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Three Extraordinary Wine Books

Nov 26, 2011 | From the kitchen of Rose

If you are one of those people who is secretly thinking: "why spend money on a book about wine when I could spend it on a good bottle of it instead" you are not alone. In The Food Lover's Guide to Wine, Karen Paige and Andrew Dornenberg quote Paul Bertolli and Alice Waters of Chez Panisse as saying essentially the same thing: "It is not necessary to know about wine to appreciate it; what there is to know, beyond the glamour of vintage, producer, and varietal, is in the glass in front of your nose." Karen and Andrew write that they "agree wholeheartedly" but "...add a corollary: you can enhance your appreciation of a wine with more knowledge of it."

There are three new wine books that will add to this appreciation and knowledge immeasurably. If I had to distill each one into just one primary word it would be:

Reading between the Wines, Terry Theise: PASSION
Reading between the Wines: With a New Preface

Unquenchable, Natalie Maclean: BARGAINS
Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest for the World's Best Bargain Wines

The Food Lover's Guide to Wine, Karen Paige and Andrew Dornenberg: FLAVOR
The Food Lover's Guide to Wine


But each book offers so much more. Herewith a brief description:

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Terry Theise is the poet/philosopher of the wine world. He seduced me for eternity to Riesling (not that I needed any help) by describing one of the wines in his catalogue as "...tasting so ambrosial it was as though it were distilled through bees wings, and so honeyed you could hardly swirl it"! His passion goes far beyond the distilled grape, it also encompasses the people who grow it, and the significance it plays in our lives. Terry has an exceptional love of words and thoughts and employs both to offer a multi-faceted, articulate, and unique glimpse into the wine world.

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Natalie Maclean I got to know Natalie through her blog www.nataliemaclean.com. In her newest book, she has taken on the challenge most dear to all our hearts: how to get the best wine at an affordable price. Her book offers up easily accessible hardcore information and education eloquently presented. Natalie generously brings us into her fun-filled world of great discoveries and fascinating travels, in fact, this book doubles as a beautifully written novel. On another note, if my favorite white wine be Terry's beloved Riesling, my favorite red is Natalie's beloved Pinot. I would love to sit down to a glass of it with her and I'm sure everyone who reads her book will share this sentiment!

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My dear friends Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg live a charmed life. As husband and wife, and coauthors, they get to eat, drink, travel, and work together. In fact, I've never seen one without the other! I first met Andrew when he was a chef at East Coast Grill in Cambridge, MA. Karen is a brilliant researcher and writer. Their collaboration makes for an enviably unbeatable team, which has produced several award winning books. The Food Lover's Guide to Wine is the most recent of them! It's a beautifully organized four color production, detailed with useful information, and fascinating quotes from sommeliers offering their opinions from the classics to discussions of the major importers of different categories of wine. I love the chart on page 270 "Holy Grail Food and Wine Pairings," which should be laminated and hung in every kitchen. (On a personal note, I would add my favorite pairing--pesto and sauvignon blanc. Karen and Andrew do list asparagus and Sauvignon Blanc which is the same concept of grassiness enhancing grassiness for difficult to pair ingredients. They list two of my favorite producers: Cloudy Bay and St. Supéry.

I also once discovered the perfect harmony of lobster and Scheurebe which they recommend with shellfish and include two of my favorite producers--Alois Kracher (dessert Scheurebe) and Müller-Catoir.)

Each of these three books is available in hard cover and also in an e-book version. Terry Theise's book is now a year old and has just come out in paperback.

To my mind, all of these books are delightfully indispensible. I plan to read each one page by page but can't wait to share them with you right now! Never has wine education been so accessible and so enjoyable.

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