The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil:
I think the great thing about this book is that she manages to give lots and lots of information, but to present it in a more approachable way. Some of it is still pretty dense and complex (I’m looking at you, French wines) but she makes it more manageable than some.
The Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia, 4th Edition by Tom Stevenson:
The people at my local wine store love this book. It is certainly full of good information and often contains more specifics that Karen MacNeil in terms of well-known wine labels, etc. However, this one is definitely not a light read. It means business and is a bit of a tome. It is a great library volume for those wanting to really improve their know-how, but not meant for the beach.
Biology of the Grapevine by Michael G Mullins:
While this is more of a viticulture textbook, it is a paperback, and I think is actually very readable. The first few chapters in particular are a breeze and very interesting. They focus on the history of grape cultivation and the difference between American and European grape varieties (remember?) If you’re dying to get down to a more botanical level and understand how the vines make the berries so very tasty, this one is a really great read.
And, in a more fun and frivolous vein, I was given The Food Lover's Guide to Wine by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg as a Christmas gift a few years ago. It's very basic in terms of tasting techniques, color evaluation, etc. But I think it does have some of the most usefully simplified descriptions of varietals and what to expect from them. One friend commented on my post a few weeks ago regarding wine descriptors saying she's more of a food gal, so food references are useful to her when trying to describe wines. Well, this book has a whole section that is basically "if you like ____ (be it cheese or honey, or nectarines, etc,) then you might like ____ wine." Kinda fun if you're trying to branch out and try new stuff!
I know I've linked these to Amazon, but where possible, please support your local bookstore! If they don't have it in stock, most will be happy to order it for you.
Do you have any favorite wine books? Share them in the comments!
Did you know?
Due to pH and alcohol content, there are no known human pathogens that can survive in wine. Even wines that are considered spoiled will not make people sick. Glug Glug!