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A Toast to Bargain Wines: How Innovators, Iconoclasts, and Winemaking Revolutionaries Are Changing the Way the World Drinks Paperback – November 15, 2011

11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"One of today's finest wine journalists, GeorgeTaber once again gets the scoop before it hits the headlines. First it was the JUDGMENT OF PARIS. Now it's the news that, amid all the woes ofthe Great Recession, there's one thing worth celebrating: more great wine onthe market at bargain prices than anyone ever thought imaginable. A TOAST TO BARGAIN WINES tells you why--andwhere to find them."
--Tilar Mazzeo, author of The Widow Clicquot

“A timely, interesting, educational approach to today’s wine picture. Wine still makes a feast out of a meal, but in times of not so plenty we will enjoy a bottle that is more reasonable. This tome is a must-read for wine lovers as well as the trade.”

--Margrit Mondavi, Vice President of Cultural Affairs at Robert Mondavi Winery

“There's been a mutiny in the wine world, and for years, George Taber has been camped out in the trenches with the contrarians who have been drinking snobbery under the table: the rogue masters of wine, the behavioral neuroscientists, the bargain-wine tycoons, the guerrilla consumer advocates. With the intimate precision of a world-class journalist, Taber has woven their stories together into a larger narrative about the demise of conventional wisdom in an industry that has been dominated by dusty elitism for centuries. This book is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand wine's newly changed landscape—or who simply wants to drink better for less.”
--Robin Goldstein, author of The Wine Trials and director of the Center for Sensory Economics at the Culinary Institute of America

"A must-read for wine enthusiasts, especially those on a budget." --Kirkus

About the Author

George M. Taber is the author of Judgment of Paris, the 2006 wine book of the year for Britain's Decanter magazine. His second book, To Cork or Not to Cork, won the Jane Grigson Award from the International Association of Culinary Professionals and was a finalist for the James Beard Foundation Award for best book on wine and spirits and the Andre Simon Award for best wine book. Before turning to writing wine books, Taber was a reporter and editor for Time.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (November 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439195188
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439195185
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #581,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

George M. Taber is the author of Judgment of Paris, which recounts the story of the famous 1976 event when unknown California wines defeated top French ones. Taber was the only journalist present at that turning point in the history of wine. Taber's second book, To Cork or Not to Cork, won the Jane Grigson Award from the International Association of Culinary Professionals, and was a finalist for the James Beard Award for best book on wine and alcohol and the Andrew Simon Award for best wine book. Before turning to writing wine books, Taber was a reporter and editor with Time magazine for twenty-one years, based in Bonn, Paris, Houston, and New York.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By MTV in Atlanta on February 29, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just finished this book and definitely enjoyed all the insights about the various companies offering bargain wines. The suggestions for bargain wines in the back 1/3 of the book will be an interesting guide in helping us fine some good everyday drinkers that won't break the bank. I did think the book was a little disjointed however, jumping from topic to topic in a somewhat haphazard way, and some of the details on exactly HOW wineries buy bulk grapes and juice and yet make a consistent product would have been helpful. Overall though, a good read, and I feel more informed about the true breadth of the wine industry and the players that have helped make decent wine available to a broader swath of the population.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on September 6, 2012
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I have been confused by all the types of wines and needed some guidance. This book helped me to understand the wine business, the history and especially the people behind what you finally taste in your glass. I finally found out what I really enjoy and why. The big news to me was the Box Wines. Read this slowly and enjoy it just as you do with what you drink!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By RLL on December 11, 2011
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This book is not unsimilar to Wine Trials 2011. But happily the various esseys are on somewhat different subjects. The reviews of wines is also done differently. Inexpensive and a fun read.
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Format: Paperback
George M. Taber, made famous in the wine world for writing about how Napa winemaking beat out France in the infamous Judgment of Paris tasting, has a new offering, it would seem, for those of us thwarted in our wine buying by the current economic woes felt nationwide, in his book A Toast to Bargain Wines.

For me, having been blessed with a well-stocked cellar, and unsolicited wines to review, I have to tell it to you straight right now: I’m not buying [ yellow tail ] after reading this book, but I was amazed to learn so much about the maverick winemakers behind the popular brands, the up and comers and some behind-the-scenes stories…enough so that I wanted to give you a sip:

Glen Ellen, which happened to be my wedding wine in 1986, was one of the first wineries to list the grape variety name on the label (ours was the Chardonnay) and is credited, among a few other wines in the 80s, when diners stopped ordering a glass of white wine and began to ask for a glass of Chardonnay.

And a few interesting words about wine judging.: Taber writes that a study by the Journal of Wine Economics showed that out of over 2400 wines entered in more than three wine judging contests, 47 percent received gold medals – but 84 percent of those never received another award in any other contest. Several conclusions were drawn, but, of note for me as a wannabe judge: the contrast by the Lodi International Wine Awards – where judges are given more time to evaluate each wine and are not allowed to speak to others.

You should be able to find Black Box wines at Cost Plus World Market (on the Old Road in Stevenson Ranch for locals) that has done well with its own tally of 15 gold medals and some scores up to the high 80s from the Wine Spectator.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My goodness, to have tried all those wines Mr. Taber must have a liver the size of a large watermelon. That aside, though, the book is entertaining, even if sometimes self-contradictory (here dismissing awards as meaningless, and there citing them as evidence for this or that wine). My own experience with a couple of the many wines he recommends did not square with his (I found them pretty much undrinkable, though both are very widely available: an Oak Leaf Cab Sauv and a Barefoot Cellars Chardonnay), but perhaps it is unfair to judge from one sample of each of the bargain-bin wines. Still, I'd take his recommendations with a grain of salt, even while wanting to keep an eye open for some of the names he discusses.

For a wildly contrasting point of view, let me recommend Grape-A-Hol: http://www.amazon.com/Grape-Hol-Business-Subverting-Winemaking/dp/1457510308 . And for a wide and fun perspective on the industry, Wine Wars (by a wine economist!): http://www.amazon.com/Wine-Wars-Miracle-Revenge-Terroirists/dp/0742568202 . Anyway, I read A Toast to Bargain Wines all the way through until near the end, where I skimmed or skipped over wine-producing regions I'm less interested in. For whatever it is worth, I'm finding that twenty- or thirty-dollar-a-bottle artisan wines from local wineries (the greater Sacramento, California, area is blessed with an abundance of them, from the Valley to the Sierra Foothills) offer a very different (more interesting, rewarding) experience even from relatively good widely distributed bargain wines. I am coming around to the view that life is too short for cheap wine (or at least, for an exclusive preference for cheap wine).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jim on March 19, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought one of these for myself and after reviewing it, I bought two more for my friends. They gave me great feedback, just as I suspected.
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