January 19, 2010 / 3:32 PM / 9 years ago

Confused about wine? Books may help

New York (Reuters Life!) - Drinking wine is more fun than reading about it unless you have a book in one hand and a glass in the other.

A waiter serves a glass of red wine from Spain during a tasting session at Vinexpo Asia-Pacific, the International Wine and Spirits Exhibition for the Asia-Pacific region, in Hong Kong May 28, 2008. REUTERS/Victor Fraile

Wine can be complex or simple but several books can help clear any confusion.

The global market for wine is similar to a waterbed — when sales go down in one area, such as bottles costing over $30, they go up in another such as sales of $15 bottles.

For consumers looking for popular wines under $15, the latest edition of Robin Goldstein’s and Alexis Herschkowitsch’s “The Wine Trials for 2010” may help.

Cooks eager to know which wine to serve with a particular dish, and who prefer books to apps and the Internet, can read “What to Drink with What you Eat” by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page. Their coffee-table sized book also suggests the appropriate beers, spirits, coffee and tea for various meals.

But if learning about how wine in made, where it is produced, and the difference between Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris or Pinotage is of more interest, Kevin Zraly’s “Windows on the World Complete Wine Course” can provide some answers.

Now in its 25th edition, Zraly said he wrote the book because when he started teaching at Windows, there were few books on wine.

“Alexis Lichine had a book on French wines, as did Robert Parker. But there was no one book on wines of Spain or Italy or California. And everything seemed to be written not for the beginner, but for the expert. So I wound up doing it.”

Other books can also be useful for the next visit to the wine store.

“Wine for Dummies,” by Ed McCarthy and Mary Ewing-Mulligan, contains some tips on vintages. Ewing-Mulligan, who founded and runs the International Wine Center in New York and is the U.S. director of the London-based Wine & Spirit Education Trust, demystifies what’s in a bottle.

The married couple has also expanded the franchise with “French Wines for Dummies” and “Italian Wines for Dummies”.

Karen MacNeil’s “The Wine Bible” lives up to its title. The first 100 pages cover topics such as grapes, varietals, blends, the importance, or not, of oak, and basically how wine is made.

The rest of the 900 pages are filled with information about wine regions, recommendations and pictures of labels.

For wine lovers who want a bit more information, there is “World Atlas to Wine” by British wine experts Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson. A paperback edition is also available.

For more goal-oriented consumers, there is “1001 Wines You Must Taste Before You Die”. The list includes Petrus and Chateau Lafite and also Canopy Malpaso and Borsao Tres Picos, both dry reds from Spain. Domaine de l’Ecu Muscadet from France, and Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare from California, are also on the list.

Reporting by Leslie Gevirtz; Editing by Patricia Reaney

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