A wine column doesn’t always have to be about wine tasting, new releases, etc., does it? I thought I would take a little diversion and write about my favorite wine reads.
#1. Windows on the World, Complete Wine Course by Kevin Zraly
In my opinion, the best beginner wine book available. It is also the best selling wine book in America. Written in an easy-to-read, question and answer format. It takes the intimidation out for the wine novice with really good maps, graphics and wine trivia. One can find a fairly recent edition online really cheap.
#2 The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson & Jancis Roberson
This gold standard wine atlas and reference book first published in 1971. Big, thick, almost encyclopedia like, it is in every sommeliers library. Truth be told, this was my first wine book. I took it to Rocky Point for spring break from college. I sat on the beach and absorbed all vacation (I should’ve been studying). People came up to me and asked, “What the hell are you reading? You haven’t moved in a week”. I was hooked. I barely got through ASU, cuz all I wanted to do was read and study about wine.
#3. Wine in Words by Lettie Teague
Ms. Teague is the talented wine columnist for The Wall Street Journal. In reality, this is a compilation of her weekly wine articles for the newspaper. Written in short, two-page essay form, one can easily open to any page and get an interesting short story. She really has a knack for cutting through and humanizing the wine business. Very informative, some tongue and cheek observations, but always right on—she can be tough too. The wine biz can be a very make-dominated, her perspective is so refreshing. I love her weekend columns and therefore her book.
#4 Secrets of the Sommeliers by Rajat Parr & Jordan Mackay
This is the geekiest of all these wine books. It offers a great insight into the world of the modern sommelier. Rajat Parr is considered one of the greatest wine tasters in the world and I’ve met him a couple of times. I found him to humble, brilliant, and focused— just like his book. A must for any collector or aspiring collector.