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How to Love Wine: A Memoir and Manifesto Hardcover – October 16, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Wine fanatics, or those angling for entry to the world of wine, will find comfort in New York Times chief wine critic Asimov’s down-to-earth discussion of loving wine. His approach welcomes all, untangling the preposterous hype around wine scores, blind tastings, and memorizing grape varietals, aspects that supposedly separate the masters from the rest. But readers expecting some handy checklist should look elsewhere. Asimov wants to challenge readers. Answers do come, though, while he considers his own unlikely path from casual drinker to the powerful industry voice he has become. And while much of his story strays from wine, what’s really special here is that Asimov’s argument not only makes so much sense but that he doesn’t take the easy way out, letting wine drinkers off the hook to drink whatever simply tastes good. He values any opinion, as long as it comes with thoughtful reasoning. Moreover, what he argues is most essential for a relationship with wine, and what’s most refreshing to read, is an approach free of anxiety and open to love. --Casey Bayer

Review

James Beard Foundation Book Award Nominee for the the Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America Inductee (No Source)

James Beard Foundation Book Award Nominee for Beverages (No Source)

“A wonderfully intimate memoir-cum-manifesto from a writer comfortable with his own ability as a wine writer who’s not afraid to say it as it is. . . . One of the more enjoyable and fluid wine books to read all year.” (Jancis Robinson)

“Wine aficionados are always bickering among themselves. . . . In his delicious new book, New York Times chief wine critic Eric Asimov cuts through all of this background noise and reminds us of the elemental and undeniable fact that wine is ... sheer pleasure.” (Oregon Live)

“Eric Asimov sees through the snobby froth of 100-point scores and tutti-frutti tasting notes to the realities of wine, ‘staple grocery and occasional star,’ as he calls it. How to become America’s most trusted wine critic? Read it here.” (Hugh Johnson)

“In his highly personal, utterly unpretentious book, Asimov makes clear that the most important thing about wine is enjoyment. Any deeper understanding--and for him food, culture, farming, and more count for a lot--depends on it.” (Ed Behr)

“This book might have been titled A Healthy Dose of Fresh Air. How modestly and reasonably Asimov dares to slay the wine dragons. I reveled in each and every thrust and parry.” (Kermit Lynch)

“Excellent . . . [a] thoughtful read. . . . Like a crisp glass of Sancerre, How to Love Wine is an especially refreshing breeze through the hot air and pretension that’s so prevalent in wine culture.” (Sacramento Bee)

“A friendly, well-written approach to enjoying wine, full of low-stress recommendations to help avoid wine anxiety.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Forget the snooty trappings of wine connoisseurship—just drink up and enjoy, argues this simultaneously down–to–earth and romantic meditation…. Asimov sprinkles in lively reminiscences of his journalism career and the idiosyncratic culture of wine cognoscenti, and enchants and reassures by his warm savoring of the drinking experience.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Wine fanatics, or those angling for entry to the world of wine, will find comfort in…Asimov’s down–to–earth discussion of loving wine. Moreover, what he argues is most essential for a relationship with wine, and what’s most refreshing to read, is an approach free of anxiety and open to love.” (Booklist)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (October 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061802522
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061802522
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #587,900 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Isaac Asimov's nephew may be an earthly writer of wine and "terroir" but his book "How to Love Wine" is just as entralling and exhilarating. Having experimented with marijuana in school where he first started his blind tastings - of beer - he became a writer for The New York Times, developing to a sort of wine iconoclast. He assures novice wine drinkers (and many experienced ones as well) that one does not live by Robert Parker alone. He tells the story of his friend's father, a Sicilian immigrant who quietly drinks his cheap wine in fruit glasses and was totally oblivious to what wine critics and connoisseurs might say about his choice of wine, based, entirely on price. The crucial point was, he loved his wine. If anyone disapproved, did he suffer? If anyone disagreed did he mind? Was his happiness and joy diminished by what others thought? Plainly, no. That man found the secret to happiness, it seemed. Asimov also eschewed fancy description of wine that made no sense, and often contradictory. He took a specific wine reviewed by three different reviewers and found that that it was like reading about three different wines. Pairing wine with food is a great part in the enjoyment of wine, but, he tells us, we should try it ourselves and take recommendations from experts, but not too seriously; and certainly without jettisoning our sense of adventure going against their wisdom. Cheers to the free spirit in us.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I expected to have to plow through some pomposity and name dropping, like I did through three of Jay McInerney's books, the payoff being the knowledge that the NY Times wine critic has to impart. This guy is so humble and down to earth it's shocking.

This truly is a book by someone who loves wine for people who want to know more about it/learn how to love it.

It is a quick and great read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Its subtitle claims this book is both a memoir and a manifesto. It would be a better book if it were one or the other. I wish it were memoir. I think everything Asimov wants to say about wine could have been said more effectively in the context of his own evolving experience with it, which is too thinly told. The manifesto part is needlessly repetitive. An editor should have sent him back to the drawing boards.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a terrific book on enjoying wine by a writer who draws very logical conclusions on the deliciousness of wine. Really loved the style of writing and thoughtful commentary. A must have for the folks that are learning and loving wine...Cheers!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A needed addition to my wine library. Wine as a window into a culture, as a way to better enjoy a meal, and as a wonderful excuse to share experiences with a friend.

Great summer read with a glass of yr favorite rose.
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I'd highly recommend this book for learning more about wine or just for leisure reading if you're interested in wine. His journey and insights throughout will make wine tasting and pursuing wine as a passion more enlightened.
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I really wanted to love this book. When someone is as passionate about a subject as Asimov clearly is, you would like to join them in that enthusiasm. But this book turns out to be tedious, repetitive, and just no fun. Asimov has a clear position on wine: "Ignore ratings, laugh at tasting notes, drink wine and enjoy it! And search out interesting wines". But it is hard to make those precepts last a whole book. But, by repetition, Asimov makes it last at least 2/3 of the book. The remaining 1/3 was far more interesting: his career, his relationship with wine, his adventures. I think if the book had simply been a memoir of his life in journalism and with wine, with a chapter on his view of enjoying wine, I would have loved the book. As is, I hit the halfway point and was tired of him lecturing me on the same points over and over again.
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Have you ever laughed out loud at the tasting notes on the back of a wine bottle (the faintest soupçon of asparagus and just a flutter of a nutty Edam cheese)? If so, you will thouroughly enjoy this book. While Eric acknowledges the usefulness of these notes, at some level, he also recognizes how they can remove or lessen the enjoyment of wine purchasing and drinking.
This book aims to demistify all of this terminology and return wine to its rightful place as an expression of terroir, culture and community. As I read the book, I couldn't help but think of The Emperors New Clothes with Eric having the guts to see it and expose it for what it is.
I love Eric's work for the NYTimes so I was not surprised that I loved this book as well.
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