There is nothing new about wine. The latest reports are that residue found on pottery in the Middle East dates wine back 7,000 years. But if you are just now discovering wine, in spite of the Thai government’s absurd tax rates, then reading about wine will not only increase your knowledge of this beverage but make you enjoy it even more.
I have gone through my library and my memory to gather suggested books that will benefit not only the novice wine drinker but also those who are experienced. One note, to my knowledge there are no wine books in the Thai language. If there are, please let us know.
Starting out- There is one book I have used when teaching wine classes in Bangkok. The “Windows on the World Complete Wine Course” is now in its 30th edition. It is written by American Kevin Zraly, who was the sommelier at the Windows on the World restaurant that was destroyed in the 9/11 attack, hence the book’s title. What I like is that Zraly brings humor to the book, which makes learning about wine much easier.
Keeping current- There is one book that comes out every year that I find essential. It is Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book. The 2015 edition is the 38th one and has earned Mr. Johnson a nice income. The book hits the shelves in October-December as many wine lovers give it to friends as holiday gifts. The 2000 edition had 280 pages, the current 2015 edition has 336 pages as it has expended to cover more wine-producing countries. It’s a must and will help readers select good wines.
Wine tasting- Almost every wine large wine book will have a section on wine tasting but I decided that the subject required a book on its own and chose “Wine Tasting Book for Beginners: Ultimate Wine Tasting Guide” by Rebecca Thomas. There is a sneaking suspicion in wine circles that women are better wine tasters than men. I have no issue on that but think that this is a worthwhile book. There are several other similar books on wine tasting.
Big wine books- I have several of these large volumes in my home as I need them when I am not quite sure about something I write about. These books are: “The Oxford Companion to Wine” by Jancis Robinson and “Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia” by Tom Stevenson. Each of these books runs 600-800 pages and covers so much that it could be compared to a department store with so many wine topics to pursue.
Specialty books – These books cover a host of many subjects from specific growing regions such as California or Burgundy to technical books about viticulture (grape growing) and enology (winemaking). I will narrow my selections to those specific growing regions or topics that interest me and hopefully my readers. Here we go!
Australia- Australian Wine Companion 2016 by James Halladay
Burgundy- The Great Domaines of Burgundy by Remington Norman and Charles Taylor.
Bordeaux- The Wines, The Vineyards, The Winemakers by Oz Clarke
California- The New California Wine by Jon Bonne’
Italy- Barolo and Barbaresco: The King and Queen of Italian Wine by Kerin O’Keefe.
If you are a Chilean, a Canadian or a New Zealander or the many other nationalities that produce wine I apologize. My suggestion is to buy Hugh Johnson’s 2016 Pocket Guide to keep up with the beat of the wine world.
[Article by David Swartzentruber]