Book Reviews

Book Review: How to Taste.


If you decide to read one book about tasting wine; let it be this one.

Everyday, all over the world, millions drink a glass or more wine, and for most, the criteria is “like” or “dislike”.

Relatively few people know how to taste wine, what to look for, and how to evaluate it organoleptically.

Yet, it is easy to learn how to taste. Everyone has the necessary “tools” – sight, smell, taste and aftertaste.

Jancis Robinson, a popular wine writer and taster recognized world-wide for her accomplishments has created a book for beginners and even sophisticated connoisseurs to how to appreciate this delicate and nuanced alcoholic beverage.

First and foremost, she knows the subject very well, and has a sensitive palate. Because of this every year she is invted to many important international tastings. Associations of wineries in many countries invite her to taste and comment on their products.

In this well-illustrated book, the emphasis is on the sight and colour of the wine, characteristics that reveal a lot about region of origin, and other important clues about the wine. Then comes the smell, which greatly influences the perception of taste. It is said that: “ The nose is the sentinel of the palate”.

If any food or beverage especially wine smells “off”, it is most likely that it wine has a fault (cork taint, volatile acidity, nail polish remover smells etc.). She explains all these in detail, and then expounds on taste and aftertaste.

She recommends tasting geographically by using the same grape to see how aromas and flavours change according to terroir (combination of soil, climate, vineyard aspect, drainage etc).

Included in this tome is a chapter on major grape varieties, and another one that explores matching food and wine, a subject much written about. She makes points that are essential in understanding the relation of food and wine.

This book will open your eyes and reward your taste buds.

The Oxford Wine Companion and The World Atlas Of Wine are essential should one need to be widely educated about wine, but this book is written for those who like to learn how to taste and appreciate wine.

This is a masterpiece, for beginners, and even some professionals.

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