I’ve been inundated with wine book samples this month (which I’ll note is November 2016, for posterity’s sake, and for those of you still sobering up from Thanksgiving), both the electronic and the good, old-fashioned dead-tree varieties. And so, I’m going to use this edition of the wine product roundup to give you a little taste of the current wine book scene (all prices noted are for hardcover editions).
Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine 2017: 40th Anniversary by Hugh Johnson ($16.99, Mitchell Beazley)
Bottom line: highly recommended.
Every year for the last several years, I’ve received a sample of the latest edition in this series. Every year for the last several years, I think that this insanely useful little gem cannot possibly get any more insanely useful. Every year for the last several years, I have been wrong, and 2016 continues the trend. The high bar that’s been set for this go-to reference book for the last forty years has predictably been matched, but I’d argue it’s also been exceeded, in that the “If you like this, try that” and “wine stories” article themes that have been reserved for this edition’s color pages sections are superb (and make the book even more useful). If you’ve skipped the last couple of editions, it’s time for an upgrade.
The 24-Hour Wine Expert by Jancis Robinson ($12.95, Abrams Image)
Bottom line: recommended, with reservations.
It’s not that The 24-Hour Wine Expert isn’t a very good wine book; it is, and Jancis Robinson brings her sharp prose and equally sharp mind to pop many a wine myth balloon within its short 112 pages. The idea, espoused by Robinson in the opening Welcome section, is to use the book to answer common wine questions (how is wine made?, how should one buy wine?, what hardware should be used?, etc.) as they come up. The trouble is, the book is positioned in a way that leverages the very kinds of sweeping generalizations and shortcuts that Robinson has spent nearly her entire career in the public spotlight battling against, and ignores a more comprehensive wine knowledge resource of which Robinson has become a particularly skilled champion: the Internet. There’s useful information here, no doubt, but the usefulness of a hardcover copy is debatable…
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- 14 Troon Vineyard Black Label Vermentino (Applegate Valley): Nuts, lemons, & the waterfront; wait this isn't from Corsica? Holy sh*t! $30 A- >>find this wine<<
- 13 Concha y Toro Don Melchor Puente Alto Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Maipo Valley): This label is as Chilean as their national flag $125 A >>find this wine<<
- 13 Principe Corsini Fattoria le Corti Cortevecchia Chianti Classico Riserva (Chianti Classico Riserva): Tuscan sun, with attitude. $35 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 15 Chateau d'Esclans Rock Angel Rose (Cotes de Provence): It really does kind of rock, actually, & hard enough to forgive the moniker $29 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 13 Long Shadows Pedestal Merlot (Columbia Valley): Hold on to yer butts, & prepare yourself for a powerful, tannic kick to the kisser $60 A- >>find this wine<<
- 14 Talbott Vineyards Sleepy Hollow Vineyard Pinot Noir (Santa Lucia Highlands): For those who like their game meat adventurously raw. $50 A- >>find this wine<<
- 14 Etude Fiddlestix Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sta. Rita Hills): Maddeningly schizophrenic in presentation, but also undeniably talented. $45 A- >>find this wine<<
- 14 Etude Bannockburn Pinot Noir (Central Otago): Contains French film noir amounts of intrigue, in earthy, serious Kiwi packaging. $60 A- >>find this wine<<
- 14 E. Guigal Crozes-Hermitage Blanc (Rhone): Cleaning white flowers & exotic fruits on slate, using crisp, clear mineral water. $24 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 14 Albert Mann Gewurztraminer Tradition (Alsace): Hitting the right notes; just be prepared to experience those notes at high volume. $25 B+ >>find this wine<<
There are, in fact, only two styles of Port.
Yeah, I know, that goes against everything that your senses tell you, especially when you see thirty different types of Port for sale on a wine store shelf. But quantum physics defies much of the common sense that you develop to survive at the macro-physical level, and it happens to be true, too. It just won’t give you as bad of a hangover.
Anyway, I’ve been singing this dois estilos de porto song for several years now, and I’m not backing down now. There are only two styles of Port wine, and the rest of it is detail. Granted, there are a lot of details, And the devil is, absolutely, in those details, and he will give you a brain-meltingly awful hangover (ask me how I know), but that doesn’t stop the differences in Port types – small and large – from all being details.
If you’re looking for a reminder – along with some super-nifty visual representations of the flavors, aromas, and nuances offered by most of the different types of Port expressions out there – check out my latest for Fix.com, titled A Port Wine Primer.
As always, the Fix.com way-cool infographic is embedded below after the jump, and I always get a kick out of seeing how they pictorially represent my wordiness. For the impatient among you, skip directly to the bottom to see what they did with the food pairings, it’s pretty bad-ass.
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Yeah, it’s that time of year. Again.
I know that plenty of people hate Thanksgiving wine pairing articles (because many of you contact me to complain when I write them). The trouble is, just as many of you seem to love the things and ask about them every year.
I almost never give specific wine recommendations for Turkey Day, because there are just too many culinary options on the table for any one wine to handle. It’s best to stick with general guidelines, which happen not to change year-on-year, so from the 1WD perspective, what’s needed to be said on these things has already been said. Which is why I am at the point of recursively recycling the said items that have already been said.
In that spirit, here are two previous articles on the T-Day wine pairing topic, which happen to link to other articles with information that the perennially buzzed among you may find useful (including a recent guide on what and how to gift booze, which many of you may almost certainly find yourself doing on Turkey Day):
Ye Olde Dreaded Thanksgiving Day Wine Article (And Other November Tidbits, Including The Most Talked About Wines Online In 2013)
Gifts For Another Horse’s Mouth (Gifting Alcohol 101 For Fix.com)
Back to more regularly-scheduled programming next week.