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Exploring Wine: Completely Revised 3rd Edition Hardcover – September 14, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Exclusive: Q&A with Author Steven Kolpan

What makes a wine a great “fall wine”?
Much like the season itself, a great “fall wine" should be both bracing and fresh; not as light as a summer sipper, but not as full-bodied and complex as a winter warmer. To me a great “fall wine" could be a full-bodied white – think Chardonnay right off the bat - or a medium-bodied red – think Pinot Noir. These, of course, are familiar, even “safe choices” for the season.

What are your favorite wines for the fall season, and why?
Wines that come to mind are dry whites from Alsace, France – especially Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris – because they are substantial wines with lots of floral and spice notes, which reminds me of falling leaves on a windy day. I also love dry Sherry – especially Fino or Manzanilla – in the fall, as it is a wonderful, if under-appreciated, wine with cheeses, soups, fish and seafood, and a terrific match with dishes such as eggplant with garlic sauce, mu shu pork, and other Chinese take-out favorites.

There are so many red wines that provide a warm glow on a chilly evening, and some of my favorites include:

• From the United States: Perhaps my #1 choice for an awesome autumn wine is Zinfandel from California, especially from the Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County. Good Zin is hearty, but with loads of black fruit and spices on the palate. Seek out those wines with less than 14% alcohol, and save the big-alcohol Zins for the winter months. I also like Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley of Oregon and the Central Coast appellations of California; wines of balance and finesse.

• From Italy: Dolcetto and Barbera from Piedmont; Chianti and Morellino di Scansano from Tuscany; Valpolicella Ripasso from Veneto; Cannonau from Sardinia.

• From Spain: Rioja , especially the lighter Crianza bottlings, as well as wines from Bierzo (made from the Mencia grape), and Navarra (which, like Rioja, focuses on the Tempranillo grape). These wines are tremendously food-friendly with white meats, lighter red meats, and cheeses.

• From France: Fall is a great time for Beaujolais-Villages, or the under-appreciated Cru Beaujolais (such as Moulin-À-Vent or Brouilly). These wines are great with grilled fish as well as white meats and lean red meats, and will certainly enhance the flavors of seasonal root vegetables. Of course, the Pinot Noir wines of Burgundy are great during this time, but focus on the more accessible, simpler, less expensive wines (Bourgogne, Côte de Beaune-Villages, Mercurey, for example), which are excellent matches for a wide range of foods, from roasted vegetables to beef. Also, try the red wines of the Loire Valley that fly under the radar – Chinon, Bourgueil, or Saumur-Champigny; all of them made from the Cabernet Franc grape, and all of them will work beautifully with roasted white meats.

What new trends are you seeing in wines this year?
A welcome trend is balanced wines with lower alcohol levels, which in a time of climate change/global warming and the resulting super-ripe fruit is a tough trick to pull off. It is important to achieve balance in the wine if it is to play its part at the table as an accompaniment to food, not as a tool to make you drunk.

Another trend that I like is less emphasis on oak to carry the aromatics and flavor profile of the wine, especially white wines, and specifically Chardonnay. We see a lot more unoaked Chardonnay, or when oak is used, the winemakers seem to be exhibiting a lighter touch.

Perhaps the most welcomed trend I’ve observed has to do with the price point of wines. Although hard economic times has led to too much suffering by far too many people, when it comes to wine pricing, we are seeing a “new normal.” That is, good wines are more affordable than ever before, and wine drinkers are discovering that they don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy wine. This is a trend that even after our nation returns to good economic health – whenever that is – will, I believe, remain in place. The United States is already the largest consumer of wine in the world (based on dollars spent), and reasonably priced wine as a daily beverage with meals, or even as an “affordable luxury,” will only enhance that standing.

Any recommendations for dishes to pair with this fall’s top wines?
In the fall, thoughts turn to Thanksgiving, and the traditional holiday feast is a blessing for both white and red wines. I love Gewürztraminer with turkey and all the accompaniments – sweet potatoes, stuffing (that’s “dressing” down South), cranberries, etc. Chardonnay will work well, too, but with less of a wow factor. For reds, I love Zinfandel, especially if there’s sausage and sage in the stuffing/dressing, and plenty of dark meat from the turkey. For subtlety and balance, go with Pinot Noir or Gamay (the grape of Beaujolais).

What can people learn about other seasonal wines and trends in Exploring Wine?
The completely revised new edition of Exploring Wine goes into great depth about current trends in the international wine market, from California to China, from Italy to India, from Germany to Greece, from Canada to Cyprus. We consider the wines of all of these countries, and many more (France, Spain, Portugal, etc), complete with beautiful maps indicating the wine regions of each nation.

In Exploring Wine’s chapter on wine and food pairing, we emphasize the “how” and “why” of matching food and wine, and that, of course, includes notes on enjoying foods and wines “in season.” While wine may not technically be a “seasonal” beverage, clearly our enjoyment is enhanced when we think of it that way; lighter wine with lighter foods in warm weather, more complex and full-bodied wines to accompany heartier foods when the weather gets colder and the snow begins to fall.

Tips from Exploring Wine


Understanding Wine Color

Understanding Wine Barrels

Understanding Food and Wine Pairings

From Library Journal

Why another wine book? First, this one is by wine educators from the Culinary Institute of America, whose other fine works (The New Professional Chef, LJ 8/91) and outstanding reputation lend it gastronomical authority. Second, Exploring Wine has an unfettered clarity, whether explaining formulas to calculate a reasonable price range or steps to produce the most beneficial wine-tasting experience or ways to select from the deluge of international choices. Third, there is a superb chapter on matching food and wine, full of tables and menus, which simultaneously honors classical principles of experimentation and personal preference. If these reasons aren't sufficient, there's the concise background information on wine-making, the world tour of producers, the coffee-table-book photographs, the section devoted to collecting, appendixes of American appellations and official classifications of Bordeaux, and a 12-page glossary. Definitely not just "another wine book." Highly recommended.
Wendy Miller, Lexington P.L., Ky.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 800 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 3 edition (September 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471770639
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471770633
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 2 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,898 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I cannot even begin to describe how fantastic this book is. I've been working in gourmet restaurants for about three years now and have checked out many books on wine to try and understand every nook and cranny of wines; most of the time I still felt a little confused. The way the book is organised helps you to easily understand every aspect of wine including the varietals (grapes), laws of appellations for each country and so much more. It's so easy and detailed to understand (studying is still required, trust me) and also uses graphs, maps and tables to make the information even more clear. Yes, the book can be considered a bit pricey, but if you are a student, in the industry or want to know more about your hobby, I can't think of a single reason why this wouldn't be a worthwhile investment. There are cheaper books out there, but the information they provide is no where near the quality you can get with this book; believe me, I've got a mini-wine library where most of the books will now be collecting dust because all the information I need is in this book.
Also recommended: The Oxford Companion to Wine (detailed definitions to wines, regions, etc...); Wine Lover's Companion (nice pocket guide for quick definitions to wine)
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Format: Hardcover
If you're looking for a step-by-step guide to the winemaking process, or to the myriad types of wine the world offers, there's no better choice than "Exploring Wine." It's also a great resource for such arcana as the wine industry in Texas, the different estates of Pomerol or an exhaustive list of the prestige cuvees of the various champagne houses. "Exploring Wine" gives you all the minutiae of the history, business and esthetic properties of wine, without ever becoming dull. This being a production of the Culinary Institute of America, "Exploring Wine" even gives you detailed charts of recommended wine and food pairings, as well as sample menus pairing national cuisines with indigenous wines (including South Africa, South America and the Middle East as well as the different regions of France, Italy and California). There's also an informative chapter on the health benefits of wine. "Exploring Wine" is an invaluable resource for the dedicated enophile as well as the average reader with a casual, but real, interest in wine.
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Format: Hardcover
I an currently enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America and taking the management of wines and spirits course given by the authors of this wonderful book, Michael Weiss and Steven Kolpan. With, what I would call, a more extensive background of wines and spirits than most CIA students, this book has taught me so much more. It has truly inspired me. The authors have truly inspired me. I can't wait to open its pages every day. "Exploring Wines" has absolutely and undoubtedly "consumed" me. Best wishes. Lynn Pritchard, CIA '97
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By Bradley on September 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Call it a bias opinion but since i was taught this book by the author Mr. Kolpan. This book has done wonders for me. No this book is not for the weak reader it has alot of information and can get a bit wordy but all of it has relevance in its own context. Who ever says this book is not a good resource is disagreeing with UC Davis and The Culinary Institute of America cause both Schools use this text book for there classes. This has kicked started my passion for wine and i absolutely love this book.
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By Randy Given on January 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Althought this is a good book, I would not recommend it as a primary purchase (try "Wine for Dummies" or "Windows on the World Complete Wine Course") nor as a secondary purchase (try "Wine Bible" or "Oxford Companion to Wine"), but I would recommend it as a tertiary purchase. There is a decent amount of material presented in a professional and eye-pleasing manner. Be forewarned that the book is large (9"x11") and heavy -- probably not something you would read in bed. The coverage of the different areas is pretty good, but not exceptional, hence my four-star rating.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is successful on several different levels. First, it is just a great book to have lying around the house. Very relaxing to sit down for a few minutes, leaf through the pages and take a look at all of the beautiful and warm areas that produce wine (especially nice on a cold winter's day!) The layout is outstanding and the photography is excellent. However, this book is more than just pretty pictures. If you want to learn something about the process of making and developing great wines, this book delivers. I cannot pretend to understand all of the technical detail dealing with soil contents, acid levels, appellations, etc., but I am trying to learn. And I know I will have many interesting nights ahead as I settle in to learn about the various grapes and the various wine growing regions of the world. One slight annoyance--there are too many sidebars dealing with the personalities in the wine world. However, this is more than made up for by keeping the foofy wine jargon ("peach undertones" or "texture like cashmere") to a minimum.
It is a very good value for the price.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although this hefty book was the required text for my Wine Appreciation course I have kept it as a reference book and believe it would be useful to any wine enthusiast wanting to know more detailed information about wine.
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