Windows On the World Complete Wine Course: 2001 Edition: A Lively Guide

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The best beginner's book on wines...just keeps on getting better all the time! "One of the best start-from-scratch wine books ever written," wrote Frank Prial in The New York Times, praising this unique and unequalled guide that does far more than just tell you which red to drink with meat and which white with fish. And now, with 16 more pages, additional questions answered, new labels, and revised vintages, America's top-selling book on wine has just expanded its scope! As always, it remains packed with ...
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Overview

The best beginner's book on wines...just keeps on getting better all the time! "One of the best start-from-scratch wine books ever written," wrote Frank Prial in The New York Times, praising this unique and unequalled guide that does far more than just tell you which red to drink with meat and which white with fish. And now, with 16 more pages, additional questions answered, new labels, and revised vintages, America's top-selling book on wine has just expanded its scope! As always, it remains packed with full-color labels and maps, puts forward the most up-to-date recommendations, showcases fascinating sidebars, and best of all, features Kevin Zraly's inimitable, irreverent approach. Universally praised by wine experts and novices alike, this unbeatable "course" answers all your questions and starts you on your way to becoming a wine connoiseur. Go through the tasting process, from swirling the glass to sniffing to sipping, know when a wine is at its peak for drinking, and what to look for on a label. Take a country-by-country, region-by-region "best-buy" ratings tour of the latest vintages-whites, reds, and blended wines (champagne, sherry, and port) from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, California, the Pacific Northwest, New York, Australia, and two of the newest, hottest countries, Chile and Argentina. You'll love Zraly's lighthearted style, his glossary of wine terms, his award-winning restaurant wine lists, his advice on matching wine with food, and his tips on stocking and serving wine at home, ordering it in restaurants, and more. A uniquely intoxicating trek through the world of wine!
Since the terrorist attachs, Sterling is contributing money for every copy sold to the Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund established by restaurant owner David Emil and Chef Michael Lomonaco. "Sterling has had a relationship with the Windows on the World family and Kevin Zraly since 1985, and we are devastated by the losses they have sustained. We hope in some way that this donation wil lhelp the families of the victims..."--Charles Nurnberg, Sterling Eexecutive Vice President.

An entertaining and comprehensive wine guide which explains the many varieties and demonstrates how to judge them, from the wine director of New York's world-famous Windows on the World restaurant.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Kevin Zraly is the creator of one of the most famous wine lists in existence: that of the Windows on the World restaurant at the top of the World Trade Center in New York City. He is also the founder and instructor of the acclaimed Windows on the World Wine School. In his highly readable book—for years recommended by wine writers, producers, and sommeliers as the best, least intimidating book for anyone interested in learning more about wine—Zraly takes the reader on a tour of the great wine-producing regions of the world.

Incorporating such useful visual elements as maps, charts, and images of wine labels, Zraly starts with basics such as what kinds of grapes go into wine, how weather affects the harvest, and how to taste wine. Then, in an affable, question-and-answer format, Zraly explores both the red and white wine regions of France, Germany, California, Italy, Spain, and Australia, with detours to Washington, Oregon, and New York State. In each section, he explains which grapes are used in the region's important wines, gives advice on the best wines to buy and what to serve them with, notes trends over the last decade, and explains how to get the most information from wine labels. He also includes very useful sections on special wines like Champagne, Sherry, and Port, with advice on buying, storing, and serving. Sections on matching wine with food, ordering from restaurant wine lists, starting a wine cellar, and even creating a wine list for a restaurant are included as well.

In this year's edition, Zraly has updated his specific wine recommendations, his "Best Bets for Recent Vintages" information, and added new sections reflecting recent wine trends. For instance, in California, more acres are planted in Zinfandel grapes than any other variety (the infamous white Zinfandel is the largest-selling varietal wine in the U.S.), but Merlot has seen the fastest rate of new plantings over the past five years. Zraly predicts that California winemakers will continue to experiment with grape varieties like Syrah, Sangiovese, and Grenache.

Throughout Windows on the World Wine Course, Zraly makes it clear that there's no need to be intimidated by wine, whether you're buying an expensive bottle for a special occasion or looking for a fair price on a casual wine from a restaurant wine list. All you need is a basic understanding and a willingness to listen to your own tastebuds. This lively and practical book will help anyone interested in learning more about wine become an enthusiastic and informed wine lover.

—Kate Murphy Zeman

USA Today
A thoroughly user-friendly overview that asks and answers all the right questions.
House Beautiful
. . .a terrific gift.
New York Times Book Review
An elegant smorgasbord. . . One of the best start-from-scratch wine books ever written. . .If you have never bought a wine book before, start with this one. If you have a roomful of wine books, get this one anyway. It's a whole new way to look at the subject.
Boston Globe
. . .should be required reading for neophytes and intermediary wine lovers.
Wine and Spirits
Lively, down-to-earth style makes this an easy and enjoyable read.. . .a must-read. . . .Recommended.
Chef
. . .indispensable.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780806966991
  • Publisher: Sterling Publishing
  • Publication date: 12/31/2000
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 8.46 (w) x 10.32 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Meet the Author

The author lives in New Paltz, NY.
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Table of Contents

Dedication 4
Foreword 5
Introduction 7
Prelude to Wine 9
Class 1 The White Wines of France 21
Class 2 The White Wines of California and New York 44
Class 3 The White Wines of Germany
Class 4 The Red Wines of Burgundy and the Rhine Valley 75
Class 5 The Red Wines of Bordeaux 95
Class 6 The Red Wines of California 111
Class 7 The Wines of the World: Italy, Spain, & Australia 121
Class 8 Champagne, Sherry, and Port 139
Matching Wine and Food 153
Wine-Buying Strategies for Your Wine Cellar 159
Creating an Exemplary Restaurant Wine List 164
Wine Service in Restaurants 170
Award-Winning Wine Lists 176
Glossary and Pronunciation Guide 178
Index 187
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Interviews & Essays

On Saturday, January 10, barnesandnoble.com welcomed Kevin Zraly, author of WINDOWS ON THE WORLD COMPLETE WINE COURSE.


Moderator: Get a little sheepish when the waiter pours those first few drops of wine in your glass to taste? Do you fumble over those descriptives nutty, tired, bouquet, legs? Kevin Zraly, wine director at the renowned Windows on the World restaurant, is here to answer all of your wine queries. Welcome, Mr. Zraly! What are you sipping tonight?

Kevin Zraly: Well, I just opened a bottle from St. Supéry 1994 Meritage wine. St. Supéry is a winery in California, Napa Valley, and it was sent to me as a sample. I get thousands of bottles of wine a year that I must sample. It's a tough life. I have to start early in the morning -- would anyone like to join me?



Yuri from New Orleans: Hello, Kevin. I'm just wondering, what kind of wine would you serve with a traditional Thanksgiving dinner? Do you agree that Beaujolais should become the traditional wine of Thanksgiving?

Kevin Zraly: I just did a TV special in New York on Thanksgiving wines. I will also be on "The Today Show" on Saturday morning, probably speaking about the same thing. Thanksgiving is a family meal. My in-laws don't drink, so it's really just me and my two brothers-in-law, and they'll drink anything. But in general, when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, it's not just the turkey or the ham or the roast beef, it's all of the other fruits and vegetables and potatoes that are served with the meal, such as turnips, sweet potatoes, and cranberry, which make it difficult to find the perfect wine. I suggest, for those who drink red, that there's nothing wrong with having the Beaujolais Nouveau, but I personally prefer to have more body, which brings me to a Pinot Noir, either from California or from Burgundy, France. For those who prefer white, I would try a California Fumé Blanc that has some oak age, or a Chardonnay that has not been aged in oak, such as a Mâcon from France, or an inexpensive Chardonnay from California.



Shahla McGreary from Omaha, NE: What does it mean when someone says wine has legs?

Kevin Zraly: First, I'm watching the Nebraska football team every week, and I'm hoping they'll win. In regards to legs, there's only one kind of legs I look at -- and they have nothing to do with wine! My role in life for the last 27 years has been to take the excess hokum out of wine. The most important thing in wine tasting, which should be called wine smelling, is obviously the sense of smell, followed by the color of the wine, which tells me the drinkability of the wine. And then on to the fun part, which is the tasting.



Louise Harris from Chicago: I love wines! But recently I have been diagnosed with migraine headaches. I am told that sulfates in wines can trigger these headaches in some people. Do you know of any sulfate-free or low-sulfate-content wines? Recently I have explored organic wines. Thanks.

Kevin Zraly: Okay, first of all, all wines contain sulfates -- it is a natural by-product of fermentation. Some wineries around the world also use sulfur dioxide as an antioxidant, a preservative, and a disinfectant. The newest trend that I see happening is, as you said, organic wine, with no sulfites added or pesticides used. Two I will recommend, and there are many more, are from California, the Fetzer Winery, and from the Rhône Valley in France, the wines from Beaucastel. For a further directory of organically grown wines, you should contact the Wine Institute in San Francisco.



Kim from Queens: I had the pleasure of taking your class about a year ago. Loved it! Just curious -- what was the house white and house red at the Zraly house this summer? Could you include the year please? Thanks for your tip for Napa Ridge and Hawk Crest Chardonnays. They are heaven.

Kevin Zraly: I think you just answered part of the question. Those are two that I recommend, and for a few more, I would say the Robert Mondavi Woodbridge selections; and from France, Côtes du Rhône by Jaboulet; from Chile, the Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon; from Australia, the Rosemount Chardonnay or Shiraz. You should also go to a store called Best Cellars on 87th and Lexington where they only carry 100 wines, all under $10.



Mark Hammond from Chicago: What do you recommend as the best type of wine opener? Are there any special tricks to using a plain old corkscrew? I always seem to get cork in the bottle!

Kevin Zraly: I'm sorry about the Chicago Bears -- maybe next year. And that's the reason that wine consumption has gone up in Chicago! I personally have always used a waiter's corkscrew. I find it the easiest for me, but there are so many "easy" corkscrews to buy -- your life should be made easy. When opening a bottle of wine with whatever corkscrew, the biggest mistake that people make is not allowing the screw to go all the way through the cork. If you go halfway through, you will pull out half the cork, and so on.... If worse comes to worse, use your thumb.



Kendra from nesco.com: What's your opinion on Merlot-Cabernet combinations? I'm always a little skeptical of these labels.

Kevin Zraly: Some of my favorite wines in the world are made from a blend of Cabernet and Merlot. One of the most famous wine regions on earth is Bordeaux, France, and the red wines of this region are made by blending Cabernet and Merlot together. They are also the number-one collectibles in the wine world, which says something about their longevity. In California, I personally believe the best red wine is made with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and there is a new style wine called Meritage, which not only uses Cabernet and Merlot but other grapes that are also grown in the Bordeaux region. These are wines that need aging; the great Cabernet and Merlot blends definitely need aging. A great Château from Bordeaux needs a minimum of ten years before drinking.



Kerry from Hartford, CT: Can you explain the significance of the rooster label on Chiantis? Also, what's the best year for Chianti?

Kevin Zraly: I have one question for you first Can you tell me how many presidents they've had in Italy since the end of World War II? There have been over 50! What I'm trying to say is that for many years, the laws regarding the production of Chianti was abused, and the top producers decided to form a group in which they identify themselves with the rooster so the consumer would know the best Chiantis to buy. Today the laws are very much adhered to, and a great Chianti Classico Riserva are some of the best wines made in the world today. You might have noticed that the black rooster is no longer used. In regard to vintages, if you can find any from the 1990 vintage buy them up, and also look for the newly released 1995.



Homer from Brooklyn: I was at Balthazar this weekend and was given a glass of wine that I was told was really expensive. It was a red wine from Chateau Ste. Michelle. Please tell me about it. (I was too embarrassed to admit my ignorance to my colleague.)

Kevin Zraly: Chateau Ste. Michelle is one of the premier wine makers of Washington State and accounts for over 75 percent of the production from Washington State. It is owned by a small company called U.S. Tobacco. Most likely the wine that you had was either a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Merlot, both of which grow extremely well in Washington State's Columbia Valley. They also represent extremely good value.



Elisa from NYC: My roommates love wine, but we can hardly afford to drink it as often as we would like. Could you suggest two to three reasonable varieties of reds, preferably Chianti and Merlot, that won't break our banks?

Kevin Zraly: Lets start with Chiantis. There are many good producers of Chianti. It is important that you not just buy a Chianti, but a Chianti Classico Riserva. Or, if times are really bad, you could just have a Chianti Classico, but it would have to come from the 1995 vintage. Three to look for Antinori, Brolio, and Ruffino. In regards to Merlot, I would look at Chile and, as mentioned, Los Vascos. Another good one is called Concha y Toro, from the U.S. I would look toward Washington State -- one of my favorites is called Columbia Crest. And lastly, one of the hottest regions in France is called Languedoc-Roussillon; look for a label called Fortant de France.



Matthew Broden from Old Saybrook, CT: What's your philosophy about half-finished bottles? Is it okay to recork and stick the unfinished wine in the fridge, or should we leave it out? Then how long will it last once it's corked?

Kevin Zraly: Matthew, I hope you will remember the song "Does your chewing gum lose its flavor on the bed-post overnight?" Does wine lose its flavor and change after it's been opened? The answer is yes, although I've never had this problem, because I finish everything, just like my mother said. Seriously, the most important thing you can do is cork the wine immediately and put it into the refrigerator, whether it's red or white. Do not leave it on your kitchen countertop -- bacteria grows in a warmer temperature. Bottom line You've got 48 hours.



Tony from Hartford, CT: Mr. Zraly, Do you have any favorite Argentinian Malbecs and/or reds from Portugal?

Kevin Zraly: My favorite winery of Argentina is Weinert, which produces a great Malbec. When it comes to Portugal, they have just recently, in my opinion, put more time and effort into making higher quality reds and whites. And therefore I have nothing at this time to recommend, but I am watching Portugal closely, while I drink my '63 vintage port.



Michael from Poughkeepsie, NY: Hello, I just recently moved to the Dutchess County area, and I have discovered several vineyards in the county. I was wondering if an area such as this, with such a short growing season, is capable of producing a quality wine, and if so, are you familiar with any of the wineries in this area? Thank you.

Kevin Zraly: Hi, neighbor. I live on the other side of the river, in Nupals. The answer to your question will be answered when you try the wines of Millbrook winery. Not only do they produce an excellent Chardonnay but their Pinot Noir has also won many awards. But I do agree with you that the growing season here in the Hudson valley probably is too cold to grow Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot.



Carter from Georgia: Hi. I am reading everywhere that 1997 is going to be a great year for wine. What makes a good year? Do you agree? Even California wines? Thank you for taking my question.

Kevin Zraly: The answer is God. Meaning that He controls the weather, and 1997 I'm sure will be a great vintage in certain regions on earth, but not everywhere. Basically, the wine writers have looked at all the weather conditions, such as how many days of sunlight, how much rain, when did the growers pick the grapes, etc., but few have tasted the finished product. Therefore, 1997 vintage, or any vintage for that matter, is just like a horse race The wine might be coming around the bend, but except for Beaujolais Nouveau, it hasn't reached the finish line.



Moderator: Thanks so much for joining us here tonight, Mr. Zraly. I think I speak for us all when I say you've really lessened the mystery about wine. I, for one, am on my way to enjoy a bottle. Goodnight!

Kevin Zraly: In case this is an emergency white with fish, red with meat. May all your vintages be great.


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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 71 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(18)

4 Star

(25)

3 Star

(18)

2 Star

(7)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 71 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 13, 2009

    Kevin is the best wine enthusiast I have ever met.His books help me understand the complexities and simplisities of wine

    A book worth buying and using as reference over and over.
    Helps the non-educated wine lover how to pair wines or simply purchase a bottle to drink with a friend or alone!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Must Have!

    I have quite a number of books about wine and consistently find this the most comprehensive and accessible for avid but non-professional wine enthusiasts like myself. I buy the new edition each year and there's always a friend waiting to take the previous year's copy off my hands. Highly recommended.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 2, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A great source of information for anybody who is simply curious about wine.

    This is an invaluable source of information about wine, both for beginners and those who are wine lovers in an easy to read and understandable format. However, Mr. Zraly failed to "mention" the TRUE American grape -NORTON- that is a native to Virginia and is also grown in Missouri. I would highly encourage Mr. Zraly to visit Chrysalis Vineyard in Middleburg, Virginia and become aquainted with this fabulous grape. V/R Edward Lohmann

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    excellent gift for wine lovers

    I bought this book for my son-in-law and he loves it. It is a beautiful book as well as being an excellent reference on wines around the world. I intend to buy a copy for myself. It makes a great coffee table book too.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2009

    family loved it

    I bought two of these books for the wine lovers in the family and both families loved it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2006

    Best. Wine Book. Ever.

    Not only is this book written in Zraly's famous appealing breezy style and form, it is equally brilliant in it's top-notch professional wine education. This should be the first book you give to someone who is interested in wine but doesn't know where to begin. This book will help the novice LOADS, while simultaneously delighting and intriguing the aficionado. Kevin Zraly is truly the quinessential wine educator, without the ego that usually follows. A MUST for your collection.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2012

    SvhffdrerrXttdkujtb

    $*-*%*%*$6$7$*$*$*$*1&$****-;$;#/#/#,$$-#-#-"
    #/#;;$*"*$*$

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 30, 2011

    Doesn't run well on Nook Color

    The book is great, content-wise, but the enhanced features do not run very well on my Nook Color. In fact, it seems to bog down the normal book experience, too. Pages turn slow, it hangs, etc. Would rather just own a hard-copy of this book. 5 stars for the book, 1 star for the enhancements equals 3 stars overall.

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  • Posted March 30, 2010

    It is a good book to start!

    I enjoy reading this book. It is my first approach to the wine world and I found it very easy to understand!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2010

    IN VINO VERITAS

    Excellent book for a person who wants to truly learn and explore everything about the enjoyable simple pleasure in life as a glass of wine. Whether having with dinner, for a special occasion, or the simple reward to oneself, this is a book that would enlighten you in friendly conversational terms that would enhance your wine drinking to which you would expand it to your taste and budget. Cheers!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2005

    I Know Nothing About Wine

    However, this book has inspired me to 'get into' wine for the first time. The book captures the romance and appeal of the great wines. As accompaniments to great food, knowing about the great wines of the world makes for a complete dining experience. Just the basic knowledge has given me more confidence ordering wines in fine restaurants.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2004

    Understanding Wine made fun and easy

    Before reading this book, my knowledge of wine was limited to 'Red' or 'White. Kevin's book claims that you will be able to walk into a wine shop and order with authority and know exactly what you want and how to find it. I thought that was a reach, but anyone reading this book will actually get there in very littel time. I did. In a very short period of time, you really know what to look for and can begin to enjoy the world of wine. You can immediatley get rid of that 'doe in headlights' look when they hand you the wine list. More important, you can begin to really enjoy great wines at reasonable prices (I though high price equaled quality - not always). This book could be titled 'Wine for Dummies' since it covers all the basics. If you really want, it covers additional information for the advanced group as well. I believe this book provides all of the detail you'll ever need, unless you want to go into the business). This is a great book that I highly reccomend. It's easy to read, informative and can be put to use immeidately.

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