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Nov 1, 2006 07:51 PM

Wine guide - or is this o/t?

I'm looking for a good, readily available wine-buying guide as a birthday gift for a friend. Any recommendations?

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  1. Oz Clarke's Pocket Wine Guide 2007?

    1. It very much depends on the vinous background of the friend. What is it?

      1. A friend gave me once as a gift a "Wine for Dummies" guide (that was the actual name, if I remember correctly).
        The chapter on "White Wine" began saying: "Don't expect white wine to be white as milk. It's rather of a yellow-greenish color".
        If that fits with your friend's wine background, then by all means...

        2 Replies
        1. re: RicRios


          Wow, I've heard of talking down to a reader before, but that takes things to new levels. I can highly, highly recommend Great Wine Made Simple by Andrea Immer Robinson. She has a very approachable writing style, there's LOTS of learning by tasting all the way through the book. The first tasting concentrates on what she calls the Big Six (the six varieties ofgrapes that make up 80 percent of wine consumed), and what makes each one different fron the next. The next few tastings go into mysterious wine words, such as what makes wines dry, crisp, oaky, or tannic. Each of these is presented by tasting two of the same varietal of wine; first one that doesn't show the characteristic (for example, an off-dry Riesling), then one that does (a drier Riesling). It really gives your taste buds a good perspective.

          1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

            I agree with the Andrea Immer Robinson books as great places to learn about wine, as they are "learn by doing," courses.

            Another good reference book - encyclopedia, is Wine Lover's Companion, by Herbst & Herbst, Barron's ISBN 0-8120-1479-0. This is NOT a course on wine, but a good, concise reference.

            Actually, the Wines For Dummies, impressed me. I had received a copy years ago, and it languished on the book shelf for some years. After reading nearly every other volume in my library, I picked it up - expecting the worst. After one gets past the title, and a few of the intended (I think) bits of humor, it is a surprisinly useful book, especially for one beginning their journey into wine.

            As for an actual "Buying Guide," both the Wine Spectator's Ultimate Guide to Buying Wine, Wine Spectator Press, ISBN 1-881659-50-X and Robert Parker, Jr's Parker's Wine Buyer's Guide, Fireside Books/Simon & Schuster, ISBN 0-684-80014-4 are very good for purchasing the wines listed in the particular volumne that you acquire. One caveat: if one does not like the critiques of wines by either the WS, or Parker, then they probably will not find either useful. OTOH, both cover many, many past vintages of most producers/regions, plus those released just before the particular volumne was printed.


        2. I love this book. I received the most recent edition of it as a gift. It is easy to read yet provides detailed information, and even after doing the tastings, I find it useful to refer back to.

          1. She also has a pocket buyer's guide out there.