The World Encyclopedia of Wine

Hey y’all. I wanted to tell you about a new book I recently purchased and why I love it. First, let me remind you that I’m in a book club that meets at a wine bar every other Sunday evening to participate in their wine tastings, learn about wine, and of course … to discuss the book we happen to be reading! So, this past Sunday we did a blind tasting and it was very interesting to say the least.

Nathan gave us these print outs from Aroma Dictionary that helped you to put your words together and surmise what wine you may or may not be drinking. We’ve already learned about color and how to almost tell what wine it is right off the bat by eliminating a few things via it’s color and clarity. Let me tell you folks … this was a tough night! I was wrong on 5 out of the 6 glasses.

The cool thing about it though was breaking through our preconceived notions about wine … what we think something should taste or smell like just by hearing its name. I found a Pinot Noir I really liked from the Monterrey region from California where before I each one I had tried I had not liked so I just assumed all Pinots would not be good as far as I was concerned. Boy was I surprised to learn that one.

I got the Chardonnay and even got some things about it from the smokey flavor. We learned that sometimes they burn the ends of the barrels before they make the wine to give a different taste and aroma. It was quite informative. I also learned that although I don’t normally like Merlots that one of my favorite red Zinfandels is Ravenswood and their Merlot was actually quite good. I love them … their motto is No Wimpy Wines!

So, about this book … well, it’s overwhelming but really good. Very interesting read. I mean, I feel like I could read it cover to cover if I wanted to and it’d be plenty interesting but then it also has the encyclopedia quality whereby I can just skip right to an entry I’m interested in and learn more about that particular subject. I highly recommend this type of book if you are interested in learning more about wine and not just liking or not liking something ‘just because’.

It’s nice to be able to say things like, “I really like the way they grow the grapes in coastal region of California” … “This wine tastes less acidic than the others I’ve tried” … “I prefer full bodied” … “I like mine floral” … “I like mine to have an oaky quality” … “I don’t like the oaky-ness of California Chardonnays I’d much rather a French version” … etc, etc, etc.

With each class … and now with the addition of this book … I’m learning more and more and feeling much more confident in being able to describe to someone why I may or may not like something. I’m also learning how to describe what qualities I do like in a wine and being able to share that with the wine master or sommelier at a restaurant will help me to order a great bottle of wine and not feel like I’m paying a lot for something I’m taking a gamble on whether I will or will not enjoy. Argentina really produces some amazing reds, the Malbec is my favorite right now but I will always stay true to my Ravenswood Zin … yummy!