any book recs for a wine lover?
My wine books of the year are
To Cork or Not to Cork by George Taber, a very readable, well researched and balanced book about closures that anyone interested in this subject -- and who here isn't -- should read.
First Big Crush by Eric Arnold about a wild young American man learning about wine by working unpaid for a year in a NZ winery. Language and excessive drinking might offend some but I laughed out loud in places.
This New York Times article from yesterday listed some books I don't often hear mentioned:
"Andrew Jefford’s Wine Course, by Andrew Jefford (Ryland Peters & Small, $29.95), takes a poetically inspirational tour of wines around the world. Mr. Jefford, a British writer whose book “The New France” (Mitchell Beazley, 2006) was terrifically insightful, seems more concerned here with the romantic potential of wine than its humdrum reality.
"Jancis Robinson offers a newly revised edition of her 2001 book How to Taste: A Guide to Enjoying Wine (Simon & Schuster, $26). It is indeed about critical tasting, rather than pleasure drinking, yet many of the skills Ms. Robinson teaches can become part of the unconscious routine of enjoying wine, ultimately enhancing the pleasure.
"American readers may be more comfortable with more focus on the local. WineWise: Your Complete Guide to Understanding, Selecting and Enjoying Wine (Wiley, $29.95), by Steven Kolpan, Brian H. Smith and Michael A. Weiss, places far more emphasis on New World wines and attitudes.
"John Winthrop Haeger, who wrote the prematurely exhaustive book “North American Pinot Noir” in 2003, now offers a comprehensive supplement, Pacific Pinot Noir (University of California Press, $21.95).
Mr. Haeger offers a useful discussion of the evolution of pinot noir in the last few years, along with profiles of more than 200 pinot noir producers in California and Oregon. I especially appreciate that Mr. Haeger indicates his own favorite winemakers, to get a sense of his tastes in an otherwise dispassionate work.
"Corkscrewed: Adventures in the New French Wine Country, by Robert V. Camuto (University of Nebraska Press, $24.95), is a slender volume with little obvious utility. Yet, to paraphrase the merchant and writer Kermit Lynch, an obvious model for this book, it inspires thirst and curiosity. Just as a trip around the French countryside reveals dozens of dishes that never make it to French restaurants in the United States, Mr. Camuto’s adventures will introduce readers to little-known French wines like Domaine Borrely-Martin of Provence, Château Mossé of Roussillon and Domaine des Tres Cantous of Gaillac, and to the passionate individuals that persevere despite the absence of monetary reward."
Sophia, you have gotten some very good suggestions so far, but it might help a bit if you could tell us what kind of wine(s) she is interested in, and/or how experienced she is. For example, there are wine books geared for beginners as well as for those who have been "into" wine for 25 years . . . there are wine books, for example, on the science of wine, or on terroir -- it may sound boring to some, but to others, it's actually quite fascinating! There are books on specific countries (France, New Zeland, Australia, Spain, and so on); on specific kinds of wines (for example, Champagne, Bordeaux, Chianti, West Coast Pinot Noir, and so on); as well as books that focus only on one type of grape regardless of where it might be grown (Pinot Noir, Riesling, etc.). So, a bit of information about your friend and her interests might be helpful . . .
That said, let me add my comments about the two wine books already mentioned:
"Adventures on the Wine Route" is the wonderful story of Kermit Lynch (the "grandfather" of the small, premium wine importer) and his search of fine wines. It's true, but it's also romantic, and a fun read -- almost like a "summer beach" novel, except that it's non-fiction.
"The Oxford Companion to Wine" is an excellent reference book -- not necessarily a book one reads from cover to cover, but one that people of all levels of experience will refer to again and again . . .
You may want to also look at something like "Great Wines Made Simple," by Andrea Immer Robinson -- again, a more basic book, perhaps, but one experienced people often refer to. Or something like "The World Atlas of Wine" by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson -- filled with maps of just about every wine region in the world, it really gives you a sense of what makes THIS place special, as opposed to THAT place over there . . .