Thursday, October 4, 2018

Book Review: Wine Folly: Magnum Edition: The Master Guide

The Wine Folly: Magnum Edition: The Master Guide ($21), written by Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack ,reflects many of the features that make their Wine Folly website so popular.  The book utilizes info-graphics and photos to simply yet clearly explain wine topics such as grapes and regions.  The book is most suited for wine novices but also provides easily accessible references for more experienced wine consumers. The book starts with Wine Basics such as how to taste and store wine in addition to how it is made. After a section on Food & Wine Pairings, the book guides readers through dozens of grape varieties and styles of wine -- such as the different categories of sparkling and dessert wine.  This section is quite informative as it includes information on the grape's lineage, tasting profile, serving recommendations, where it grows, and similar grapes. A nice quick and easy reference.

The final section relates to Wine Regions and covers most of the major wine producing countries and sub-regions although lovers of Croatian and regional American wines will be disappointed.  Interestingly (and happily) Hungary was covered and the above photos show the layout used for the regions. The guide provides the major grape varieties and major sub regions within that country displaying the information through info-graphics and maps. A second page suggests wines to explore as well as focuses on the country's signature wine. For Hungary, they've provided appropriate exploration wines by augmenting Tokaji Assu, Furmint, and Egri Bikaver with the lesser known Egri Csillag and Somlo Juhfark.  However, I do quibble with the use of grape names where in the map and Varieties chart they utilize the Croatian term Graševina for the Hungarian Olascsrizling where the broader term is Welschriesling. The Varieties chart also includes the term Blaufränkisch instead of the Hungarian Kékfrankos. Readers may get confused because they will never find a Hungarian wine labeled Blaufränkisch or Graševina - but I understand they intended to utilize a broader term.

Finally, for larger countries with regulations regarding labels and classifications, the book presents a readable guide. Italy is pictured above and the Reading a Label section provides the naming methods and term definitions --  an accessible guide for all levels of consumers. The Wine Classification section is also handy for Italy as the book explains the DOG and DOGC classifications.

The Wine Folly: Magnum Edition: The Master Guide is a worthy collection to any wine library as an easy resource. If readers are expecting more in depth coverage, go elsewhere, but for an accessible and clear introduction to grapes and regions - this book will suffice. Cheers.

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