Search This Blog

Saturday, May 23, 2009


pages, ISBN 978-0-9684986-2-0, $12.95 paper covers) is by Richard Best,
who is frugal in all things including wine. He is a wine writer
colleague of mine, and wine educator based in Oakville. He runs, and he was nominated for a James Beard Award for
Internet websites and writing. This basic primer covers over 250 wine
grapes, both red and white, plus some wine styles. These are the more
popular varieties and hybrids that one will run into in North America,
out of the thousands used in wines around the world. Each alphabetized
entry gets a name with a pronunciation guide, synonyms, wine style or
region, and a description of the grape. This is followed by "classic"
tasting notes for the grape (what I call MVC or "modal varietal
character") plus classic food matching ideas. In the appendix, you will
find some notes on Old World Appellations, a glossary, and a nifty
bibliography for further reading. Plus, of course, an index, even
though the grapes are already entered alphabetically in the main texts.
The book is available from
Audience and level of use: basic primer, useful for quick ID.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: One example: his descriptors
for Malbec says "often described as a rustic Merlot…produces dark,
juicy, flavourful wines with high extract, low acid and low to moderate
tannins. Aromas include blackberry, plums, spice and a slightly gamey
note. Can age well." Food choices for Malbec? "Steak and kidney pie,
lamb shanks, beef en croute, beef Wellington, game, mature hard
cheeses, cabbage rolls, duck a l'orange, truffles, steak tartare."
The downside to this book: the binding may not support multiple
repeated searches.
The upside to this book: this book is sure to be well-used.
Quality/Price Rating: 90.

No comments: