Andrea Immer Robinson's 2006 Wine Buying Guide for Everyone: Revised Edition

Overview

The ultimate buying guide to America’s most popular and accessible wines is now in its fourth edition and features more than two hundred brand-new listings.

Completely updated with information on more than seven hundred of the country’s top-selling wines (fifty more than were included in the 2005 edition), Andrea Immer’s buying guide is dedicated to the best-quality, most popular, and readily available wines found in stores and restaurants. In...
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Overview

The ultimate buying guide to America’s most popular and accessible wines is now in its fourth edition and features more than two hundred brand-new listings.

Completely updated with information on more than seven hundred of the country’s top-selling wines (fifty more than were included in the 2005 edition), Andrea Immer’s buying guide is dedicated to the best-quality, most popular, and readily available wines found in stores and restaurants. In addition to giving the lowdown on taste and value, this compact resource is packed with unique features such as:

• Candid “from the trenches” comments from consumers and wine pros alike

• Results of “kitchen survivor tests,” revealing how every wine fares as a leftover

• Immersion Course: easy lessons in label reading and wine-list decoding

• Immer’s Best Bets for solving every buying dilemma, from hip wines to impress a date to blue-chip choices for a client

• Listings of the year’s top-performing wines at every price level, from steal to splurge
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Product Details

Meet the Author

ANDREA IMMER is the author of Great Wine Made Simple, Great Tastes Made Simple, and Everyday Dining with Wine. She is the wine and spirits columnist for Esquire, Dean of Wine Studies at the French Culinary Institute in New York City, and hosts Simply Wine on the Fine Living Network.
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Read an Excerpt

Introduction

Although enjoying a good glass of wine is easy, all the types, costs, and confusing labels can make shopping for a bottle pretty hard. For the typical wine consumer, buying guidance--in the form of critics' 100-point scores and elaborate tasting reports of rare and exclusive bottlings--isn't much help. That is why I wrote Andrea Immer's Wine Buying Guide for Everyone. It is your road map to the real world of wine buying--from restaurants and hotels to supermarkets, price clubs, wine shops, and websites. Here is what you'll find inside:

Real-World Wines
This guide showcases more than 400 of the most popular and available wines on the market. That includes everything from supermarket stalwarts to trade-up labels to superpremium "restaurant" brands (with plenty of boutique pedigree but without the you-can't-get-it frustration). Putting it plainly, if the wine is in your favorite neighborhood shops and eateries, at your supermarket or Costco, Olive Garden or Walt Disney World, Marriot or Carnival Cruises, Delta Airlines or wine.com, it's probably in this book.

Wine Reviews from the Trenches
I am indebted to the many consumers and wine pros who helped assess, for each of the wines in this book, what really matters to buyers at the point of purchase--taste and value for the money. For each wine, you'll also see their real-world reaction, as well as my impressions of how the wine stacks up in its grape or style category and in the marketplace overall. My tasters also contributed write-in candidates to the list of wines, and I've included those that received the highest number of positive mentions and have decentavailablity. There's also space in each listing for your notes, so you can keep track of the wines you try. (I hope you'll share your impressions with me for the next edition--read on to see how.)

Other Helpful Buying Tools in the Guide
Throught the Immer Guide, I've included simple tools to address just about every major wine buying question I've ever been asked. They are:

Best-of Lists--a quick reference to the top performing wines in each grape or style category.

Andrea's Kitchen Fridge Survivor™ and Kitchen Countertop Survivor™ grades--"How long will a wine keep after it's opened?" Having heard this question more than any other from my restaurant customers and wine students, I decided several years ago that it was time to find out, so I started putting every wine I tast professionally to the "fridge/countertop test." The resulting report card should help both home wine drinkers and restauranteurs who pour wine by the glass and make the most of the leftovers, by simply recorking and storing red wine on the kitchen countertop and storing recorked sparkling, white, and pink wines in the fridge.

Immer Robinson Best Bets--This is the book's "search engine" of instant recommendations for every common wine occasion and buying dilemma, from Thanksgiving wines to restaurant wine list best bets, party-crowd pleasers, Blue chip bottles to impress the client, and more.

Wine List Decoder--This handy cross-reference chart will help you crack the code of different wine list terms, so you can quickly and easily find the styles you like.

Great Wine Made Simple Mini-Course--Mini lessons covering wine styles, label terms, glassware, buying wine in stores and restaurants, and other housekeeping details to simplify buying and serving wine, so you can focus on enjoying it.

I had been in the restaurant wine business for more than a decade before I wrote my first book, Great Wine Made Simple. Having studied like crazy to pass the Master Sommelier exam (the hardest wine test you can imagine), I knew there were lots of great books out there. So why another? Because as I worked training waiters and budding sommeliers, I had begun to see that in practice those books weren't much help. Wine, like food, golf, the saxophone, and so many other sensory pursuits, is something you learn not by studying but by doing. So Great Wine Made Simple teaches wine not through memorization but the way I learned it--through tasting. It works, its fun, whether you are just a dabbler or a committed wine geek.

Similarly, I intend this guide to fill a gap. Most people around the country buy wine based on price and convenience. And whether it's restaurant guests, live callers on my Food Network and radio appearance, or e-mail from readers of my Esquire column, they all have the same questions: What are the good, cheap wines? And which wines are really worth the splurge? This buying guide is the first to answer those questions realistically, featuring wines and tastes in the broad marketplace, along with plenty of shrewd pro advice to help you make the most of every wine purchase. Food is one major way to do that, so as a professionally trained cook I've included lots of pairing pointers.

What’s New in This Year’s Guide

First, lots of wines! With the re-launch of my Web site andreaimmer.com, I recruited lots of new palates to the Tasting Panel… and they worked hard! My panel has now rated literally thousands of wines, and culling that list for really worthy selections to include in the Guide resulted in two hundred new additions with impressive taste and value reviews. One note: you will not see the new additions included in the Best Of table rankings because they’re so new to the book (but they’ll be eligible next year if they continue to perform well with the panel). I hope you’ll log on to andreaimmer.com, join the Tasting Panel, and contribute your reviews–it’s free, and a great way to keep track of your tasting notes. While you’re there you can check out my new interactive wine-tasting DVD, Andrea’s Complete Wine Course, and my new wine club, the A-List™. Now for the trends.

Hurrahs for Shiraz and Pinot Grigio

These two grapes continue to see sizzling sales, prompting just about every major brand, from Beringer to Yellow Tail, to add them to their lineup if they weren’t there already. That said, there’s a lot of sameness in the sea of new sips, so I only added a handful–the best of them–to the Guide.

The Critters Are Coming!

Maybe someone should build an ark, because this wine market is awash in a new flood of wines sporting animals on the label–seriously! If you check out the supermarket or wine shop, you’ll see wine shopping is starting to seem like visiting a zoo (maybe you already felt that way anyway!). Ever since Yellow Tail wines, with the kangaroo on the label, took the market by storm, cute creatures have crawled onto brand after brand. In those cases where the wine is as compelling as the label, I’ve included them in the Guide.

A Dream Come True

We wine geeks wondered if we’d ever see the day: Riesling and Pinot Noir, darlings of the sommelier set and my two favorite grapes in the world, have finally begun to catch the mainstream wine market’s attention. Even before Pinot Noir made its big-screen debut in the movie Sideways, the world’s most complex red grape had begun to see sales gains across every price point. Same with Riesling, and wineries are scrambling to source more to meet the demand. It might seem surprising the two of the most elegant grapes have come on so strong in a market generally dominated by big Chardonnays and strapping Shirazes, but I think it’s a sign of the ever-growing sophistication of American wine consumers. While they’re not abandoning the big go-to grapes, they are expanding their taste horizons.

Tasters Are Trading Up (and Down)

Since national sales trends have shown impressive sales gains in the super-premium ($15 and up) price sector, you’d expect my panel’s contributions to emphasize more and more high-end wines, and in fact they did. The average price of the new wines added to the Guide was a whopping $29! Yet there were also scores of value-priced wines on the list. Perhaps that means that what I’ve hoped for all along is starting to happen: Americans are enjoying inexpensive, everyday wines on a more frequent basis, and then enjoying a bottle that’s a little more special just a little more often (like once a month, or even once a week!). I sure hope so! If that describes you, then this edition of the Guide should be the most helpful yet. Enjoy!
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First Chapter

Introduction

Although enjoying a good glass of wine is easy, all the types, costs, and confusing labels can make shopping for a bottle pretty hard. For the typical wine consumer, buying guidance--in the form of critics' 100-point scores and elaborate tasting reports of rare and exclusive bottlings--isn't much help. That is why I wrote Andrea Immer's Wine Buying Guide for Everyone. It is your road map to the real world of wine buying--from restaurants and hotels to supermarkets, price clubs, wine shops, and websites. Here is what you'll find inside:

Real-World Wines
This guide showcases more than 400 of the most popular and available wines on the market. That includes everything from supermarket stalwarts to trade-up labels to superpremium "restaurant" brands (with plenty of boutique pedigree but without the you-can't-get-it frustration). Putting it plainly, if the wine is in your favorite neighborhood shops and eateries, at your supermarket or Costco, Olive Garden or Walt Disney World, Marriot or Carnival Cruises, Delta Airlines or wine.com, it's probably in this book.

Wine Reviews from the Trenches
I am indebted to the many consumers and wine pros who helped assess, for each of the wines in this book, what really matters to buyers at the point of purchase--taste and value for the money. For each wine, you'll also see their real-world reaction, as well as my impressions of how the wine stacks up in its grape or style category and in the marketplace overall. My tasters also contributed write-in candidates to the list of wines, and I've included those that received the highest number of positive mentions and have decent availablity.There's also space in each listing for your notes, so you can keep track of the wines you try. (I hope you'll share your impressions with me for the next edition--read on to see how.)

Other Helpful Buying Tools in the Guide
Throught the Immer Guide, I've included simple tools to address just about every major wine buying question I've ever been asked. They are:

Best-of Lists--a quick reference to the top performing wines in each grape or style category.

Andrea's Kitchen Fridge Survivor™ and Kitchen Countertop Survivor™ grades--"How long will a wine keep after it's opened?" Having heard this question more than any other from my restaurant customers and wine students, I decided several years ago that it was time to find out, so I started putting every wine I tast professionally to the "fridge/countertop test." The resulting report card should help both home wine drinkers and restauranteurs who pour wine by the glass and make the most of the leftovers, by simply recorking and storing red wine on the kitchen countertop and storing recorked sparkling, white, and pink wines in the fridge.

Immer Best Bets--This is the book's "search engine" of instant recommendations for every common wine occasion and buying dilemma, from Thanksgiving wines to restaurant wine list best bets, party-crowd pleasers, Blue chip bottles to impress the client, and more.

Wine List Decoder--This handy cross-reference chart will help you crack the code of different wine list terms, so you can quickly and easily find the styles you like.

Great Wine Made Simple Mini-Course--Mini lessons covering wine styles, label terms, glassware, buying wine in stores and restaurants, and other housekeeping details to simplify buying and serving wine, so you can focus on enjoying it.

I had been in the restaurant wine business for more than a decade before I wrote my first book, Great Wine Made Simple. Having studied like crazy to pass the Master Sommelier exam (the hardest wine test you can imagine), I knew there were lots of great books out there. So why another? Because as I worked training waiters and budding sommeliers, I had begun to see that in practice those books weren't much help. Wine, like food, golf, the saxophone, and so many other sensory pursuits, is something you learn not by studying but by doing. So Great Wine Made Simple teaches wine not through memorization but the way I learned it--through tasting. It works, its fun, whether you are just a dabbler or a committed wine geek.

Similarly, I intend this guide to fill a gap. Most people around the country buy wine based on price and convenience. And whether it's restaurant guests, live callers on my Food Network and radio appearance, or e-mail from readers of my Esquire column, they all have the same questions: What are the good, cheap wines? And which wines are really worth the splurge? This buying guide is the first to answer those questions realistically, featuring wines and tastes in the broad marketplace, along with plenty of shrewd pro advice to help you make the most of every wine purchase. Food is one major way to do that, so as a professionally trained cook I've included lots of pairing pointers.
Read More Show Less

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2006

    Handy Book

    We always take this with us when we go wine shopping. It has really helped us enjoy wine with meals and parties.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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