Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Wine Taster's Guide: Drink and Learn with 30 Wine Tastings by Joe Roberts

I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of WINE TASTER'S GUIDE, which is the third wine-themed book I've been sent this year to review, and my official #1 favorite. So long, other books. It was nice knowing you. This is officially my FAVORITE wine book ever and I will be recommending it to everyone I know who likes wine, because it has advice and knowledge that will appeal to everyone, regardless of their level of wine knowledge, but especially to those who are new to the wine game.

Being from California, I am OBSESSED with wine (as you probably know, if you are familiar with my interweb presence, which features many a wine bottle), but as with anything that is a matter of taste, wine tasting and buying is filled with its share of snobs and pretension. WINE TASTER'S GUIDE is the least pretentious book about wine that I have ever read and so accessible to beginners. I wish I'd had this when I was a twenty-one-year-old newbie going about town for the first time, because it would have made me feel not only better about what I was doing, but also about my taste in wine.

Despite being short, this is a very thorough intro guide and very affordable ($10 to buy in ebook and it's free right now if you have Kindle Unlimited). It covers everything from wines that are good for beginners, to the grape varietals, to the wines specific regions are known for, to how to have your own tasting party and what you should serve/pair with what. Plus, there are also some other really helpful tips that some guides forget when addressing beginners, like translations for French, Spanish, and Portuguese wine labels, and some information on how to get the most bang for your buck and what is actually worth spending $ on. For example, he says you should look at the tasting notes and maybe not get wines that taste like things you hate, and that buying different shaped wine glasses really isn't worth the money unless you're so well-trained as a wine-drinker that the taste difference would actually be noticeable to you.

I also love how the author, Joe Roberts, had so many suggestions for different wines. In the beginning, he includes a list of wines for beginners to try (including some that come in cans and boxes! Bless). He has lists of wines by type and region, an under $10 list, a list of his personal faves, and a list of wines that he thinks would be great for a tasting party along with foods to pair them with. I try not to deface books, but I was dog-earring pages left and right in this one, and the next time I go to Safeway or wherever, I'm going in with a wine shopping list to see if I can seek out any of these yummy new-to-me wines.

So many of my friends come to me for recommendations since they know that I'm not a judgy snot when it comes to wine (about books... however), and some of them have bemoaned their lack of knowledge, or that their favorites are things like sweet sparkling wines or rose. I always tell them that opinion is subjective and at the end of the day, having good taste in wine just means being able to buy what you like and enjoy it. They always walk away feeling better-- and with some of them, I've even been able to sway them to the dark red side, because I'll give them a jammy rioja or zin, when some snob was plying their newbie palate with things like cab franc or bordeaux that aren't accessible to people who haven't really had that introductory course to white wines.


Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review! 

5 out of 5 stars

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