- The Culinary Institute of America (CIA)
- Dewey Decimal Number:
- List Price:
- Number Of Items:
- Number Of Pages:
- Product Group:
- Product Type Name:
- Publication Date:
Recent User Reviews
"WineWise—Your Complete Guide to Understanding, Selecting and Enjoying Wine"
Within the pages of WineWise, Steven Kolpan, Brian Smith, and Michael Weiss take on the daunting task of educating their audience about both domestic and international wines. More importantly, the authors set out on a quest to transform their readers from being merely educated about wines, to being "WineWise" consumers who can apply their newfound knowledge. To accomplish this, instead of simply expounding upon cold, hard facts, the authors weave tips, insights, suggestions, tables, and photographic examples throughout the book, as well as including many side-bars and helpful notes. This format allows the book to be as complete as possible without being overwhelming. So, for its thorough examination of domestic and international wines, including both major and up-and-coming growing regions, WineWise is an excellent purchase for the wine enthusiast.
The first of three sections in this book is an overview of some basic, but still important, wine topics. Discussions include the wine industry, aging wines, major grape varieties, various wine styles, and wine-producing nations generally. Despite this broad spectrum of introductory material, WineWise only briefly discusses wine tasting and winemaking. This brevity, however, makes the reader keenly aware that the authors are anxious to begin their principal discussion on wines—a contagious sentiment. With the completion of this introductory material, you are now fully ready to examine the wines of the world.
The second section, the heart of the book, is where global growing regions and wines are examined in-depth. Of course, all the major wine-producing countries and regions are represented, including California, France, Italy, and Spain. But many less familiar international and domestic markets are also discussed, such as South America, Australia, South Africa, Washington, Oregon, and New York. For each location, the authors examine individual wineries, vineyards, grapes, and wines. They even get so specific as to discuss soil, climate, growing methods, use of native and imported grapes, mixing ratios, winemaking trends, and how to properly read a region's wine label! From this information, the authors help you understand exactly what to expect from a region's wines. Quite often, the discussion of each location is completed with an exciting wine recommendation or two, or the names of trusted winemakers to sample. Having studied all these regions and wines in-depth, and because the most important aspects of every region were dissected for you, your basic wine education is now established. You are now a WineWise consumer capable of exploring new wines with confidence—no excuses.
To help you share your newfound knowledge, the third and final section of the book covers the topics of entertaining and enjoying wine. Along with tips on entertaining, such as how to throw your first wine tasting, you will find practical tables to help you. These tables include lists of wines organized by their flavor profile, a cheat sheet for successful wine and food pairings, and a pre-written wine tasting grid to use while sampling wines. Finally, to complete their book, authors Kolpan, Smith, and Weiss each share their personal recommendations of powerful and affordable wines to sample from around the world. These recommendations are genuinely valuable because not only are you steered toward great, affordable wines, but you are also spared the hassle and expense of drinking countless inferior products. In other words, the research has been done for you, saving you money. With these recommendations and entertaining tips wrapping up the book nicely, you, as a WineWise consumer, are now prepared to share the joy of wine with others.
As to drawbacks of this book, only a few issues are noticeable. One drawback in WineWise, as mentioned, is the lack of information on wine tasting. The brevity on wine tasting/aroma results from the authors' encouragement to the readers to not be concerned with identifying specific flavors, but instead focus on the presence or absence of the major flavor categories of wines, i.e. sweet, sour, and bitter. Yet, contrary to this recommendation, the authors themselves end up describing each wine only by their specific flavors or jargon. Some descriptions the authors used included cigar box, limestone, or labeling a wine "flabby" without explanation of its meaning. Such descriptions are useless to an audience who were instructed to focus only on sweet, sour, and bitter flavors. Without a more detailed explanation of wine tasting notes and terminology, a number of the authors' wine descriptions lose their effectiveness.
Another drawback is the extreme contrast in writing styles between the authors. The styles range from very informative to extremely casual, nearing unacceptable. Slang, combined with major conclusions written as, "crazy, huh?" seem out of place in such a comprehensive wine book. Quoting a pop song, not once, but twice, to drive home a point is bad enough, but then to draw further attention to it with, "Oh wait, I already said that didn't I?" is a bit ridiculous and non-endearing. Generally, there is nothing wrong with casual and informal writing, especially if the entire book follows the same style. However, in this instance, due to the formal writing of the co-authors, the flow of the book suffers and makes reading it cover-to-cover a challenge. If used as a simple reference book one chapter at a time, I am sure that the mood swings in the book's tone would be irrelevant. But, again, these vastly different styles are present, are very noticeable, and may be a turnoff to some readers.
And yet, despite these drawbacks, WineWise still provides more information on a larger number of regions in one single book than many others currently on the market. Surely, a reader will be hard pressed to find a book that examines both California and France, and still provides a proportionate amount of detail for smaller regions like Oregon, New York, and Greece. Further, few books would take the time to provide side-by-side color photos contrasting similar wine labels to help the reader notice the slight differences in each. So, on the balance, the education that WineWise provides far outweighs any flaws in its pages.
The goal of WineWise is to educate its readers on global wines, and to make WineWise consumers out of average enthusiasts. By exploring the most important aspects of growing regions around the world, authors Steven Kolpan, Brian Smith, and Michael Weiss educate their audience without overwhelming them. And by weaving their personal insights, experiences, and tips into the book, they change this simple informational book into a powerful educational tool on wines. Enthusiasts who are searching for a well-rounded knowledge of international and domestic wines will appreciate the lessons learned, and will themselves become WineWise consumers.