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Book Review: Buy The Right Wine Every Time by Tom Stevenson

The No-Fuss No-Vintage Wine Guide

Facing a wall of colorful wine labels at the store, do you every have trouble choosing a bottle of wine? Are you intimidated by the numerous brands, styles and prices? Is an expensive bottle better than a cheaper bottle? How do you Know?

Consumption of wine is up in the United States. More of us are choosing to drink wine. But are we all confident in the wine we choose? And do we care?

2012 Wine Sales in the United States.
This new book by Tom Stevenson, Buy the Right Wine Every Time, The No-Fuss No-Vintage Wine Guide, is pitched as the solution for those who can't be bothered by "winespeak" and is suggested for those who want instant professional guidance in choosing the kind of wine they like to drink. Does it deliver?

Opening up the book and taking a quick first look, I noticed that the book was made of heavy paper and a glossy cover. The size and quality of construction implies that this book is intended to be carried around and used when shopping. It is the right size and should hold up well carried to the store and back. Color images of each recommended wine are included along with brief tasting notes.

How wines are listed and how they are rated.

1. Wines are listed alphabetically by winery name.
The book begins with Adami Prosecco Bosco del Gica and ends with Zonin Valpolicella Ripasso Superiorie, A - Z.

2. Wines are scored. The scoring system is:
Recommended, Highly Recommended and To Die For.
You could assume that price increases as score increases. While mostly true, some of the wines scored as "Highly Recommended" are in the less expensive category.

3. Wine Prices. Each wine has a price category. $, $$ and $$$.
$ = up to $10 retail.
$$ = $10 to $25 retail.
$$$ = Over $25 retail.

4. There is a brief description of the wine: style, aging, blend and what it tastes like.

5. An interesting aspect of this book is that the author suggests related wines of superior quality. If you like the wine reviewed, then you should like these other wines too. A good option for improving wine knowledge and appreciation.

6. There's a friendly introduction to the book about the book structure; how to approach wine, how to buy it, tasting wine and appreciation. Includes the types of wine recommended in this book: Red, White, Fortified, Sparkling and Rose'. An easy read and informative.

7. The book concludes with 20 useful wine tips regarding, storing, chilling, opening, serving, glassware and note taking. Useful tips for those new to wine and wanting to know more.

Okay, those are the nuts and bolts of the book. What do I think? Is this book written for me and my wine collecting friends? Likely not. This book is full of wines made by larger commercial producers. Wines I typically don't buy. Yes, there's a lot of California wine in this book. A smattering of Washington wines is included, more French wines, a dot of Spanish wine, with a few Italian and Australian wines, but nowhere near a comprehensive list. This is not a definitive wine guide for wine snobs.

*Note: There are no vintages listed for the wines reviewed. One must assume that there will be some variation of quality and flavor year to year. This book does not address that issue.

Who is this book for?

This book would be perfect for my friends who enjoy wine, but lack confidence when they go shopping for wine. "I didn't know what to buy. So I bought this. Is it okay?"

This is a friendly wine guide for consumers. I took this book to my local grocer and saw on the shelves many of the wines listed in this book. If you are shopping by price alone, but still want a quality wine, then this book may pay for itself when you select a wine listed by the author as: Highly Recommended and priced at $. That's bang for the buck.

I'm tempted to go shopping using this book as my guide. My normal behavior when shopping for wine is to ignore most of the labels listed in this book. Trusting the authors palate, I may change my opinion about some of these wines. That Bogle Old Vines Zinfandel is at the top of my list. I'll let you know how it goes (see below - I purchased this wine and my review is below. Compare to the review in the book.).

Buy the Right Wine Every Time, The No-Fuss No-Vintage Wine Guide
Author: Tom Stevenson
Book Price: $14.95 retail
Publisher: Sterling Epicure, New York
Copyright 2014
Review copy provided by the publisher
Rated: Recommended for consumers and wine newbies.

Bogle Old Vines 2012 Zinfandel Review:
Nose: Almost light raspberry with pencil shavings.
Color: Pale red almost ruby, super clear.
Palate: Medium-light body, tart, soft cherry and raspberry, vanilla, dry, short, friendly finish.
A light bodied red wine, almost reminds me of a Pinot Noir. Not big as I expected. Food worthy wine, if understated. After being open 4.5 hours the nose had red fruit, nuts, leather a hint of celery. Body filled out, more satisfying in the mouth, tannin moderate, acid stands out, raspberry with bell pepper and some heat on the finish. Too much acid for me a this point. It put me in the mood for deep dish pizza, pasta, ravioli and especially a meat lasagna. This wine is best with soft creamy cheese. This is a reasonably priced, simple, red table wine. Recommended.
Paid: $9.99
Closure: 2+1


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