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How to Love Wine: A Memoir and Manifesto Hardcover – October 16, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Wine fanatics, or those angling for entry to the world of wine, will find comfort in New York Times chief wine critic Asimov’s down-to-earth discussion of loving wine. His approach welcomes all, untangling the preposterous hype around wine scores, blind tastings, and memorizing grape varietals, aspects that supposedly separate the masters from the rest. But readers expecting some handy checklist should look elsewhere. Asimov wants to challenge readers. Answers do come, though, while he considers his own unlikely path from casual drinker to the powerful industry voice he has become. And while much of his story strays from wine, what’s really special here is that Asimov’s argument not only makes so much sense but that he doesn’t take the easy way out, letting wine drinkers off the hook to drink whatever simply tastes good. He values any opinion, as long as it comes with thoughtful reasoning. Moreover, what he argues is most essential for a relationship with wine, and what’s most refreshing to read, is an approach free of anxiety and open to love. --Casey Bayer

Review

James Beard Foundation Book Award Nominee for the the Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America Inductee (No Source)

James Beard Foundation Book Award Nominee for Beverages (No Source)

“A wonderfully intimate memoir-cum-manifesto from a writer comfortable with his own ability as a wine writer who’s not afraid to say it as it is. . . . One of the more enjoyable and fluid wine books to read all year.” (Jancis Robinson)

“Wine aficionados are always bickering among themselves. . . . In his delicious new book, New York Times chief wine critic Eric Asimov cuts through all of this background noise and reminds us of the elemental and undeniable fact that wine is ... sheer pleasure.” (Oregon Live)

“Eric Asimov sees through the snobby froth of 100-point scores and tutti-frutti tasting notes to the realities of wine, ‘staple grocery and occasional star,’ as he calls it. How to become America’s most trusted wine critic? Read it here.” (Hugh Johnson)

“In his highly personal, utterly unpretentious book, Asimov makes clear that the most important thing about wine is enjoyment. Any deeper understanding--and for him food, culture, farming, and more count for a lot--depends on it.” (Ed Behr)

“This book might have been titled A Healthy Dose of Fresh Air. How modestly and reasonably Asimov dares to slay the wine dragons. I reveled in each and every thrust and parry.” (Kermit Lynch)

“Excellent . . . [a] thoughtful read. . . . Like a crisp glass of Sancerre, How to Love Wine is an especially refreshing breeze through the hot air and pretension that’s so prevalent in wine culture.” (Sacramento Bee)

“A friendly, well-written approach to enjoying wine, full of low-stress recommendations to help avoid wine anxiety.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Forget the snooty trappings of wine connoisseurship—just drink up and enjoy, argues this simultaneously down–to–earth and romantic meditation…. Asimov sprinkles in lively reminiscences of his journalism career and the idiosyncratic culture of wine cognoscenti, and enchants and reassures by his warm savoring of the drinking experience.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Wine fanatics, or those angling for entry to the world of wine, will find comfort in…Asimov’s down–to–earth discussion of loving wine. Moreover, what he argues is most essential for a relationship with wine, and what’s most refreshing to read, is an approach free of anxiety and open to love.” (Booklist)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (October 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061802522
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061802522
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #755,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

ERIC ASIMOV is the chief wine critic of The New York Times, a position he assumed in June 2004 after having covered wine with The Times's tasting panel and in his Tastings column for the Dining section, and is also the interim chief restaurant critic for the Times. Asimov created the $25 and Under restaurant reviews in 1992 and wrote them through 2004. He is a co-author of "The New York Times Guide to Restaurants 2004," the fifth edition of the guide. He has also reviewed takeout food for The Times in his To Go column and has offered commentary on food and wine on WQXR since 1999. His freelance work previously appeared in Food and Wine, Details, and Martha Stewart Living. His first book, "$25 and Under: A Guide to the Best Inexpensive Restaurants in New York," was published annually by HarperCollins from 1995 to 1998. At The Times, he was editor of the Living section from 1991 to 1994 and editor of Styles of The Times from 1994 to 1995. Asimov is a graduate of Wesleyan University and did graduate work in American studies at the University of Texas at Austin. He is married to the editor of the New York Times Bestseller List, Deborah Hofmann, has two children, Jack and Peter, and lives in Manhattan.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Isaac Asimov's nephew may be an earthly writer of wine and "terroir" but his book "How to Love Wine" is just as entralling and exhilarating. Having experimented with marijuana in school where he first started his blind tastings - of beer - he became a writer for The New York Times, developing to a sort of wine iconoclast. He assures novice wine drinkers (and many experienced ones as well) that one does not live by Robert Parker alone. He tells the story of his friend's father, a Sicilian immigrant who quietly drinks his cheap wine in fruit glasses and was totally oblivious to what wine critics and connoisseurs might say about his choice of wine, based, entirely on price. The crucial point was, he loved his wine. If anyone disapproved, did he suffer? If anyone disagreed did he mind? Was his happiness and joy diminished by what others thought? Plainly, no. That man found the secret to happiness, it seemed. Asimov also eschewed fancy description of wine that made no sense, and often contradictory. He took a specific wine reviewed by three different reviewers and found that that it was like reading about three different wines. Pairing wine with food is a great part in the enjoyment of wine, but, he tells us, we should try it ourselves and take recommendations from experts, but not too seriously; and certainly without jettisoning our sense of adventure going against their wisdom. Cheers to the free spirit in us.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I expected to have to plow through some pomposity and name dropping, like I did through three of Jay McInerney's books, the payoff being the knowledge that the NY Times wine critic has to impart. This guy is so humble and down to earth it's shocking.

This truly is a book by someone who loves wine for people who want to know more about it/learn how to love it.

It is a quick and great read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Its subtitle claims this book is both a memoir and a manifesto. It would be a better book if it were one or the other. I wish it were memoir. I think everything Asimov wants to say about wine could have been said more effectively in the context of his own evolving experience with it, which is too thinly told. The manifesto part is needlessly repetitive. An editor should have sent him back to the drawing boards.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a terrific book on enjoying wine by a writer who draws very logical conclusions on the deliciousness of wine. Really loved the style of writing and thoughtful commentary. A must have for the folks that are learning and loving wine...Cheers!
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Keeps you captive with excellent story telling. A really great read. The discovery of the true essence of enjoying wine. A super gift for friends.
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I've read a number of wine books, and this is one of the most approachable of them all. He distills the experience of enjoying wine down to the very basics, and discounts much of the expert opinions which tend to intimidate the typical drinker. He makes it OK to enjoy wine for your own reasons, that it's more important than being able to pick out every aroma and flavor the wine may present. I highly recommend this, even for people with a high degree of wine knowledge. It helped me better communicate my love of wine to others, to avoid some of the expert jargon that just turns people away.
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A needed addition to my wine library. Wine as a window into a culture, as a way to better enjoy a meal, and as a wonderful excuse to share experiences with a friend.

Great summer read with a glass of yr favorite rose.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I met Eric Assimov at a wine shop in Durham, North Carolina several weeks ago. He was signing books at Wine Advocate, a local wine store.

Having joined the wine industry about four years ago, I am always interested in a literate and intelligent explanation of wine that is connected to the true joy and pleasure of tasting. Coming from a food background, the language of wine and all of its eccentricities can be as tainted as an old cork. Eric tells a beautiful story about falling in love with wine one variety at a time.

I read his book on my return trip from The Unified Wine and Grape Symposium that is held in Sacramento each year. It is the leading North American wine trade show.

Eric and I share a lot in common so it makes the words even tastier as he serves them up in his memoir. Both he and I are Jewish and roughly the same age. We both were raised in loving homes as he describes in his book. He talks about summer camp in New England although not the same Camp Winadu I attended. He matriculated at Wesleyan college which was my first choice although I was rejected in 1972. (I went to The University of Pennsylvania) He writes about many of the landmark cultural icons that I admire from Charlie Mingus to Calvin Trillin. Best of all, he learned to cook from his mom which is similar to my own culinary education.

He talks about wine in such an unassuming way that it really makes me even more excited to taste and explore my own preferences. One quote from the book asserts,

"Wine is for drinking, not for tasting".

He rails against the urge to use obscure tasting notes that dissect a wine in a clinical way that forgets it is something to enjoy.
Read more ›
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