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Great Wine Made Simple: Straight Talk from a Master Sommelier Hardcover – September 27, 2005

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Frequently Bought Together

Great Wine Made Simple: Straight Talk from a Master Sommelier + The Wine Bible + The World Atlas of Wine
Price for all three: $73.63

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 326 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; Revised edition (September 27, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767904788
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767904780
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,003 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

About one-third of the way through Andrea Immer's Great Wine Made Simple, the author recounts an anecdote that could serve as the book's theme--alligator, rabbit, and squab were all introduced to her the same way: "Tastes like chicken." And as demonstrated by Immer, who went from debentures to de Rothschild when she quit Morgan Stanley to eventually oversee the 50,000-bottle cellar at Manhattan's famed Windows on the World, the leap from pigeon to Pichon-Lalande is analogous: teaching novice wine drinkers what to expect is what her book, aptly subtitled "Straight Talk from a Master Sommelier", is all about.

With emphasis on her "Big Six" varietals--Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon--this "Immer-sion" class of tastings lets amateur sippers differentiate the typical qualities of each, while illustrating wine terms such as dry, crisp, oaky, and tannic. Practical advice abounds; one chapter devotes itself to finding useful info on a wine label while avoiding "Stupid Label Tricks," those bits of puffery or unfamiliar flavors (how many have actually tasted lychee or red currant?) that can be confusing the average buyer. And her "Flavor Map" concept--dividing the wine world into three climate zones--eschews memorization in favor of some rudimentary geography.

Throughout, her pronunciation guides are accurate and personable ("If you're pronouncing 'Riesling' right you have to smile."); and she provides a great postgraduate curriculum of buying strategies, including the pros and cons of wine shops versus your nearest Costco; and a consumer advisory about restaurant's "award-winning wine lists." --Tony Mason --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“Andrea Immer makes wine education simple and fun. One of America’s bestsommeliers has written one of the year’s best wine books!”—Robert G. Mondavi

“Without doubt the finest introduction to wine tasting and food and wine pairing I have read. This book is an excellent addition to the libraries of both professionals and aficionados.”—Frederick Dame, M.S., president, Court of Master Sommeliers

“Well organized, succinct, clear, and precise are the adjectives that best describe this Cartesian book on wines. Great Wine Made Simple will educate you without boring you and will lead you joyfully and expertly through the intricate world of the master sommelier.”—Claudine Pépin and Jacques Pépin

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Customer Reviews

I received this book over a year ago as a gift.
Amazon Customer
Andrea Immer's book actually concentrates on how to taste wine, using all your senses, and what specifically to look for in the color, nose, and flavor.
A Reviewer
Very easy to follow and fun to read, this is THE perfect book for the novice wine enthusiast.
Claude Daigle

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

171 of 176 people found the following review helpful By "lizzharmon" on November 1, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book is about the fifth or sixth book on this subject I have purchased in recent years. It's the first one that speaks to me like the novice I am. It's direct, it's easy reading, it's simple to follow, and it tells you what you need to know to be comfortable ordering wine in a restaurant, or buying it in a store. It's not full of high-brow rhetoric thrown in to impress the reader. It's entry level stuff -- information that you don't have to be a connoisseur to understand. For me, since I like wine but have no interest in becoming some sort of wine snob, this book gave me exactly what I needed to have a handle on what I'm buying. As far as what wine goes with what, and how it is served, it's all in there. If you want to get up to speed in layman's terms, this is the book to get. I thank Immer for writing it. A sommelier I'm not; I'm just a consumer who wanted a basic understanding of the subject, and I got it from this book... finally.
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83 of 83 people found the following review helpful By drdebs on January 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
If so, you should seriously consider buying this book for yourself, and for any friends who might have the same goal. I have enjoyed wine for a number of years, but have not ventured forth much from the cabernet-merlot-chardonnay rut because it all seemed so overwhelming. You go to the wine store and signs give wines different points from different people for wines you've never heard of and can't pronounce.
Enter Andrea Immer, the sassy and straightforward Master Sommelier! Immer makes wine approachable, fun, and stimulating. Through a variety of different techniques (comparison tasting, old world wines vs. new world wines, flavor maps, and varietal information) Immer will open up your wine world and give you the confidence to sally forth to your local wine shop and ask for a Gruner Veltliner (she also tells you how to pronounce it!)to go with your chicken dinner. She also totally demystifies the restaurant wine list and tells you how to make good and economical choices from it.
There is no pretention at all in this book. Ms. Immer is not a wine snob, nor does she make wine into some obscure chemical and gastronomical science. She knows her stuff so well she can make is simple for you, me and everybody else who would like to buy a $10 bottle of wine and find it is reasonably tasty.
By the way, friends much more expert than myself have confessed that they bought the book and found a great deal of information that was helpful to them, too, so this book is not just for wine beginners.
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55 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Stjepan on March 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I hope that this is the first and the last time that I write a review for a book before reading it in it's entirety. Actually I feel that I have to prevent other people from buying it in Kindle version. Reason?! Text of the book which is, I have to admit by now, extremely well written and nicely presented, is at the same time frequently followed by tables and lists with comparisons which are almost illegible in Kindle version. Option to zoom the page doesn't help either while text in tables is rather pale and can cause you only frustration and eye fatigue. By now I would have given 5 stars for the content and 1 star for how it is packaged. Seriously, everyone who bought this product via whisper-net should be reimbursed because none deserves to pay almost 19$ to get effectively 80% of the clear original content and 20% of reading frustration. Unfortunately I had no luck to be warned by someone else before buying the product. Do what you like but spare your money and DO NOT BUY IT IN KINDLE VERSION!!
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55 of 60 people found the following review helpful By richard ryan on November 29, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I have been in the wine business for many years, and have read all the standard texts. This is a great one. The "flavor map" and the new world/old world distinction will help anyone select good wine whether from the neighborhood store or from a resturant. Ms. Immer removes much of the mystique and snobbishness that often is associated with wine, and presents the subject simply and honestly. Her knowledge and enthusiasm is evident on every page.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By chris meesey Food Czar on July 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Here it is at last! Andrea Immer, herself a master sommelier, has written the definitive guide to selecting, buying, and ultimately, enjoying wine. Her approach is unique: limit her discussions to the Big Six varietals: riesling, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, pinot noir, merlot, and cabernet sauvignon, which together account for the vast majority of wine sales in the world today, and proceed accordingly. (Hopefully, in future editions, she will include more discussion on those fast-rising varietals pinot grigio and shiraz.) She proceeds through discussions of tasting and paring with food, as does any other good wine-buying guide. What makes Ms. Immer's approach unique is that she MAKES WINE FUN!!! In doing this, she's going against the grain of centuries of wine snobbery and elitism. She believes wine should be demystified and its joys revealed TO EVERYONE, not just a select few who can afford $50-$100 a bottle. She does this by including unique wine tasting exercises, such as pairing wines with their opposites to give a clear understanding of the concept. (Example: dry riesling tasted with sweet riesling so the reader can immediatly see the difference.) She also includes plenty of names of sample wines you can test with, including many low-priced bottles. In short, her vision, clarity, and above all, SENSE OF HUMOR make this a must-read for everyone interested in wine who detests snobbery and pretension.
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