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Matt Kramer on Wine: A Matchless Collection of Columns, Essays, and Observations by Americas Most Original and Lucid Wine Writer Hardcover – September 7, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Veteran wine expert Kramer's (Making Sense of Burgundy) Wine Spectator column has given oenophiles plenty of drink for thought. Those new to the vine will appreciate this thoughtful collection of his articles and essays. Despite three decades of experience, his perspective and enthusiasm for wine and viniculture hasn't soured. Though his book is packed with winemaker profiles and expected insight on everything from the particulars of Bordeaux, the rise of California wines, and what it's like to taste wildly rare and expensive wines, it's Kramer's unabashed passion for the topic that matters. Whether gleefully excoriating the pomp and circumstance of the Institute of Masters of Wine, or debunking myths about the correlation between price and quality (none), Kramer proves himself a rare beast: the everyman expert. Tips such as the benefit of rinsing, or "seasoning," wine glasses with the wine about to be served, and essays on the true cost of producing a decent bottle of wine (about ten bucks) make this an informative overview of a much-loved subject, without the need for a dinner jacket and expensive glass. (Sept.)
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Ever perceptive and ever contrarian, Kramer in his chatty, conversational writings has the rare ability to spot and to debunk the pretentious and the avaricious in the world of fine wine without ever belittling either winemakers or wine consumers. This anthology brings together articles that Kramer has contributed to Wine Spectator and the late New York Sun. Kramer unabashedly loves French wines from Burgundy to Alsace, but he finds Bordeaux bottlings less than honestly produced and chateau proprietors more interested in immense profit than in genuine quality. He respects California winemakers, but finds some of them too often diluting value with volume and taking advantage of lax regulations to gouge consumers. Kramer also finds fault with other wine writers and gullible consumers whose taste too readily fall prey to mere marketing hype. Essays from earlier decades often have brief appendixes that clarify or update their contents. Kramer stands as a great demystifier of wine. --Mark Knoblauch
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Top customer reviews
He has obviously travelled the great wines routes and has met the passionate vignerons.
It is well above the average articles in WINE SPECTATOR.HE IS PASSIONATE ABOUT TERROIR,CULTURE AND THE HISTORY/CULTURE OF WINE.He is more like a passionate but cultured European "peasant" talking about wine than the standard nth. american wine writer. BRAVO!
He is an inspiration for me with regard to wine writing in a broader historical/cultural context.If I ever write about the xinomavro grape of North Western Greek Macedonia which I have some knowledge and passion for I will certainly use his wine writing style and specifically his great article on Gaja as an inspiration on how to acknowledge a noble grape from a partiucular region to a wider audience.
Essential reading to anyone who drinks wine because it is the epitome of a cultured alcoholic beverage linked with the culture of Europe and now the new world.
Full disclosure: I consider Matt Kramer a friend; I write about wine occasionally myself, and I reviewed his first book, "Making Sense of Wine," for Wine Spectator many years ago. Heck, I'll admit to being biased when it comes to Matt Kramer. I think he's the most authoritative and original writer on wine in the U.S., and he's also the most fun to read, by a long shot.
Although Kramer has been writing about wine since 1976, the columns and essays collected in "Matt Kramer on Wine" date from 1990 to the present, and represent the cream of this prolific writer's output over that time period. Some of the writings are from Kramer's books, such as a seminal essay on terroir from "Making Sense of Burgundy", published in 1990 when the notion of terroir raised eyebrows among many wine professionals. (Now it's sacrosanct.) Much of the rest of the material appeared in Wine Spectator, for which Kramer continues to write, or the New York Sun, which went out of business in 2008. And one remarkable piece, a lengthy and insightful profile of Italian wine icon Angelo Gaja, has never before seen the light of day in its entirety. It was originally commissioned by The New Yorker, but the piece got caught in a transition between high-profile editors and was "killed," in editor-speak.
Reading "Matt Kramer on Wine" is like being a fly on the wall for some of the most intriguing wine moments of the past twenty years, as witnessed, interpreted, distilled and elucidated by Matt Kramer. You'll learn why Austrian crystal magnate Georg Riedel likes to serve top-class French Champagne in a massive 37-ounce Burgundy glass (Kramer quips, "This is a glass so big you could auction its air rights.") You'll find out whether those vacuum-seal devices for wine bottles are any good. You'll learn whether or not you need temperature-controlled wine storage (only if you want to enjoy the wines eventually). You'll grin as Kramer describes "low-cut dress syndrome," as relates to wine. You'll cheer as Kramer unsheathes his rapier wit and eviscerates price-gouging restaurateurs and the wine lists we love to hate.
After you close the pages of this book (or turn off your Kindle), a few of your preconceived notions about wine may be blasted to smithereens. But I bet you'll find yourself thinking more astutely about wine, and feeling more confident about your ability to identify the real stars on the wine shelf. If you want to drink better wine and enjoy it to the fullest, "Matt Kramer on Wine" is one of the best investments you can make.