9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
This book will not make you an (almost) instant wine expert...,
This review is from: Educating Peter: How I Taught a Famous Movie Critic the Difference Between Cabernet and Merlot or How Anybody Can Become an (Almost) Instant Wine Expert (Hardcover)
I wish I had borrowed this book from the library instead of paying money for it. As other reviewers have said, I wanted to like this book. The premise is good and before I actually started reading it I was envious of Peter. How great would it be to have a friend who is a wine expert, is willing to mentor you, and (apparently) has a hefty budget to buy wines for you to taste? By the end of the book I was rather glad she's not my friend...
First, the good:
1. It's short
2. It's an easy read
3. It does give some information on the wine industry, wine regions, grapes, recommended wines, etc.
4. It could be inspirational to fledgling writers because it proves that a book doesn't have to be well-written to be published.
And the bad:
1. The book is clumsily written, so bad that I had to keep reminding myself that Teague is not an amateur writer but the Wine Editor for Food and Wine Magazine.
2. Teague and Peter are annoying characters - about halfway through the book I started skipping over their inane, repetitive dialog and reading only the parts that actually talked about wine. Surely Peter had better comments and questions than what's in the book -- he sounds like a petulant teenager. The Hollywood name dropping got old quickly, too.
3. Teague gave little to no information on good and bad vintages. Isn't this sort of important when buying wine?
4. The book is only 2 years old so I expected it to be reasonably current on vintages. Even if you gave her a few years to write the book, that means she and Peter should have been tasting wine from around 2003. However, most of the wines she mentioned were from the late 1990s. Since the vast majority of wines don't age well and should be consumed within 1-2 years of production, why was she writing about older vintages? The book is presumably aimed at novice wine drinkers, so you would think she'd realize that most of us novices don't have pricy older bottles of wine lying around.
5. As another reviewer mentioned, Teague is not pushing inexpensive wine. I can't even find some of the wines she recommends, and those that I did find were well over $30 -- many were in the three figure price range. Not really practical, given the economy and the book's supposed audience.
So, I learned a some things and don't consider the time spent reading the book to be a waste. However, the "...(Almost) Instant Wine Expert" subtitle is really misleading. This book doesn't give even a foundation of wine knowledge, let alone make you an expert. In the hands of a more capable and compelling writer, and with less pretentious and more likeable characters, this would be a nice addition to a collection of more comprehensive wine books.
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Initial post: Jan 24, 2013 4:51:30 PM PST
Nora M Hendrycks says:
"Since the vast majority of wines don't age well and should be consumed within 1-2 years of production" is such a false statement - all bad wine does not age.
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