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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Let's drink a toast to Joanna Simon for giving a clear and lively introduction to the mysteries of wine from within the pages of a coffee tablestyle book.
The book itself is so well illustrated with beauty shots of wines, vineyards, and cellars that you don't realize until the end that Simon has given you the equivalent of a semester-long wine course. As the award-winning wine correspondent of Britain's Sunday Times, Simon is experienced in the art of uncorking the world of wine for beginner and intermediate wine enthusiasts. Whether you're ready to move beyond Merlot or want help with pronunciation, Simon's book will prove a reliable and contemporary guide.
One of the most helpful sections is categorization of wine by style -- a feature that will help you choose unfamiliar wines you are likely to enjoy. If, for example, you like big, spicy reds like Zinfandel and Chilean Cabernet, Simon has a host of similar wine families, including Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Cornas from France, Primitivo and Barolo from Italy, and Ribera del Duero and Priorata from Spain. If you like (but are tiring of) California Chardonnay, you may want to branch out to Chablis from France, Viognier from Australia or California, white wines from Navarra in Spain, or Chenin Blanc from South Africa.
Simon guides you through the major and minor wine-producing grapes, from Malbec and Sangiovese to the South African Pinotage, and reviews the production of wine from growing to bottling. The art of tasting is well covered, from a glossary of wine language, aromas, and flavors, to the fine points of tilting, twirling, sipping, and, sometimes, spitting. There's a helpful pronunciation chart, along with expert advice for buying, storing, and serving. (Ginger Curwen)