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on February 8, 2007
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!
0Comment27 of 28 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 5, 2006
I have purchased the 2006 Windows on the World Complete Wine Course after it was recommended in the wine appreciation course I am currently taking. What an excellent resource to have! I have read it and use it as a reference so much that it has I am now giving it as a gift to my wine lover friends. The information is current, updated annually, with current research incorporated into the book. I find the book is user friendly, and the author is well renoun in the field. Highly recommend it for one's library.
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on January 9, 2007
I've been teaching myself about wine for the past 2 years. I've used a plethora of websites to gain as much knowledge as possible. Not to mention taste A LOT of wine. :) I wish I had found this book a bit sooner. When I sat down with this book, I had no idea the amount it would teach me in even just the first 10 minutes! I am more than satisfied with this purchase and I HIGHLY recommend it to wine novices as well as seasoned tasters.
0Comment7 of 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
This is a bit watered down as far as information. While Zraly has a great writing style, posing questions and then answering them. The pictures and diagrams are nice, but they seem to be included in an effort to take up more room so Zraly doesn't have to insert as much text, not to mention the large text itself (great for vision impaired I guess). While this would be a good beginner book, I feel there are more interesting beginners texts out there as well as some advanced texts that even a beginner may enjoy such as the Sotheby's Wine Encyclopedia.

Pros: great value, great writing style, easy to understand
Cons: generic maps, limited information, lacks polish
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on January 21, 2007
I gave this as a holiday gift to a good friend who is a serious wine lover. I'm no wine expert myself -- just an ignorant enjoyer of the stuff -- but I scored big with this book. She says it is the best book on wine and food she's ever seen. She recently had a dinner party created around the wisdom in the book. Rather than deciding on the food, and then selecting wines, she picked wines she wanted to serve, and created her menu around them. Wonderful and surprising combinations. So, this has turned out to not just be a terrific gift for her, but delicious fun for all her friends!
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on January 19, 2007
Almost too detailed for a beginning wino, but we're learning a lot. Only thing we wish it had was a section telling you to try specific wines and taste them for specific reasons. I think that would help a beginner understand what they like and don't like a lot easier.
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on January 25, 2007
This is an excellent book to learn the basics of wine and wine regions. It is very easy to read and is laid out in a nice format. This book was recommended to me by one of my wine merchants. I just finish a Wine Professional course and our book was over 800 pages. This book is a Reader's Digest version of the one I used in class.
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on May 7, 2007
This is by far the best wine book available. It's laid out much like a textbook and breaks up "chapters" into different "courses". Such as California White Wine, Red Wine of the Loire Valley, etc. Kevin also provides sections on how to taste wine, wine and food pairing, and throughout he gives his suggestions for the best wines from each area.

If you're interested in learning about wine, I truly believe that you need this book. Kevin Zraly is a wine master, and winner of the Wine Literary Award. Very few people in the world know more about the subject than he does.
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on September 26, 2007
Before i bought this book, i didnt know a thing about wine. After completing it, i feel as if i am a sommelier. There are lots of pictures and helpful sidebar text to explain things in more detail. Very easy format and language that anyone can read and understand. It covers all types of wine from USA, France, Italy, Germany, and Spain mostly, however it does mention others briefly. I would recommend this book to someone who wants to learn about wine but doesn't know where to start. This will get the ball rolling for you very well.
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on January 26, 2007
Perfect introduction for anyone interested in getting familiar with the wine world. It is part of my employee's training package.
0Comment6 of 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse