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The Wine Trials: 100 Everyday Wines Under $15 that Beat $50 to $150 Wines in Brown-Bag Blind Tastings Paperback – May 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Fearless Critic Media (May 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0974014354
  • ISBN-13: 978-0974014357
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.3 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,200,064 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Might rattle a few wine snobs, but the average oenophile can rejoice. --Newsweek Magazine

About the Author

ROBIN GOLDSTEIN is the founder and editor-in-chief of the Fearless Critic series. He has authored four books of restaurant reviews and has written for more than 30 Fodor's travel guides around the world, from Italy to Thailand, Argentina to Hong Kong. Robin is a graduate of Harvard University and Yale Law School, and has a certificate in cooking from the French Culinary Institute and a WSET advanced wine and spirits certificate.

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More About the Author

Robin Goldstein is the author of The Wine Trials, the world's bestselling guide to inexpensive wines, and is founder and editor-in-chief of the Fearless Critic series. He has lectured on wine and behavioral economics around the world, and is also a contributor to the New York Times Freakonomics blog. He has authored six books of restaurant reviews and has written for more than 30 Fodor's travel guides, from Italy to Thailand, Argentina to Hong Kong. Robin is a graduate of Harvard University and the Yale Law School, and has a certificate in cooking from the French Culinary Institute in New York and a WSET advanced wine and spirits certificate.

You can visit his blog at http://blindtaste.com.

Customer Reviews

It is easy reading, informative and well organized.
David Smith
Very interesting book that shows some wines that are very expensive are not as good as the low priced ones.
Nicki Fairbanks
Blind taste tests prove it, and it's all in this book!
J. Shelton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Linc on June 22, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you have ever walked into a grocery or liquor store to buy a bottle of wine and felt completely at a loss as to what's worth trying and what's not this is the book for you.

Pros: Large selection of wines under $15.00 taste-tested by over 500 volunteers. There is a section which ranks the taste-tested wines within each wine category and another alphabetical section which assigns a one-page review for each taste-tested wine. If you are into it, there are several sections on the background of and process used for the taste-testing.

Cons: The book is too big to slip in your pocket and use unobtrusively when actually shopping for wine. An included tear-sheet or separate quick-guide listing the wines ranked within each category would be helpful.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Will Kilbourne on June 29, 2008
Format: Paperback
The strongest aspect of this book is its wry, irreverent destruction of the myths propagated by the self-appoInted oenologists of the world. I was personally gratified to discover on their list as under five dollars a favorite in our household, Crane Lake Sauvignon Blanc, for which I was once charged eighteen dollars in a restaurant - an extravagant markup typical in the States and made issue of in the text. Like many in this world, I am sure, I am also grateful to be able now to ask for a bottle of Freixenet with absolute certainty as to its pronunciation, as well as with knowledge of the difference brut and extra dry. All in all The Wine Trials makes buying wine, especially when it is to be served to guests, both reassuring and more fun.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By a reader on July 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
The best thing about this book for the beginner is that it gives you a lot of wines to choose from that should be easy to find and enjoy. In the past I either wasn't able to track a particular wine down, or once found, hesitated to pay the asking price given the mixed results I'd had to date. As a result I didn't find many wines I liked.

So far, I've tried a half dozen wines recommended in the book and been very happy with them. They were a lot better than the random choices I made from the same grocery store shelves. All in all a good place for the novice to start.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By William J. Mertens on September 27, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Robin Goldstein is a gadfly. He's notorious for submitting a wine menu from a fictitious restaurant to Wine Spectator magazine and earning the magazine's "Award of Excellence." Yet the "reserve wine list" from his menu listed wines earning some of the lowest scores from the magazine over the previous 20 years.

"The Wine Trials" takes on the commonly used 50- to 100-point wine rating system. Goldstein asks whether the ratings are biased by price, label, and advertising. His tests show that they are, sometimes hugely.

Goldstein wanted to know how cheaper wines - below $15 - rated against more expensive ones, in the $50 to $150 range, and each other in blind, brown-bag tastings. Over several months in 2007 and 2008, he held tastings of 560 wines for everyday wine drinkers and experts. Many of the cheap wines excelled and surpassed the expensive ones.

The result is a set of ranked lists of 100 wines for under $15 by general type -- heavy red, light red, heavy white, light white, etc. -- and by location -- Europe and the "New World" (the Americas, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand). Each of the ranked wines also gets its own description. I've tried several of the top-ranked wines, and they are delicious, some from small, unadvertised labels and some from big producers.

As a buying guide, this is a very useful book, by far the most useful I've seen in a long time. Goldstein's jaundiced look at the wine business, especially the conventional wine rating business, is a bonus.

The book doesn't pretend to be anything like Karen MacNeil's "The Wine Bible" or others in that category. You won't find here detailed descriptions of individual wine grapes, wine growing regions, famous bottlers, characteristics of the terroir, or that kind of information.
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44 of 55 people found the following review helpful By winepal on March 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
I have two major problems with this book. The first is based on the author's methodology: though the authors firmly believe that price and quality of wine are not strongly related, the expensive wines offered for comparison in blind tests were chosen at random, with price being the only criterion (ie. the expensive wines offered for comparison were not selected at all based on their quality). Second, the title states that the inexpensive wines listed in the book beat out the more expensive wines. But once you read the book, the author's clearly state that this was not the case for the portion of the study group comprised of experienced wine drinkers. In fact, these drinkers preferred the more expensive wines. So although most people can not tell the difference between cheap and expensive wine (and may even prefer cheap wine), people who know wine can tell the difference and prefer more high end wine, even in blind taste tests. I don't really care what most people think, only what i think. And based on sampling several of the top rated wines from this book, i strongly recommend that you not waste your money. I should say, however, that the authors' basic premise is valid - that blind tasting is the only way to judge a wine solely based on how it tastes. And i agree that it should be a part of every wine drinkers experience.
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