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How to Taste: A Guide to Enjoying Wine Hardcover – November 25, 2008


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How to Taste: A Guide to Enjoying Wine + The World Atlas of Wine + The Wine Bible
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Rev Upd edition (November 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416596658
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416596653
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 6.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,232 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Whether Montessori or Merlot, kindergarten or Cabernet, the importance of a good instructor during the formative years is crucial. That's why newcomers to the world of wine could do a lot worse than having a corkscrew in one hand and a copy of Jancis Robinson's How to Taste in the other. A revision of 1983's Masterglass and published in the U.K. under the superior title Jancis Robinson's Wine-Tasting Workbook, How to Taste is a primer by a certified Master of Wine and star of the PBS series Jancis Robinson's Wine Course. From acidity to Australian Shiraz, oak to Oregon Pinot, Robinson delivers chapters of information and theory, intermingled with shaded "Practice" exercises, presented in a style as off-dry as one of the author's beloved Rieslings (the tannin in a lesser vintage Barolo is "like sucking on a matchstick"). Sometimes tuition at Jancis U. runs high: the lesson on sugar/acid balance culminates with expensive Sauterne "Practice." And even if Robinson risks, by dropping words like "charred" and "umami" early in the book, sending novices back to tear open a fresh box of Franzia, vinous virgins are encouraged to stick with it. By the time they get to the glossary at book's end, they'll be identifying wines at blind tastings with professional accuracy--which, Robinson encouragingly reveals, and she ought to know, is about 50 percent. --Tony Mason --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Perhaps the most talented of the world's wine writers...[with a] seemingly infinite ability to fashion informative, accurate books that are essential reading." -- Robert M. Parker, Jr.

"The woman who makes the wine world gulp when she speaks...as unpretentious as Beaujolais Nouveau." -- Jerry Shriver, USA Today

"I have watched her slowly tighten her grip on the wine world with awe...Don't be fooled by her twinkling television persona; her serious purpose is to open the wine world to all comers, at all levels. In the process she has become a household name -- for good." -- Hugh Johnson

"The Julia Child of wine." -- Peter M. Gianotti, Newsday

"She is simply the best wine writer working today. No one else comes close to Robinson's combination of tasting acuity, prolific and authoritative writing, and wit." -- Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar

"A thorough, no-nonsense approach to unlocking some of the mysteries of appreciating and enjoying wine." -- Frank Prial, The New York Times

"For those who want to learn how to taste wine, the Robinson approach is hard to beat!" -- Gerald D. Boyd, San Francisco Chronicle

"By a long measure the best wine writer in the world." -- Paul Levy, The Wall Street Journal

More About the Author

One of a handful of wine communicators with an international reputation, Jancis Robinson writes daily for JancisRobinson.com (voted first-ever Wine Website of the Year in the Louis Roederer International Wine Writers Awards 2010), weekly for The Financial Times, and bi-monthly for a column that is syndicated around the world. She is also editor of The Oxford Companion to Wine, co-author with Hugh Johnson of The World Atlas of Wine, co-author of Wine Grapes - A complete guide to 1,368 vine varieties, including their origins and flavours, each of these books recognized as a standard reference worldwide.

An award-winning TV presenter, she is invited all over the world to conduct wine events and act as a wine judge. In 1984 she was the first person outside the wine trade to pass the rigorous Master of Wine exams and in 2003 she was awarded an OBE by Her Majesty the Queen, on whose cellar she now advises.

She loves and lives for wine in all its glorious diversity, generally favouring balance and subtlety over sheer mass.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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This book is very informative at many levels.
Kenneth A. Kaiser
I'm training to be a sommelier right now and I went and got this book and my teacher was so impressed that she went and got one.
MissWine
This book is for anyone who wants to taste and enjoy more wine.
arusin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

140 of 141 people found the following review helpful By Bevetroppo on May 10, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
See the Amazon review dated September 29, 2001 for an excellent treatment of this book.
Since I first became interested in blind wine tasting almost 25 years ago, I have searched for a book that provided a complete and authoritative guide to describing the taste of different wines and grapes-a reference point or sounding board, if you will, against which to calibrate my own impressions. Never mind that the essence of blind tasting and the apprehension of quality depend on forming your own innate vocabulary of scents and flavors. There have been many times when I have struggled, and have just wanted an expert to tell me what the heck a textbook Crozes-Hermitage, for example, is supposed to taste like.
Jancis Robinson's Guide To Wine Tasting is an excellent contribution to this subject for beginners. I didn't realize until around page 150 that the book had originally been published in 1983 under the somewhat unfortunate title, Masterglass, but I think we can forgive her this youthful indulgence. Because over time, she has truly become the heir apparent to mantle of most prolific British wine commentator, eclipsing my other English heroes Michael Broadbent, Hugh Johnson, and Clive Coates. With multiple books, a TV show, videos, a weekly column, a new DVD and a website ... she is, to paraphrase wine newcomer Howard Stern, the Queen of All Wine Media.
This book systematically lays out the factors that contribute to the taste of a wine, and how to appreciate them. It follows the model of a "wine course," in that each chapter combines theory and practice, the practice consisting of specific instructions of what wines to try that best illustrate the principles being taught.
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89 of 93 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover
If you decide to read only one book about wine tasting, you can happily make it this one.
Unless you have tasted many wines, chances are that you have not yet found the 20 wines you would like the most in your price range. If you are like me, you don't want to spend thousands of dollars to locate wines you would like better than what you now drink. What can you do? Read this book, and start tasting along with some adventuresome friends!
In the mid-1970s, I was fortunate to work for Heublein which made and imported many fine wines. At dozens of tastings, I was introduced to hundreds of superb wines and had a chance to buy them very inexpensively. From that rich experience, I have been given the opportunity to select wines at many great restaurants and many social occasions. People always marvel at how much I know about wines.
Can I let you in on a little secret? If you use the process in How to Taste, you will probably exceed my wine knowledge in a few months. What's the reason? Well, I haven't tasted geographically as widely as this book suggests. I know a great deal about French, German, and California wines but relatively little about those coming from other locales. In fact, I plan to use this remarkable book to guide myself into a broadened palate.
Jancis Robinson is a wonderful wine tasting resource. She obviously knows her stuff. She breaks the most complicated issues down into simple, constituent pieces that can be easily grasped. She knows how to give you the experiences you need to find wines you will like better with a minimum of effort and expense. And she writes well, so the words go down easily.
Each chapter has theory and practice sections, along with tasting exercises (sometimes of common foods rather than wines).
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65 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Bill Marsano on October 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Jancis Robinson has so many credits I've given up on them. I simply call her the high wine priestess of Britain. That might seem intimidating, but fear not. For all her encyclopedic mind, Robinson delights in passing her knowledge on (as distinct from the kind of person who won't share for fear other people will know something too). Some wine writers like to bully and mystify their readers, but Robinson has her ego under control. She'd rather make new friends for wine than just about anything else except drink the stuff.
And so she is the perfect guide for learning <how> to taste: how to focus on and identify--and later describe--the layers of aroma and flavor wines contain; how to remember them so you can compare in the future; how to match them with food; how to get interesting insights from tea cups and a mouthful of toothpaste.
I said "really short" and I mean it. In the past two years I've seen a handful of books for wine beginners that ought to have been <weighed.> Robinson gives you about 200 pages--pretty small pages, too, with plenty of excellent and informative illustrations. Moreover, this book isn't necessarily for beginners. Most people <haven't> been taught how to taste effectively. And that means there are plenty of serious wine amateurs around who know a great deal about wine except how to taste it.
This book will open your eyes and reward your taste buds.
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Bill Marsano is a contributing editor of Hemispheres, United Airlines' in-flight magazine, for which he often writes on wines and spirits. One of his Hemispheres articles won him a James Beard medal in 1999.
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