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Great Wine Made Simple: Straight Talk from a Master Sommelier Hardcover – September 27, 2005
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About one-third of the way through Andrea Immer's Great Wine Made Simple, the author recounts an anecdote that could serve as the book's theme--alligator, rabbit, and squab were all introduced to her the same way: "Tastes like chicken." And as demonstrated by Immer, who went from debentures to de Rothschild when she quit Morgan Stanley to eventually oversee the 50,000-bottle cellar at Manhattan's famed Windows on the World, the leap from pigeon to Pichon-Lalande is analogous: teaching novice wine drinkers what to expect is what her book, aptly subtitled "Straight Talk from a Master Sommelier", is all about.
With emphasis on her "Big Six" varietals--Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon--this "Immer-sion" class of tastings lets amateur sippers differentiate the typical qualities of each, while illustrating wine terms such as dry, crisp, oaky, and tannic. Practical advice abounds; one chapter devotes itself to finding useful info on a wine label while avoiding "Stupid Label Tricks," those bits of puffery or unfamiliar flavors (how many have actually tasted lychee or red currant?) that can be confusing the average buyer. And her "Flavor Map" concept--dividing the wine world into three climate zones--eschews memorization in favor of some rudimentary geography.
Throughout, her pronunciation guides are accurate and personable ("If you're pronouncing 'Riesling' right you have to smile."); and she provides a great postgraduate curriculum of buying strategies, including the pros and cons of wine shops versus your nearest Costco; and a consumer advisory about restaurant's "award-winning wine lists." --Tony Mason --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Andrea Immer makes wine education simple and fun. One of America’s bestsommeliers has written one of the year’s best wine books!”—Robert G. Mondavi
“Without doubt the finest introduction to wine tasting and food and wine pairing I have read. This book is an excellent addition to the libraries of both professionals and aficionados.”—Frederick Dame, M.S., president, Court of Master Sommeliers
“Well organized, succinct, clear, and precise are the adjectives that best describe this Cartesian book on wines. Great Wine Made Simple will educate you without boring you and will lead you joyfully and expertly through the intricate world of the master sommelier.”—Claudine Pépin and Jacques Pépin
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1. By the time you get through the first few chapters and do the exercises, you'll know more useful things about wine than the vast majority of people.
2. What you'll know, you will be able to remember. The lessons learned in the book are simple and the tastings make them tangible.
3. This book removes the pretention from wine and simplifies the subject dramatically without reducing meaning. It starts from common red and white grapes - then what some common attributes of wines produced from those grapes are (oaky, tannic, etc.) It proceeds with explaining how climate effects grapes, and proceeds into Old World/New World distinctions, aged wines, and unusual wines.
When first learning about wine, I started with the "Dummies" book but wasn't pleased - I found it didn't make any attempt to provide a framework for understanding. It started with "France", and then proceeded to "Bordeaux" and "Burgundy", pointing out every village and Xth Growth estate. And then went country by country, with bits of knowledge here and there. I finished the book feeling like I knew less than when I started. This book was much simpler but provided much greater knowledge.
For a while, anyway, you can keep costs under control following the tastings in this book. Still, figure that bottle cost will be upwards of $1000-1500 to get through all the tastings, if that's your objective.