The Complete Idiot's Guide to Wine Basics, 2nd Edition

Overview

From grape lover to grape aficionado.

The possibilities of learning about and buying wine have expanded and so has The Complete Idiot's Guide® to Wine Basics with a new edition. Here, readers can get their hands on new information such as ordering hard-tofind wine online, discussing the newest and most popular labels and vintages, and understanding the biggest trend in wine today—environmentally conscious wines and winemaking. Readers will ...

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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Wine Basics, 2nd Edition

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Overview

From grape lover to grape aficionado.

The possibilities of learning about and buying wine have expanded and so has The Complete Idiot's Guide® to Wine Basics with a new edition. Here, readers can get their hands on new information such as ordering hard-tofind wine online, discussing the newest and most popular labels and vintages, and understanding the biggest trend in wine today—environmentally conscious wines and winemaking. Readers will find:

•Essentials about the winemaking process, key terms, tips for tasting, and buying advice
•Organic, biodynamic and natural winemaking
•Winemaking in states other than California, Oregon, and Washington
•Regions gaining popularity, such as South Africa, Eastern Europe, and Portugal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592577866
  • Publisher: Alpha Books
  • Publication date: 11/4/2008
  • Series: Complete Idiot's Guide Series
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 455,522
  • Product dimensions: 7.36 (w) x 9.08 (h) x 0.86 (d)

Meet the Author

Tara Q. Thomas is the editor-in-chief of Wine & Spirits magazine since 1996. She also serves as the wine editor for the Denver Post, where she writes a bi- weekly column. She served as an editor for the Food and Wine wine guides and has held staff positions at Martha Stewart Living, Vogue, and Kitchen Arts and Letters.

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Table of Contents

Part 1 Grape Expectations: Laying Down the Basics 1
1 What Is Wine, Anyway? 3
Fabulous Fermentation 3
Buzzed Birds and Tipsy Princesses 4
Growing Good Wine 5
Turning Grapes Into Wine 13
Endless Variation, Endless Exploration 18
2 How to Read a Wine Label 21
The Lay of the Label 22
Who Made It 25
Where It's From 26
Reservations About "Reserve" and Other Terms 28
Which Grapes? 30
When Vintage Matters 32
Back Label Details 33
3 How to Taste: Get the Most Out of Your Glass 37
Setting Up a Tasting 38
Pop the Corks 42
The Five Ss 44
Putting Wine into Words 46
Part 2 What to Taste: The Big Nine 51
4 Chardonnay 53
What It Tastes Like 54
Where Chardonnay Grows 55
What's Your Style? 61
5 Sauvignon Blanc 65
The Smell of Sauvignon 65
Where Sauvignon Shines 67
Other Occidental Sauvignons 70
Sauvignon's Soul Mate, Semillon 73
Find Your Sauvignon Style 74
6 Riesling 79
Riesling: The Acid-Head's Grape 79
Where Riesling Gets Racy 81
A Matter of Style 91
7 Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris 95
Pinot's Many Faces 95
What's in a Name 96
Italy's Pride and Shame 97
Oregon's Stealth Grape 101
Pinot Gris Around the World 102
Picking Pinot Grigio 102
8 Cabernet Sauvignon (and Its Father, Franc) 105
Cabernet's Hallmark Flavor 106
Where It Grows 107
Meet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon's Father 116
Find Your Style 117
9 Merlot 121
Where Merlot Grows 121
Bordeaux, France (Again) 122
Washington State 124
California Merlot 125
Italian Merlot 126
The Rest of the World 127
What's Your Merlot Style? 129
10 Pinot Noir 133
What's the Attraction? 133
Burgundy: The Pinnacle of Pinot Noir 135
Oregon's Out Front 138
New Zealand 140
A Few Far-Flung Pinot Posts 140
What's Your Style? 143
11 Syrah/Shiraz 147
France's Northern Rhone 148
Australia's Claim to Fame 151
California's Rhone Rangers 154
Washington State 156
What's Your Style? 156
12 Zinfandel 159
Zinfandel's Origins 160
Zinfandel's Many Faces 161
Zinfandel's Purview 162
Zinternational 165
Primitivo 165
Which Zinfandel When? 166
Part 3 Regional Specialties 169
13 France's Fragrant Whites 171
Chenin Blanc 172
Gewurztraminer 174
Muscat 175
Viognier 176
14 Rhonely Blends from France and Beyond 179
Lonely Rhone Whites: Marsanne and Roussanne 180
Southern Rhone Whites 184
Pay Dirt in Vin de Pays? 185
Southern Rhone Reds 185
Touring the Rhone by Glass 190
15 Iberian Interests 193
Albarino/Alvarinho 194
Other Iberian White Wines 196
Which White When? 198
Tempting Tempranillo 199
Tastes of Tempranillo 202
Garnacha 203
Touriga and Portuguese Varieties 204
16 Italy's Originals 209
A Few Caveats First 209
Italy's Belle Bianchi 211
Piedmont's White Alternatives 211
Northern Stars Ribolla Gialla, Tocai Friulano 212
Trebbiano's Reach 213
Garganega 214
Falanghina, Fiano, and Greco: Campania's Ancient Trio 214
The Three V's: Verdicchio, Vernaccia, Vermentino 215
Vini Rossi 215
Sangiovese 216
Nebbiolo, Piedmont's Liquid Truffle 218
Barbera and Dolcetto 219
Corvina 220
Southern Specials 220
17 Underappreciated but Worth a Look 223
A Trio of Obscure Whites 224
Adventurous Reds 225
Greece's Awesome Antiquities 230
Part 4 Special Styles 233
18 All That Sparkles 235
Capturing Carbonation 236
Decoding the Sparkling Wine Label 238
Pick a Country, Any Country 240
Don't Point That Thing at Me! 244
When to Serve Sparkling Wines 245
19 Dessert Wines 247
Let It Hang: Waiting for Sugar 248
Holding On to Sugar 248
Light, Fizzy Sweet Wines 249
Sweet, Still Wines 251
Grapes on Ice 252
Noble Rot-No Kidding 253
20 Port and Other Fortified Wines 257
Port 258
Styles of Port 258
Zinfandel "Port" and Aussie "Tawny" 260
Setubal, Portugal's Other Fortified Wine 261
Sherry 261
Madeira 263
Vin Doux Naturel 264
Australia's Liqueur Muscat 265
Part 5 Shopping Time 267
21 Why Wine Costs What It Does 269
The Bare Necessities 270
Labor 272
Getting It to the Market 274
Retail vs. Restaurant Prices 276
To Recap 276
22 Buying Wine and Starting a Stash 279
Finding Your Dream Store 280
Ordering In 282
Finding Wine You Like 283
Navigating on Your Own 284
Starting a Stash 286
What Wines to Age 287
Where to Put It All 290
Part 6 Now You Have the Wine List... 293
23 Navigating the Wine List 295
Basic Etiquette 296
Business Dinner Etiquette 296
What's a Sommelier? 297
Take Advantage of the Sommelier 298
Do-It-Yourself Sommelier-ing 299
Picking Out the Best Buys 300
24 The Tasting Ceremony 303
What to Expect 304
The Rules of Rejection 306
The Invisible Tasting Ceremony 307
Decanting 307
BYOB 309
To Tip or Not to Tip 310
Part 7 Let's Eat (and Drink) 311
25 Pairing Wine and Food: Mechanics 101 313
Common Sense Counts 314
Take a Cue from the Locals 315
Underlying Mechanics 101 317
Parts of Wine 320
26 Company's Coming 323
Planning Ahead 323
Casual Affairs 326
Ambitious Affairs 327
Judging Amounts 328
Etiquette 328
When You're the Guest 329
27 Basics Down-Now What? 331
The More You Know, the More You Don't Know 331
Keep On Learning 332
Free Wine 332
Lots of Tastes, Little Cost 333
Charity Tastings 334
Restaurant Tastings 334
Courses and Classes 334
Tasting Clubs 335
Wine Festivals 336
Travel, Armchair and Otherwise 337
Appendixes
A Glossary 339
B Wine Resources 349
Index 355
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