I like my wine. I can’t quite say that I’m an oenophile because I don’t know nearly enough about it, but I’m working my way there. What I picked up in a wine shop when I was in Italy a year and a half ago spurred me to learn more about the grapes and how they’re grown and the processing of wine so that I can make more informed choices about what I want to drink.
Kevin Zraly’s Kevin Zraly’s Windows on the World Complete Wine Course is a great addition to my collection of wine knowledge. The 323 page book covers all sorts of information from how to match wine with food (an area I tend to ignore) to grape varieties and way more. The book is divided into eight “classes” for you to focus on a specific area of wine knowledge, with additional information after those classes are complete.
The book is told primarily in a question and answer format: “What are the major red-grape varieties in Italy?” with the answer provided after each question. This makes it easy to simply pick up the book and read a little bit when I have time. The extremely extensive index in the back is also a great reference point to figure out what page I need to read to answer a particular question I’ve dreamt up. And for the most part, those questions have been answered in the book – including wanting to know if Americans drink more red wine or white wine. It’s red, by the way. 55% to 45%.
I love that the book is easily accessible so that it isn’t frightening to those who don’t know much – yet – about wine. At the same time, the information provided is so rich and complex – Kevin Zraly has been teaching wine courses since 1971, and this is a distillation of what he teaches in those classes.
Whether you’re looking to see what some of the best values are in wine or want to know how to taste or purchase wine or are trying to figure out what types of wines you might like, this is a great reference book. I don’t know that I would ever sit down and read it cover to cover, but it isn’t designed that way.
My favorite part though? At the end of each course, there are a list of questions designed to ensure that you’ve retained the information you read. And if you didn’t, that’s ok. Each question has the page you need to refer to in order to find the answer before you try again.
If you’re looking for a great last-minute Christmas gift, this would be great for the wine-lover on your list.
Written by 5 Minutes for Books contributor Michelle who recently realized that there is an appalling lack of white wine in her house. See what else is going wrong in her life on her blog Honest & Truly! or follow along with her on Twitter where she is @HonestAndTruly.