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Wine for Dummies

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  • Edition: 7th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2018-11-13
  • Publisher: For Dummies

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Wine enthusiasts: raise a glass!

The global wine market has expanded rapidly in the past few years and is forecasted to increase through 2019.   Consumption, new wine styles, online wine purchasing, and a growing younger population of wine enthusiasts are all contributing factors.

In Wine For Dummies, the authors—both recognized wine authorities and accredited Certified Wine Educators—share their expertise, revealing the latest on what's in, what's out, and what's new in wine.  Featuring information on both classic and cutting-edge wines, it’s packed with everything you need to hold your own in tasting rooms, shops, and beyond!  

  • Includes updated information on navigating wine shops and selecting wines in restaurants
  • Covers the latest expert advice on buying wine online thanks to the online retail boom
  • Provides updated vintage charts and price guidelines
  • Offers information on trends in wine, including packaging innovations such as wine in a can, kegs, and boxes 

Whether you’re a beginner or intermediate wine enthusiast, this is your no-nonsense guide to choosing wine, understanding wine lists, exploring new varieties, serving, sharing, and more!

Author Biography

Ed McCarthy is a wine writer, Certified Wine Educator, and wine consultant. McCarthy is considered a leading Champagne authority in the U.S. He is the Contributing Editor of Beverage Media. Mary Ewing-Mulligan is the first woman in America to become a Master of Wine, and is currently one of 50 MWs in the U.S. and 380 in the world.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

About This Book 1

Foolish Assumptions 3

Icons Used in This Book 3

Beyond the Book 4

Where to Go from Here 4

Part 1: Getting Started with Wine 5

Chapter 1: Wine 101 7

How Wine Happens 7

What Color Is Your Appetite? 9

(Not exactly) white wine 10

Red, red wine 11

Rosé wines 13

Choosing your color 13

Other Ways of Categorizing Wine 15

Table wine 16

Dessert wine 17

Sparkling wine (and a highly personal spelling lesson) 17

Chapter 2: A Matter of Personal Taste (Buds) 19

The Special Technique for Tasting Wine 19

Savoring a wine’s appearance 20

The nose knows 21

The mouth action 22

Parlez-Vous Winespeak? 25

Deconstructing a wine’s taste 26

The flavor dimension 28

The Quality Issue 29

What’s a good wine? 30

What’s a bad wine? 32

Chapter 3: Pinot Envy and Other Secrets about Grape Varieties 35

The Importance of Grape Varieties 35

Of genus and species 36

A variety of varieties 36

How grapes vary 37

Grape royalty 39

A Primer on White Grape Varieties 40

Chardonnay 40

Riesling 41

Sauvignon Blanc 41

Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio 42

Other white grapes 42

A Primer on Red Grape Varieties 44

International superstars 44

Local heroes 46

Other red grapes 49

Chapter 4: Wine Label Lingo 51

The Wine Name Game 51

Grape names and place-names 52

Hello, my name is Chardonnay: Varietal wines 52

Hello, my name is Bordeaux: Place-name wines 53

Wines named in other ways 57

Decoding the Language of the Label 58

The mandatory sentence 58

Indications of origin 60

Some optional label lingo 63

Chapter 5: Winemaking Matters 67

Vineyard Jargon, Winemaking Talk 67

The World of Viti-Vini 68

Vine-growing variations 69

Winemaking wonder words 70

Even More Winemaking Terms 72

Part 2: Wine and You: Up Close and Personal 77

Chapter 6: Buying Wine to Drink at Home 79

Buying Wine Can Give Anyone the Jitters 80

Wine Retailers, Large and Small 80

Supermarkets, superstores, and so on 81

Specialty wine shops 82

Online merchants 82

Criteria for Choosing Wine Merchants 83

In the wine shop 84

On the Internet 86

Strategies for Wine Shopping 87

Explain what you want 87

Name your price 89

Chapter 7: Buying Wine in Restaurants 91

By the Glass or Buy the Bottle 91

Just a glass, please 92

Choosing from the bottle list 94

Analyzing the Wine List 95

What the wine list should tell you 96

Tips for using the wine list 98

The end result: Choosing your wine 99

Managing the Wine Presentation Ritual 100

Restaurant Wine Tips 102

Long Live Wine Bars 104

Chapter 8: Serving Wine 105

Getting the Cork Out 105

The corkscrew not to use 106

Corkscrews to buy 107

Dealing with cork particles in your wine 110

A special case: Opening Champagne and sparkling wine 110

Screw Caps Are “In“ 111

Does Wine Really Breathe? 112

How to aerate your wine 112

Which wines need aerating? 113

Does the Glass Really Matter? 114

Color, size, and shape 115

Tulips, flutes, trumpets, and other picturesque wine-glass names 116

Which glasses to buy? 118

Washing your wine glasses 118

Not Too Warm, Not Too Cold 119

Entertaining with Wine 120

First things first 121

How much is enough? 121

Keeping Leftover Wine 122

Chapter 9: Marrying Wine with Food 125

With Wine and Food, Rules Do Not Apply 125

The Dynamics of Food and Wine 126

Tannic wines 127

Sweet wines 127

Acidic wines 128

High-alcohol wines 128

Other Ways of Pairing Food and Wine 128

Classic Pairings of Wine and Food 130

Part 3: Wine’s Classic Face: The “Old World” of Wine 131

Chapter 10: Knowing the Wines of France 133

The French Model 133

Understanding French wine law 134

Fine distinctions in the ranks 135

France’s Wine Regions 136

Bordeaux: The Legend 137

The subregions of red Bordeaux 139

Classified information: Left Bank 141

Classified information: Right Bank 142

Bordeaux to try when you’re feeling flush 143

The value end of the Bordeaux spectrum 144

Practical advice on drinking red Bordeaux 146

Bordeaux also comes in white 147

Burgundy: The Incomparable French Wine 149

The grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Gamay 149

Districts, districts everywhere 150

From the regional to the sublime 150

The Côte d’Or: The heart of Burgundy 152

Côte Chalonnaise: Bargain Burgundies 157

Chablis: Exceptional white wines 157

Mâcon: Affordable whites 159

Beaujolais: As delightful as it is affordable 160

The Rhône Valley’s Hearty Wines 163

Generous wines of the South 163

Noble wines of the north 164

The Loire Valley: White Wine Heaven 166

The Upper Loire 166

The central Loire Valley 166

Pays Nantais 167

Alsace: Unique Region, Unique Wines 168

The South and Southwest 169

France’s bargain wines: Languedoc-Roussillon 169

Timeless Provence 170

Southwest France 170

Other French Wine Regions 171

Chapter 11: Italy, the Land of Great Vino 173

The Vineyard of Europe 173

The ordinary and the elite 174

Categories of Italian wine, legally speaking 176

Italy’s wine regions 176

Reds Reign in Piedmont 178

Barolo and Barbaresco 178

Weekday reds 181

Piedmont’s white wine 183

Tuscany the Beautiful 184

Chianti Classico and Chianti: Italy’s iconic red wines 184

Monumental Brunello di Montalcino 186

The noble wine of Montepulciano 188

Three more wines of note from Central Tuscany 188

The Tuscan coast 189

The Tre Venezie 191

Three gentle wines from Verona, plus two blockbusters 192

Alpine Italy: Trentino-Alto-Adige 193

The far side: Friuli-Venezia Giulia 194

The Sunny South of Italy 196

Snapshots from the Rest of Italy 197

Chapter 12: Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Greece, and Other European Hot Spots 199

Intriguing Wines from Spain 200

Spain’s classic wines start with Rioja 202

Ribera del Duero’s serious red wines 204

Priorato: Emerging from the past 204

Other Spanish regions to know 205

Portugal: More than Just Port 208

Portugal’s “green” white 208

Noteworthy Portuguese red wines 209

Germany: Europe’s Individualist 210

Riesling and company 211

Germany’s wine law 212

German wine styles 213

Germany’s wine regions 215

Austria’s Exciting Whites (and Reds) 218

Grüner Veltliner and company 219

Austrian wine names and label terms 219

The Glory That Is Greece 220

Greek grapes 221

Wine regions, producers, and label lingo in Greece 222

Three Other European Wine Hot Spots 223

Hungary: Unique Old World wines 223

Croatia: A wine renaissance in Eastern Europe 224

Slovenia: A surprisingly large wine country 225

Part 4: Wine’s Modern Face: The “New World” of Wine 227

Chapter 13: America, America 229

The New World of American Wine 229

The grape variety as star 230

American Viticultural Areas 230

California, USA 231

Napa Valley: As Tiny as It Is Famous 234

The grapes of Napa 235

Who’s who in Napa (and for what) 235

Down-to-Earth in Sonoma 237

Sonoma’s AVAs 238

Sonoma producers and wines 240

Mendocino and Lake Counties 241

The San Francisco Bay Area 242

The Santa Cruz Mountains 243

What’s New in Old Monterey 244

Gold Country: The Sierra Foothills 245

San Luis Obispo: Paso Robles to Edna Valley 246

Santa Barbara, Californian Paradise 247

Oregon: A Tale of Two Pinots 249

Oregon’s other Pinot 249

Who’s who in Willamette Valley 250

Two other Oregon wine regions 252

Washington State Reaches New Heights 252

Washington’s wine regions 253

Who’s who in Washington 255

The Empire State 257

The Finger Lakes region 257

Long Island and the Hudson Valley 258

Who’s who in New York 258

Chapter 14: The Southern Hemisphere Explodes with Wine 261

Australian Wine Power 262

Winemaking, grapes, and terroir 262

Australia’s wine regions 264

The Rise of New Zealand 267

Kiwi geography 268

Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir lead the way 268

Chile’s Rapid Rise to Wine Fame 269

Chile’s wine regions 270

The face and taste of Chilean wines 272

Argentina, a Major League Player 274

Regions and grapes 274

Names to know 276

The South African Wine Safari 277

South Africa’s principal wine regions 278

Steen, Pinotage, and company 279

Part 5: Wine’s Exotic Face 281

Chapter 15: Champagne and Other Sparklers 283

All That Sparkles Is Not Champagne 284

Sparkling Wine Styles 285

The sweetness factor 285

The quality factor 286

How Sparkling Wine Happens 287

Tank fermentation: Economy of scale 287

Bottle fermentation: Small is beautiful 288

Tasting the difference 289

Champagne and Its Magic Wines 290

What makes Champagne special 290

Non-vintage Champagne 291

Vintage Champagne 292

Blanc de blancs and blanc de noirs 294

Rosé Champagne 294

Sweetness categories 295

Recommended Champagne producers 296

Grower Champagnes 298

Other Sparkling Wines 299

Italian spumante: Dry and Sweet 300

Spanish sparkling wines (Cava) 302

French sparkling wine 302

American sparkling wine 302

English sparkling wines 304

Buying and Serving Bubbly 305

Chapter 16: Wine Roads Less Traveled: Fortified and Dessert Wines 307

Timing Is Everything 308

The Growing Popularity of Sherry 308

The Jerez triangle 308

The phenomenon of flor 309

Communal aging 310

Two makes 12+ 310

Serving and storing Sherry 312

Recommended Sherries 313

Montilla: A Sherry look-alike 314

Italy: Marsala, Vin Santo, and the Gang 314

Port: The Glory of Portugal 316

Home, home on the Douro 316

Many Ports in a storm 317

Storing and serving Port 319

Recommended Port producers 320

Long Live Madeira 321

Timeless, indestructible, tasty, and baked 321

Endless finish 322

Madeira styles and grape varieties 323

Sauternes and the Nobly-Rotted Wines 324

Sauternes: Liquid gold 324

Mining the gold 325

Recommended Sauternes 325

Letting baby grow 326

Sauternes look-alikes 327

Hungary’s Tokaji Aszú and Tokaji Eszencia 327

Part 6: When You’ve Caught the Bug 329

Chapter 17: Buying and Collecting Wine 331

Finding the Rare and Collectible Wines 332

Buying fine and collectible wines on the Internet 332

Some US wine stores worth knowing 334

Buying wines at auctions 335

The Urge to Own: Wine Collecting 338

Balancing your inventory 338

Organization is peace of mind 342

A Healthy Environment for Your Wines 343

The passive wine cellar 343

If you can’t be passive, be bullish 343

Wine caves for apartment dwellers 346

Chapter 18: Continuing Education for Wine Lovers 347

Back to the Classroom 347

One wine school in action 348

Wine tastings of all shapes and sizes 349

Dinner with the winemaker 350

Winery visits 350

When in Rome 351

Armchair Travel 353

Recommended books 354

Wine magazines and newsletters 357

The blogosphere of wine 359

Chapter 19: Describing and Rating Wine 361

The Challenge of Putting Taste to Words 362

When It’s Your Turn to Speak 363

Organizing your thoughts 363

Describing a wine 365

Rating Wine Quality 366

Part 7: The Part of Tens 369

Chapter 20: Answers to Ten Common Questions about Wine 371

What’s the Best Wine? 371

Which Vintage Should I Buy? 372

What Grape Variety Made This Wine? 373

How Do I Know if a Wine Is Flawed? 373

Are There Any Wines without Sulfites? 374

What Are Organic Wines? 374

Should I Join a Wine Club? 375

How Should I Store My Wine? 376

Are Wine Experts Sommeliers? 377

How Do I Know When to Drink the Special Older Wines I’ve Been Keeping? 377

Chapter 21: Ten Wine Myths Demystified 379

The Best Wines Are Varietal Wines 379

A More Expensive Wine Is a Wiser Choice 380

The Palest Rosé Wines Are the Best 380

A Screw-Cap Closure Indicates a Lower-Quality Wine 381

Red Wines Are More Sophisticated than White Wines 382

White Wine with Fish, Red with Meat 382

Number Ratings Don’t Lie 383

The Quality of a Wine Is Objectively Measurable 384

Very Old Wines Are Good Wines 384

Champagnes Don’t Age 385

Part 8: Appendixes 387

Appendix A: Pronunciation Guide to Wine Terms 389

Appendix B: Glossary of Wine Terms 397

Appendix C: Vintage Wine Chart: 1996–2015 407

Index 411

Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

The Used, Rental and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

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