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Windows on the World Complete Wine Course: 25th Anniversary Edition (Kevin Zraly's Complete Wine Course) Hardcover – September 29, 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 161 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Quick, what's the correct way to open a wine bottle? Bonus round: what are the 13 grape types permitted in Chateauneuf-du-Pape?

Whatever your score on the above, you're bound to enjoy the Windows on the World Complete Wine Course. Subtitled Millennium Edition, this 14th annual update is again authored by Kevin Zraly, founder and teacher of the Wine School, begun in 1976 as an offshoot of New York's Windows on the World restaurant. On 200 colorful and clutter-free pages full of maps, wine labels, and sidebars full of facts and anecdotes, Zraly acts as your Sherpa through eight classes. Chapters 1 through 3 circumnavigate the white wines of France, the New World, and Germany; 4 through 8 explore the reds of France, California, Iberia, Australia, and South America, concluding with a section on champagne, port, and sherry.

As wine guru, Kevin Zraly is opinionated, knowledgeable, and patient. His skill at talking novice wine devotees off the ledge is especially evident in the chapters on Burgundy and Germany, with their notoriously confusing wine labels. Study Zraly's careful parsing and annotation of a German label and you'll be able to tell the region from the town from the vineyard the next time someone hands you a Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese.

But any book that calls itself a "Complete Wine Course" sets the Barbera pretty high--sometimes too high. Oregon and Washington States share one page while New York State rates two and a half. Certainly a millennium edition could scare up another paragraph for the red-hot Pacific Northwest. And two chapters following the classes--"Creating an Exemplary Restaurant Wine List" and "Award-Winning Wine Lists"--seem little more than padding.

But these are small quibbles about a handsome and approachable volume that will take you from Amarone to Zind-Humbrecht with confidence. Whether you're a true cork dork or someone who doesn't know their Alsace from their elbow, you could certainly do worse than pressing your nose up against these windows on the world. --Tony Mason --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

The silver anniversary version of this perennial bestseller by legendary wine personality Zraly still emphasizes consumer enjoyment and user friendliness in the pursuit of education and appreciation. The DIY edition of his now-legendary class tackles the wide world of vini- and viticulture with a sense of humor, erudition and modesty, and includes expanded material on wine regions beyond France, Italy and California. The 25-year benchmark provides frequent opportunity to look back over changes in grape growing and winemaking over the past quarter century. While the book's frequently busy layout may reflect changes in traditional media and information acquisition—large sections are laid out like FAQs—it allows room for a broad range of information without oversaturation. Tasting work sheets and self-administered questionnaires are included, while sidebars include lighter material, such as wine-related quotes and other assorted trivia. Among the handy visuals are wine-growing maps and wine labels included not merely for aesthetic appreciation but for useful comparisons in areas with complicated classifications like Burgundy. Appropriate for professional and layperson alike, the volume continues to be one of the most indispensable titles of its kind. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Series: Kevin Zraly's Complete Wine Course
  • Hardcover: 338 pages
  • Publisher: Sterling; 25 Anv edition (September 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402767676
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402767678
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 8.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (161 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #162,678 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Keith E. Webb VINE VOICE on November 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Windows on the World Complete Wine Course: 25th Anniversary Edition is the number one book to learn about wine. It's a complete, readable guide to wine regions, grape varietals, wine pairing, and much much more. You'll learn about all the major wine regions, their typical grape varietals, and distinguishing characteristics.

Throughout the book specific, easily available, and affordable wines are profiled by winery. Special sections take this further: wine tasting "courses" of flights of different wines to compare; 101 favorite wines; and wines to begin a wine cellar.

Now, in it's 25 Anniversary edition it's been enlarged further with new sections on Austria, Hungary, and Greece. The wine lists have been updated and enlarged, and sections Chile, Argentina, and New Zealand have been expanded given their influence in the world of wine today.

I've completed two levels of the excellent Wine and Spirit Education Trust's wine programs. I'm amazed that Kevin Zraly's Windows on the World is just as thorough and is basically the intermediate level - in a book. I refer back to it often, and give it as gifts to friends who want to increase their appreciation of wine.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great introduction for anyone new to wine, as I was. This is not intended to be the most complete reference for all wine, but is instead a colorful, focused, entertaining overview of wine today. Each chapter focuses on a different region or type of wine, providing background information on each wine area, the author's favorite wineries/producers from the area, a sample tasting (he picks several wines for you to try and also suggests alternatives if you can't find those particular bottles) and a quiz at the end to help you retain some of that information. A great book for any wine lover!
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Format: Hardcover
This book is named after the restaurant "Windows on the World" (WotW) which was near the top of the World Trade Center (NYC). Although I had been to the top of the WTC many times, I never made it to WotW. I wish I had. If this book is any indication (especially the 2003 edition with stories and pictures about the restaurant itself), it must have been a wonderful experience.
For beginners, this book should be read after "Wine for Dummies" (WfD). I recommend WfD as the book to purchase if you only want one book. If you want two or more, which is very likely, the second one is this one, "Windows on the World Complete Wine Course" (WotWCWC). This book covers reds and whites, in depth, as well as a clearly diagrammed set of geography pictures and notes.
The author takes out much of the snobbishness of others, presenting a great deal of information in an attractive manner. This is great for the library as well as a book that can be laid out on a table for casual reading by guests.
There is a FAQ section towards the back that is very good. There are also some suggestions for starting your own collection and for those that want to make a restaurant wine list (which is also a must-read because some of it will apply to your own collection).
This book is a must-have for a wine library. Your guests will also appreciate it.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm a waiter. I have been for more years than I care to remember, to be honest. And, as a waiter, part of my job is to know a thing or two about wines. But of course, I don't know everything. I think the author of this book, Kevin Zraly, comes pretty close though, but his brilliance is not in showing you his knowledge. It's in doing so without talking down to you, or by dragging you through a long, academic book of endless facts and figures.
What Zraly does is write a clear, organized, knowledgeable, and often humorous look at wines, from Bordeaux to Zinfandel; from wine pouring methods to wine tasting methods; from Washington State to South Australia. All along it's an amazingly easy read. And while it is no doubt indispensable for those new to the wine game, it is vital for any of us who do know a lot about wine, but don't always remember all of it. What are the major white wine grapes from the Loire Valley? It's in there. What is the AOC, and how does it work? In there. What's the difference between a port and a sherry. All there.
This new updated version is miles better, and more picturesque than the old crappy 1988 edition I had been holding on to all this time. So glad I got this at Amazon. Even if I don't read it again, it's a great looking hard cover book at a great price!
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Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading the book last night and I was blown away by how much I learned from it. Zraly's style of writing is very easy to understand as well as fun to read. The book covers the main wine growing regions of the world, as well as the wines grown in each region, types of grapes, some interesting anecdotes and what wines to pair with what food. I truly think Zraly went the extra mile on this book to make sure that just about every question a beginner to wine might have is answered. After reading the book, every time you walk down the wine aisle of your local grocery shop, you will have a very good grasp of the endless brands, and types of wines that are available today. I was truly impressed by the information in this book and the way it was presented. I strongly recommend this book to anyone that wants to learn about this wonderful subject. If the book worth 3 times as much, I would still say it's a bargain considering how much restaurant wine courses cost. Buy it and you wont be dissapointed.
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