The Best Wine Books Coming Soon

The well-established wine literary genre is littered with much of the same. Primarily, newly issued wine books are for “dummies”, the easily intimidated, and those who want a shortcut. And that’s fine. Still occasionally—very occasionally—wine books of real interest are published.

I regularly look over Amazon’s list of “coming-soon” wine books to see what will soon be released that will be of interest to smart, confident, dedicated wine lovers. Here’s what I’ve found.

A GLASS HALF FULL: MY LIFE IN WINE
By Kevin Zraly (September 2018)
Kevin Zraly is the famed wine educator who took over the position of Wine Director at the Windows on the World restaurant in the World Trade Center at a very young age. From there he became a hero to many who were educated by him and his book, “Windows on The World Complete Wine Course,” one of the best-selling wine books of all time. He is also the holder of the James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award. This is Zraly’s memoir. It should be a fascinating read. Zraly has watched and helped America become a wine drinking nation. His insights and recollections of more than 40 years working in wine will be poured into this book.

THE SOMMELIER’S ATLAS OF TASTE: A FIELD GUIDE TO THE GREAT WINES OF EUROPE
By Jordan Mackay and Rajat Parr (October 2018)
The description of this book may overstate the case: “the most in-depth study of the world’s greatest wine regions ever published….for the first time ever, you can learn about the differences between wines from the 7 grand crus and 40 premier crus of Chablis, or the terroirs in Barolo, Champagne, and Bordeaux.” However, Mackay and Parr get points for ambition and this does look like an ambitious look at the modern European wine landscape written by a couple of folks who have a decidedly modern take on the issue. Parr is both a winemaker and a champion of the “In Pursuit of Balance” movement. Mackay is a noted wine writer who I’ve always observed to be very thoughtful about his subject matter. It will be interesting to see how this book differs from other Wine Atlas books and if they succeed in their rather grand ambitions.

WHAT MAKES WINE WORTH DRINKING: IN PRAISE OF THE SUBLIME
By Terry Theise (November 2018)
Back with his second attempt to establish himself as one of the most thoughtful and entertaining writers on wine is Terry Theise. The importer who has introduced us to so many wines both sublime and not over 14% alcohol, Theise will use this new issue to make the case for wines of delicate substance that are neither rude nor intrusive. I love reading Terry Theise and gobbled up his first book, “Reading Between the Wines“. I consider him somewhat subversive insofar as it often appears that he wants to convince as many people as possible that to drink robust, rich, plump, over 14% alcohol wines is to do yourself a disfavor. He makes a pretty good case for it, but if folks follow his lead, they certainly will miss out on a great deal. Nonetheless, having had a peek at this new book, I can say right now that Theise remains a valuable resource for the thoughtful reader and that this particular book was, for me, even more enjoyable a read than his first.

WINE FOR NORMAL PEOPLE: A GUIDE FOR REAL PEOPLE WHO LIKE WINE BUT NOT THE SNOBBERY THAT GOES WITH IT
By Elizabeth Schneider (February 2019)
I have to go on the record that I love Elizabeth Schneider. Of the various wine podcasters that have taken flight, she is among the most engaging, fun to listen to and passionate. My expectation is that, despite the subtitle, this book will likely be as engaging as she. The release date has been pushed back for various reasons, but I’m still including it here as a book to look forward to. In fact, my expectation is that Elizabeth’s take on the “wine-isn’t-so-complicated” genre will be far more satisfying than most as long as she stuffs this new read with her vibrant, upbeat personality. Plus, the woman knows her stuff, making it very likely that this book for non-snobs won’t be the too-often careless take on wine that so many such attempts at de-snobbifying wine turn out to be.

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One Response

  1. Eric Annino - July 10, 2018

    Tom, FYI, I’ve heard recently from the publisher that Zraly’s book has been delayed until spring 2020.


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