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ThirtyFifty - Hens

Michael Schuster Essential Winetasting
91 out of 100

Published 26 August 2008


Michael Schuster describes this book as a how to and why rather than a what type of book, and it certainly is without doubt the best written book on wine tasting I have read. It is thorough, covering all the normal topics but at a level that at last answers some silly questions I have had in my mind. Michael has certainly done a good job of explaining wine and wine tasting.

Michael’s book also has the best layout I have seen in a wine reference book, and that other wine books could learn from, allowing both reading and browsing. Headings are clear and enticing with bold sections within the page that give sub headings. He has boxes that give you the pages for other related topics to encouraging active browsing, and each major section is colour coded at the top so you know easily which section of the book you are in. It may sound obvious but many of the recent reference books I have received don’t have this. Michael has tried to jazz up the traditional sections by calling them ‘Before The Bottle’,’ In The Bottle’ and ‘In The Glass’,
The ‘Before the Bottle’ section is the fairly standard covering you and your senses and Viticulture and Vinification. All are done very well with a great level of depth. If you have an enquiring mind and want to know why things work and practice things to help you learn about your palate, Michael covers it.

In the Bottle, Michael tackles naming wines, the key white and red grape varieties as well as fortified and sparkling wines. This is a good general section giving the examples of styles to try and what to expect. This is probably the weakest section of the book but is still better than many other books.

In the glass is where Michael's book separates itself from many other wine books, it does this by offering a series of tastings to teach the home taster what to expect. While some of the vintage dates have dated in the last year or two since the book was published, it is easy to look at the publishing date of the book which is 2006 and add a year or two on. The key part is the range of styles and the point that Michael is making when comparing the wines.

Thankfully Michael has included a set of maps in this book, which while not the best maps I have reviewed, they are at least there. There is nothing worse than trying to check where a region is and have to use other books for maps.

All in all I like this book, it fits my type of wine reference book - factual, to the point, thorough but also moreish. So top marks to Michael Schuster. I rate this book 91 out of 100 and is a must have for someone wanting a very good book on wine tasting.

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