Book Reviews

Book review: Tony Aspler’s Cellar Book.

Tony Aspler has been writing about wine for more than three decades, and is today, one of the most widely respected wine writers in Canada. His integrity and impartiality are well known amongst his colleagues.

The witty prose flows beautifully in the inimitable way he writes.

This book has been long overdue, because now, in at least four provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec) more and better wines are available. People have acquired a lot of knowledge through their travels, formal education, and in restaurants where sommeliers also contribute to education, but the most important contributor, I believe, has been writing about wine and all other contributing factors in enjoyment of this noble beverage.

The Internet is full of wine blogs; almost every large-city newspaper features a weekly wine column, millions of people enjoy a bottle with dinner. Overtime, homogenous wines from many countries become tiring, and discerning consumers start looking for more interesting libations.

I believe we are at this stage now, most fine wines must be cellared properly to appreciate them to their fullest.

This is the point where cellar planning becomes important, and the author explains all the crucial steps before deciding about location, dimension, size, temperature control and humidity, cost, and more to the point, the wines that deserve to be treated with due respect.

He has put his intimate knowledge acquired over decades into this book, which deals with setting up space for a wine cellar, from a humble corner in an apartment bedroom, to completely renovated basement, to a fully planned, elaborate air conditioned space.

He recommends specific brands from different regions around the world, with a sample chart to make it easy to compare wines, including a chapter on matching food and wine, a valuable “tool” for every wine consumer. The brands recommended are very fine to outstanding wines that you can attempt to acquire if you have the means. Some of the brands are not available in Ontario but may be in Quebec or Alberta, and possibly through the Vintages division of the
L C B O in the future.

There is also a wine description vocabulary to complete this valuable book.

Tony explains the reasons and purpose of a well conceived and planned cellar, how contractors should be evaluated, whether you should buy wine as an investment or to drink, and how you can accomplish both and much more.

This book belongs to the library of anyone interested in wine, or is beginning to get enamoured with the pleasures of wine consumption.

Highly recommended.

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