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ThirtyFifty - Hens

Let me tell you about wine by Oz Clarke
90 out of 100

Published 25 June 2010


I have read an awful lot of "Introduction to Wine" books over the years. Some very good, some very average. Oz manages to do it very well by creating an engaging book, that is perfect for the novice and the enthusiastic quaffer.

In the first third of the book he focuses on styles of wines, rather than grape varieties and regions. He then puts the different wines from around the world on a wheel that shows where they fit into the different styles. Not a radical idea, but it works very well at giving a high level picture of wine.

He then rattles through a range of grape varieties. The initial description shows the range of styles that that particular variety can produce within his wine styles, as well as practical information on food, pricing and locations. The range of wines covered in depth is very limited (4 for red 3 for white), but he does give a very brief overview of the next 42 more common varieties. For a beginners book this is OK, but it does limit this to all but the most inexperienced.

The middle section labeled "Part 2 enjoying wine" covers a range of topics about wine, from wine and food matching, restaurant etiquette, tasting, serving and even how to open a bottle. Some topics are very basic and some more topical and interesting such as wine and health. It was interesting to see how Oz covers these topics as he is an excellent writer and someone who keeps a firm eye on the pulse of the industry, and able to explain many quite technical aspects with a mixture of authority but irreverence.

The final third of the book rattles through the key wine regions of the world. The maps are OK and the text gives just enough information to have a bit more confidence to try wines from these regions. But the information is fairly standard.

Overall this is an excellent beginners guide to wine. It lacks anything new or radical, but is ideal as a beginners guide. For a more engaging book I would recommend Michael Schuster "Wine Tasting" or Beverly Blanning’s "Choosing the Right Wine". But for the very beginner looking for an enjoyable up-to-date overview of wine, this is the book to go for. I rated this book 90 out of 100.

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