Top positive review
72 people found this helpful
Chock full of good advice
on November 2, 2010
Let's start with the worst part of this book: the title. I had to hold my nose and buy it despite the horrible do it yourself, self improvement/self congratulatory vibe of that clumsy moniker. But don't let that keep you from buying this informative and entertaining book, whether you are in the wine trade, a serious amateur, or just a wanna be.
Ed Anderson's excellent photography is one of the draws. There are some really stunning portraits of Dominique Lafon, Jean-Marc Roulot, Freddy Mugnier, Etienne de Montille and others.
Another plus is the collection of biographical sketches of a number of high profile sommeliers -- Larry Stone, Rajat Parr, Daniel Johnnes, Kevin Zraly and others. It's always interesting to read how other people found their true calling.
But the most valuable part of the book is the common sense advice about buying wine, where to find it, and how to cellar and serve it; along with insights into the day to day joys, trials and tribulations of the folks who serve the stuff up in tony restaurants across the land. There are brief profiles of the great wine grapes and the best examples of each -- pinot noir, cabernet, merlot, cabernet franc, and so on. A discussion of the pros and cons of buying wine at auction, and how to find the best deals by avoiding the 'blue chip' names and vintages and using your wine knowledge to get value for money. A discussion of wine and food matching. How to pick your way through a restaurant wine list to find the hidden treasures to be found in just about every good list.
A number of reviewers here appear offended that the book strongly emphasizes the wines of Burgundy. If that bothers you, I suppose you should stay away. If that emphasis doesn't trouble you, or if it might even be a draw, as it is for me, then by all means pick up a copy.
It's a fun ride. Well worth reading. And apparently I'm not alone in that view - this just won a James Beard Foundation award for one of the best food and wine books of the year.