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The Wine Bible
The Wine Bible
by Karen MacNeil
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.85
97 used & new from $9.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My kind of bible, December 15, 2015
This review is from: The Wine Bible (Paperback)
MacNeil is a multi-award-winning, preeminent wine writer, educator and consultant. says, “No one combines style, knowledge, skill, passion and presentation better than Karen MacNeil.” And The Wine Bible is a classic that belongs in every wine library. Because it’s so comprehensive, I think it should be one of the first books in that library.

For one thing, it’s simply lots of fun. Not every book that’s 996 pages is. But this eminently browsable tome is chockablock with informative asides, tips, engaging anecdotes, definitions, glossaries, photos, maps, labels and recommended producers. It informs and, thanks in part to MacNeil’s colorful, dramatic writing, entertains.

I especially enjoy the many short, creative topics. For example, in her chapter on Burgundy, MacNeil includes sections titled “History, Monks, the Establishment of Terroir and the French Revolution”; “Where’s the Boeuf?”; and “The d’Or in Côte d’Or.” Other captivating sections include “Sauerkraut, Skunks, and Sweaty Socks” and “Chateauneuf-du-Extraterrestrial.”

For this second edition (the first dates to 2001), MacNeil has tasted more than 10,000 wines and visited dozens of wine regions around the world. Sections on the wines of China, Japan, Mexico and Slovenia are new. The history, food, wines, grapes and wineries of each region are, of course, covered. So are tasting wine, shopping for wine, choosing wine glasses, matching wine and food, cooking with wine, storing wine, and many other -ings. And much more.

The Wine Bible makes wine almost as enjoyable to read about as it is to drink.

American Wine: The Ultimate Companion to the Wines and Wineries of the United States
American Wine: The Ultimate Companion to the Wines and Wineries of the United States
by Jancis Robinson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $35.33
39 used & new from $22.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars American Wine is a treasure, May 8, 2013
It's no secret that wine is In in the U.S. In 2011 the U.S. became the No. 1 wine-consuming country. And it's now the fourth-largest wine-producing country, having expanded exponentially from 440 wineries in 1970 to 7,345 in 2012.

So it's very good news indeed that at last there is a book that does the wines made in the U.S.--in all 50 states, that is--justice. American Wine: The Ultimate Companion to the Wines and Wineries of the United States is the book about American wines that this wine lover has long been waiting for. As the publisher says, it's the "first comprehensive and authoritative reference to the wines, wineries and winemakers" of the entire U.S. While American Wine of course covers the Big Three of the West-California, Washington and Oregon-and the Big One of the East-New York-about a third of the 278-page book is devoted to the other 46 states, the states many of us are eager to know more about.

The authors have impeccable credentials. Jancis Robinson has been called the Julia Child of Wine. Robert M. Parker Jr.'s Wine Advocate said she is "perhaps the most gifted of all wine writers writing today." And she's been voted the Wine Writers' Wine Writer by her peers. She's a member of Britain's Royal Household Wine Committee, which chooses the wines that the Queen serves her guests. And she's a prolific author, responsible for several multi-award-winning wine reference books: she edited The Oxford Companion to Wine and co-authored The World Atlas of Wine and Wine Grapes: A Complete Guide to 1,368 Vine Varieties, Including Their Origins and Flavours. U.S. wine expert Linda Murphy edited the San Francisco Chronicle's wine section-she won two awards from the James Beard Foundation there-and was the managing editor of the New York Times wine website. She contributes to [...] and Decanter.

American Wine is organized geographically: broad sections of the U.S. are broken down into states, regions within states, American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) and so on. It covers geography, geology, terroirs, founding fathers and other history (including Prohibition and its lingering effects), current personalities, producers and more. You'll learn how winemaking evolved in America and where it's heading. There are short snapshots of all major growing regions and their key wineries, including Trailblazers (historic wineries), Steady Hands (consistently reliable brands), Superstars (the most desirable wines) and Ones to Watch (up-and-coming and innovative producers). Also included are 54 maps, more than 200 photographs and informational graphics.

Here's a sampling of interesting information:

● FLORIDA: French Hugenots made wine in the mid-1500s from the native Scuppernong grape.

● OHIO: The first commercially successful winery in the U.S. was established in Cincinnati in the mid-1800s by banker Nicholas Longworth. His specialty: sparkling wines from the native Catawba grape. By 1860, Ohio led the nation in wine production.

● NEW YORK: Founded in 1839, Brotherhood Winery in the Hudson River Valley is the oldest continously operating winery in the U.S.

● MISSOURI: The first AVA was established in 1980-in Augusta, Missouri.

● NORTH DAKOTA: In 2002 Pointe of View Winery made the state the 50th in the U.S. to have a commercial winery.

● MINNESOTA: Frontenac (red superstar in the Midwest and New England), La Crescent (white reminiscent of floral Riesling) and Marquette (not unlike Frontenac) grapes, bred at the University of Minnesota, can survive temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees.

● HAWAII: The most popular wines of Tedeschi Vineyards are Maui Blanc, a still pineapple wine, and Maui Splash, a pineapple wine with passion fruit essence.

● CALIFORNIA: 1) If it were a country, California would rank fourth in wine production, after France, Italy and Spain. 2) While the Napa Valley produces only 4% of the state's wine, it accounts for 25% of its wine sales revenue.

Bottom Line: An informative, eminently browsable, entertaining, handsome reference book that's a must-have for serious American wine lovers who are book lovers.

California Wine For Dummies
California Wine For Dummies
by Ed McCarthy
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.67
86 used & new from $0.01

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sparkling Guide to the Golden State's Wines, July 11, 2009
Like actors who are perfectly cast, the husband-and-wife team of Ed McCarthy and Mary Ewing-Mulligan are the ideal pair to write the "Dummies" wine books. Ewing-Mulligan, the first female MW (Master of Wine) in the U.S., is president of the International Wine Center in New York City and U.S. director of the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET). Both are Certified Wine Educators with many years of teaching experience between them. They know how to organize a book and bring clarity to a subject. And they know their subject backwards and forwards--as well as sideways and upside-down.

"California Wine for Dummies" is especially good at presenting the nuts and bolts: the regions (including the American Viticultural Areas [AVAs]) and what they're known for, the varietals, the six star grapes, the up-and-coming grapes and the supporting cast. Blends, rosés, sparkling and dessert wines are also featured. "Pairing and Sharing California Wines" presents vital information on food-and-wine matching, vintages, aging and collecting. Sidebars include subjects like advice for travelers, glassware, serving temperatures, producers that deserve special attention, how to taste wine like the experts do, etc. The authors don't always agree on everything and occasionally offer his and hers opinions.

As you probably know, California produces a wide gamut of wines, from the plebeian to the divine, with prices ranging from $2 to $750. The authors guide you to the most reliable producers at all price levels. Although it's not always easy to find delicious, inexpensive California wines, their Top Value recommendations feature some lovely wines that cost less than $12 or $15. Other categories include Moderately Priced (usually less than $20), Moderate-Plus (usually $50-$100), and occasionally Luxury (over $100) wines.

BOTTOM LINE: Since, as the authors write, "almost 70% of all the wine consumed in the U.S. is California wine," this book fills what was a surprising void in the "Dummies" line-up. "California Wine for Dummies" is a must-buy for those interested in wine. Much of it merits studying-even memorizing!
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