Bookmark this: 8 must-read wine books
By Rochelle Godwin
If you’re like me, and you found yourself hopping around local wine bars, open rooftops and beer gardens this summer, then I can assure you, you’re not alone. During your escapades you may have even found yourself frolicking around wine country every weekend, but now as the weather cools down, as do your adventures; but your passion for all things wine don’t have to. As the temperature drops, swap the platters in the sun for a bubble bath, a glass of red (or two) and some leisurely reading on your favourite hobby - wine!
So fill up your glass, get that water running and check out some of my bookshelf favourites, suitable for all wine lovers - from novice to expert level.
To get you started, pick up this book by wine educator, Clare Burder. Simple, succinct and helpful; this book will not only simplify wine but also beer, spirits and sake for you, in a witty yet informative way. This book is great to get your head wrapped around what exactly it is you enjoy about wine or beer (whether you like wines with tannin or wines with sweetness), then educates you on what that means and what to look for.
Once you’ve got that figured out, take your learning to the next step with The Wine Folly. It’s great for professionals and budding enthusiasts alike. With handy illustrations this book makes reading about wine fun, entertaining, and most importantly engaging and approachable. This is a staple for any wine lovers’ bookshelf, with some of the best wine maps going around. Want to try before you buy? Follow them on Instagram here for great examples of these comprehensive illustrations.
The Essential Scratch And Sniff Guide To Becoming A Wine Expert: Take A Whiff Of That By Richard Betts
If you prefer a more hands-on approach, this one’s for you. Don’t be surprised if you find people giving you funny looks for scratching away at the pages of your book, as you sniff your way to enhancing your sensory vocabulary. Master Sommelier, Richard Betts, will not only show you through classic fruit smells like cherry and peach, but also through smells like cork taint and mineral stone. From chardonnay to chenin blanc, you’ll be a pro in no time discerning the different nuances. You’ll definitely want a glass of wine in your hand while reading this one.
So you’ve mastered the basics and sensory evaluation from the last three books, it’s now time to get serious and add some food into the mix, although exercise caution if you plan to practice this in the bathtub. With expert advice from American Sommeliers, this book will guide you how to pair food and wine. It covers everything, even suggestions for your Big Mac *ah herm*. To make things easier and on-the-go, there’s an e-version available that you can use on your phone, which will undoubtedly be handy for your next restaurant outing.
Ready to take it to the next level? I recommend Larousse Wine as a great reference book to get your started; although, you’ll definitely come out pretty wrinkly if you take this sizeable book to the bathtub. Predictably, it becomes a little more text heavy, but is still a great educational resource to understand the differences between left bank and right bank wines from Bordeaux.
This book differs from those mentioned above, it’s not designed to have you mastering the basics, but is rather an homage to the universal drink of celebration, Champagne. It delves into the famous meals and celebrations that helped Champagne reach this regal status, and how such celebrations helped to build up the Champagne houses we now know and love. Think Sir Winston Churchill or Tsar Alexander II and how their celebrations of this infamous region have renowned houses honouring them with their Prestige Cuvée. O’Shea ultimately honours them all.
By this point, you’ve probably got a pretty good grasp on things, even perhaps found yourself some new table talk, it must be time to start planning your next road trip, right? Lonely Planet has you covered with their new series, Wine Trails: perfectly curated (and well researched) wine road trips throughout the world. Engaging, easy to follow and a trustworthy source. Check out our official Lonely Planet: Wine Trail in the Tamar Valley last year, here.
By now you’re a seasoned professional, and can just read about wine in your spare time. Grab this magazine to hear all about the travels of Jeremy and Heidi Holmes as they taste their way across the world. The casual writing style makes for easy reading to keep you current on wine trends, as well as help to gather some insight on the next drop you’d like to get your hands on. This mag is the perfect companion to your bottle (let’s be honest) of red and the bubble bath.
Cheers and happy reading, mofos!