- Series: Wine Trials
- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Fearless Critic Media; New edition (September 1, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1608160165
- ISBN-13: 978-1608160167
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 64 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,809,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Wine Trials 2011 Paperback – September 1, 2010
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About the Author
Robin Goldstein is an author and a travel writer. He has written for more than 30 Fodor's travel guides and is a contributor to the New York Times' Freakonomics blog. He has a certificate in cooking from the French Culinary Institute in New York City and a Wine and Spirit Education Trust certificate for advanced wine and spirits study. He lives in Oakland, California. Alexis Herschkowitsch is the coauthor of five Fearless Critic restaurant guides and a contributor to Fodor’s travel guides. She has a WSET advanced wine and spirits certificate. Tyce Walters is a student at the Yale Law School and a graduate of Yale University, where he founded the wine journal Vino/Veritas: The Yale Wino. He has also worked as a wine retail consultant and served as editor of the Yale Philosophy Review.
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The review below is false when it claims "Only one expensive wine is mentioned in the entire book." In fact, the book states on page 8: "tasters preferred a nine dollar Beringer Founder's Estate Cabernet to a 120 dollar Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet." Also on page 8 "They preferred a Vinho Verde to a Cakebread Chardonnay and a Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru from Louis Latour." Page 21 "the Segura Viudas Brut and the Freixnet beat both Dom Perignon and Veuve Cliquot." The reviewer below obviously didn't even bother to flip through the book. The Wine Trials team seems to have tasted a number of expensive wines.
Although it would be nice if they would reveal the whole list of the 560 wines that they tasted. (They could do that on their website for instance.) And I'd also like to see what the top wines were regardless of price as the book only lists wines under fifteen dollars. It's odd that they don't share that information. Perhaps the "Fearless Critic" was a little fearful of the expensive wine producers?
The book also has a good discussion of their testing methodology and other past wine tests and the placebo effect. Overall an interesting read and a useful reference although I wish they had more info on expensive wines.
Forget about all of that. This is a great book for raising up 100 affordable, drinkable wines. It helps the reader to explore new or old varietals (value-priced Merlot). It encourages us to sometimes leave California for other lands. It urges us to actually taste the wines we drink and draw our own conclusions. It helps us to move beyond price based evaluation, vineyard branding/labeling or a single bad experience.
If you pick 25 wines to sample from these recommendations, you'll find 5-10 friends that can be used for everyday meals, without apologies or the need to "show off" your cleverness. Just enjoy. Bon appetite!
I have been thrilled with many of the recommendations in this book. What I learned in this book about how wine is marketed and hyped was further reinforced by a wine tasting experience I had in Italy last fall. The wine purveyor who did the tasting -- a 30-something grower whose family had been in the wine business for over a century -- confirmed that a lot of so-called wine experts overcomplicate the business of tasting and describing wine. This book demystifies it.
"The Wine Trials" takes on the commonly used 50- to 100-point wine rating system. Goldstein asks whether the ratings are biased by price, label, and advertising. His tests show that they are, sometimes hugely.
Goldstein wanted to know how cheaper wines - below $15 - rated against more expensive ones, in the $50 to $150 range, and each other in blind, brown-bag tastings. Over several months in 2007 and 2008, he held tastings of 560 wines for everyday wine drinkers and experts. Many of the cheap wines excelled and surpassed the expensive ones.
The result is a set of ranked lists of 100 wines for under $15 by general type -- heavy red, light red, heavy white, light white, etc. -- and by location -- Europe and the "New World" (the Americas, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand). Each of the ranked wines also gets its own description. I've tried several of the top-ranked wines, and they are delicious, some from small, unadvertised labels and some from big producers.
As a buying guide, this is a very useful book, by far the most useful I've seen in a long time. Goldstein's jaundiced look at the wine business, especially the conventional wine rating business, is a bonus.
The book doesn't pretend to be anything like Karen MacNeil's "The Wine Bible" or others in that category. You won't find here detailed descriptions of individual wine grapes, wine growing regions, famous bottlers, characteristics of the terroir, or that kind of information. "The Wine Trials" is all about the unbiased drinking experience. These two books, "The Wine Trials" and "The Wine Bible," have different aims and complement each other well. But just to find inexpensive, drinkable wines, "The Wine Trials" is more useful.