The Wine Bible

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THE MOST COMPLETE WINE BOOK EVER. A must for anyone who loves wine, whether they are a pro or an amateur. Thorough, authoritative, and entertaining. (Robert Mondavi, founder and chairman emeritus of the Robert Mondavi Family of Wines)

"The most informative and entertaining book I've ever seen on the subject." (Danny Meyer, co-author of The Union Square Cafe Cookbook)

The essentials: The romance and intrigue of Burgundy of sauvignon blanc and the surprising elegance of Spain's top Riojas. Italy, one of wine's most enchanting and ancient homelands. What makes a great wine great? The reason behind Champagne's bubbles. The precise and food-friendly wines of Germany. California, wine's Camelot. The lip-smackingly good wines of Australia. The complexities of Port revealed. How a vineyard profoundly affects a wine's character.

Plus, matching wine with food - and mood. The secrets of professional wine tasters and how to expand your wine-tasting vocabulary. And everything else you need to know to buy, store, serve, and enjoy the world's most captivating beverage.

The shimmering elegance of Veuve Clicquot, affordable luxury in a glass, page 185.

Ravishing, elegant, and rich, Petrus in Ingrid Bergman in red satin, page 156.

Some wines are like people... they get better as they get older, pg. 64.

Sherry, the world's most misunderstood and underappreciated wine, page 437.



Though it drinks deep of its subject, Karen MacNeil's Wine Bible deftly avoids two traps many wine books fall into: talking down to wine novices or talking up to more experienced enophiles. The book avoids these traps through MacNeil's obvious, and infectious, love of her subject, which comes out in almost every sentence of the book, and which lets her talk about wine in a way that combines the good teacher, the trusted friend, and the expert sommelier. As director of the wine program at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley, California, MacNeil is one of the world's true experts on wine. After reading a chapter on the Burgenland, for example, you've learned about the region's sweet wines while feeling like you're actually there, toasting a glass of Cuvee Suss with the author. It is this passion that leads to describing an Italian riservas as "mesmerizing" and a Cabernet Sauvignon as having "texture like cashmere."

The Wine Bible is broken into countries, hitting all of the major wine producers and most of the minor ones. Each section gives detailed descriptions of the country's wines (with chapters on individual regions when necessary), highlighting specific wine producers and individual wines, as well as talking about local foods, customs, and other tidbits that add to the reading experience. MacNeil begins her journey through the world's wine with an invaluable section on "Mastering Wine," which lets a reader get ready before uncorking separate sections. --A.J. Rathbun

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