Becoming Less Clueless About Wine
In Bill Daley's Chicago Tribune article today ("Clueless About Wine?") he is kind enough to include comments I made in this blog on the topic of how wine-knowledgeable folks ought to treat those who don't have much knowledge about wine but who have very basic questions. In this article he list 10 wines a beginner should try to get a head start on understanding wine. It's a great list.
In connection with "Clueless About Wine", Bill writes in his "The Stew" blog posting on another important matter: books can be a great source of foundational knowledge for wine beginners. He lists 5 great books to begin with.
It turns out I recently was sent a new book that I think is also a really outstanding work for beginners. "Drink This: Wine Made Simple" is by Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl, a columnist for Minnesota Monthly and a James Beard Award nominee. "Drink This" is an outstanding beginners book!
"Drink This" is organized around grape varieties, making it something of a New World-centric book. And yet, as Grundahl discusses the what to like and dislike about a variety, the back story of the variety, provides interviews with well known producers of the grape variety, discusses issues of terroir and winemaking surrounding the variety, explains what to expect from wines made from the variety at different price points, provides step-by-step instructions on how to undertake a learning tasting of different grape varieties, and finally offers samples of wines made from each variety that will know your socks off, she always includes outstanding background on how the wine is made and grown AROUND THE WORLD…including in the Old World.
It's really a great approach. And true to the style of writing she has fleshed out in her Minnesota Monthly column on wine, Dara is both witty and opinionated. I like that and the reader, including the novice, should like it too.
One of my favorite elements of "Drink This" comes a the end of the 350 page book: A Wine Drinkers Bill of Rights. Among yours and my rights are 1) The Right to Enjoy Your Own Taste, 8) The Right to Decent Glassware, and 9) The Right To Wine Served At The Correct Temperature. There are 11 rights in all, none of which are controversial, but many of which elude wine drinkers.
This is the kind of book that a forward thinking winery would purchase about 100 copies of, keep behind their tasting room bar, and whenever someone comes in who is clearly a novice yet also clearly very interested in wine, would in their bag free of charge…just to ensure they get a great wine education.
DRINK THIS: WINE MADE SIMPLE—Everything You've ever wanted to know about the most wonderful drink on earth. (2009)
By Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl