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Windows on the World Complete Wine Course: 2009 Edition (Kevin Zraly's Complete Wine Course) Hardcover – October 7, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 112 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"* "One of the best start-from-scratch wine books ever written." - Frank Prial, The New York Times.
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Product Details

  • Series: Kevin Zraly's Complete Wine Course
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Sterling; 2009 Ed edition (October 7, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402757468
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402757464
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #861,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book is named after the restaurant "Windows on the World" (WotW) which was near the top of the World Trade Center (NYC). Although I had been to the top of the WTC many times, I never made it to WotW. I wish I had. If this book is any indication (especially the 2003 edition with stories and pictures about the restaurant itself), it must have been a wonderful experience.
For beginners, this book should be read after "Wine for Dummies" (WfD). I recommend WfD as the book to purchase if you only want one book. If you want two or more, which is very likely, the second one is this one, "Windows on the World Complete Wine Course" (WotWCWC). This book covers reds and whites, in depth, as well as a clearly diagrammed set of geography pictures and notes.
The author takes out much of the snobbishness of others, presenting a great deal of information in an attractive manner. This is great for the library as well as a book that can be laid out on a table for casual reading by guests.
There is a FAQ section towards the back that is very good. There are also some suggestions for starting your own collection and for those that want to make a restaurant wine list (which is also a must-read because some of it will apply to your own collection).
This book is a must-have for a wine library. Your guests will also appreciate it.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm a waiter. I have been for more years than I care to remember, to be honest. And, as a waiter, part of my job is to know a thing or two about wines. But of course, I don't know everything. I think the author of this book, Kevin Zraly, comes pretty close though, but his brilliance is not in showing you his knowledge. It's in doing so without talking down to you, or by dragging you through a long, academic book of endless facts and figures.
What Zraly does is write a clear, organized, knowledgeable, and often humorous look at wines, from Bordeaux to Zinfandel; from wine pouring methods to wine tasting methods; from Washington State to South Australia. All along it's an amazingly easy read. And while it is no doubt indispensable for those new to the wine game, it is vital for any of us who do know a lot about wine, but don't always remember all of it. What are the major white wine grapes from the Loire Valley? It's in there. What is the AOC, and how does it work? In there. What's the difference between a port and a sherry. All there.
This new updated version is miles better, and more picturesque than the old crappy 1988 edition I had been holding on to all this time. So glad I got this at Amazon. Even if I don't read it again, it's a great looking hard cover book at a great price!
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Format: Hardcover
My husband and I consider ourselves wine hobbyists - not really beginners - and we are getting a lot out of this book. Zraly packs a lot in, and it's all interesting stuff, from little known facts (did you know your nose can discern over 2,000 different smells?) to diagrams of the taste centers of your tongue, to discussions of the various wine regions in different countries, as well as the United States. What sold me on this book is the suggested wine buys for the well-stocked cellar (in the Appendix), where Zraly suggests wines you can easily find in various ranges: under [money] (everyday wines), [money] (once a week wines), [money] and up. Great suggestions from someone whose been in the business for years and loves it.
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By A Customer on September 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
What I enjoyed out of the book was the "best bets" recommendations for what vintage years to purchase for each wine/region. What I did not enjoy was that many of the wines Zraly recommends are in the high end range. I just looked up one of his favorite Cab. Sauv. from CA--it sells for $100. I found some of his terminology confusing--Burgundy is a region, yes, but then he switches around the terminology for areas w/n a region--Cote D'Or and Cote de Nuits w/n Cote D'or--sometimes refering to all of these as "regions". At one point he calls a Pouilly Fouisse a "quality level" of a Maconnais.??? In the Rhone Valley he talks about Chateauneuf du Pape, but does not even mention Gigondas-- a similar style,but more affordable than Chat.du Pape. Gigondas has become more popular lately- and deserves a mention. Zraly's emphasis is on French red wines. He mentions briefly CA, WA, OR, and NY wines. I did not get much out of the wine and food pairings as many of the pairings were recommendations for foods I do not find myself eating: turbot w/ hollandais, shad roe, Breton lobster, Dover sole, etc...
In short, I'm glad I read it, but I would get more just talking with someone at my local wine merchant--asking them to explain different wine styles, and asking them to help select a wine based on a meal I would actually eat.
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Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book for the beginning oenophile. Truly, I have found that there was no greater revelation in my gustatory experience than when I first had a good glass of wine. Not a wine that had been left out and corked at a restaurant for three days, not a $4.99 bottle from the local supermarket, not two-buck-Chuck, or, god forbid, the jug wines of my parents day. That first good glass of wine opened my eyes to an amazing world that I didn't know existed.

When you have that first good glass, you seek out more, and during your search you discover that there are varietals you've never heard of: Viognier, Barolo, Carignan, Mourvedre, Tempranillo, and so many others. As you taste these wines, you realize this is a world you want to know more about.

This is the perfect book to start your journey into the "wonderful world of wine". While it is very well written, it is certainly not comprehensive (no introductory book of any kind could be!) but there are times when the author references something that 1) you may wish to know more about; or 2) you feel it hasn't been adequately explained. I would highly recommend purchasing The New Wine Lovers Companion, available here on Amazon for only $10.17 (i.e., not any great expenditure) and keep it next to you while you go through the book. It will greatly enhance your experience.

When you have finished with this book you will have a solid understanding of all of the major wine producing regions in the world, the varietals that come from them, the wines that are made, and so much more.

I myself work part-time in a wine store, and recommend this book to everyone who comes in wanting to know more.
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