and dreadful experience. Just trying to decipher the information (in foreign languages, most) on one wine-label was daunting enough, let alone trying to pick a good wine from the hundreds lining the aisles. Today, I am fortunate enough to work in a wine shop, and I can easily spot the same dread on my customers faces. Wine is supposed to be fun, right? So why is it so dang complicated?!What got me safely from the "novice" to the "intermediate" stage - and what I tell customers might well do the same for them - is Ed McCarthy and Mary Ewing-Mulligan's book "Wine for Dummies." This is the single best beginners guide to wine I've seen on the market, then and now. It strikes a perfect balance between informality and informativity, casualness and usefulness. Delving into everything from how to shop for, open, and taste wines, to explaining the basics of what the different grapes are and which regions excel in each, there is a lot of ground covered in an easy to digest style. (There is even attention paid to that often missed detail of how to pronounce intimidating wine terms like Qualitatswein and - my favorite - Trockenbeerenauslese.)Thus, six years after I first caught the wine bug, I still find myself skimming these pages for their straight-forward and concise answers to the many questions the world of wine throws at me. Hopefully, it will do for you what it did for me: take an utter novice and turn him into an unbridled wine enthusiast without causing too much of a mental headache along the way (as some books do). This is why I reccomend the book to my customers and why I unhesitatingly reccomend it to you!
I have always enjoyed drinking wines, but I never knew how to combine them with food, distinguish a good wine from a bad one or how to read a label. I had read some books about this topic before, but none of them was good enough for my level.This book answered all the questions I had. It is the first step that a beginner has to take in the fascinating world of wines, in order to enjoy more what they drink.In a very easy to understand language, the authors explain everything you need to know about different types of wine, grapes, how to taste a wine, vintages, what a wine consists of and what we should take into account when we taste it.Then the reader is presented in details the most important wine regions of the world. It has very interesting tips and charts about wines that you should try at least once in your life.The explanations are so clear and specific, that at the end of the book you will realise you have no more questions. Read each chapter attentively and try to remember every detail. Only after having done that, move on to the next chapter. So, you won't mix wine denominations, types of grapes and areas.The book is very entertaining and concise, by far one of the best manuals.After having read that, I promise, you will no longer be afraid to order a wine in a restaurant or will know what bottle to buy in a wine store by simply reading its label.Also, don't forget to practice what you read. Everytime you have a bottle of wine on your table, open the book and read. Next time you will remember easily that specific wine, the grapes it was made of and its taste.The are only two things I regret about the book: it is not updated (the vintage charts end in 1996) and it does not have attached a video tape. It would have been more useful in order to understand better certain chapters.
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