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Vintage: Buying the Right Wine Every Time

Posted on: 10/12/2018 00:00

When I received a copy of the book “Buy the Right Wine Every Time” to review, a quick leaf through it and I thought, no problem, it’s just a grouping of writer Tom Stevenson’s wine picks, and immediately discounted it.  Why?  Because wine books telling you what to buy are dated pretty much as soon as they are published, as the vintage year they reviewed may either be 1. No longer available or 2. Not the vintage year that was just released that people want to know about.

Neither was the case with Stevenson’s book as he, as stated on page V of the forward, only selected “branded” wines to focus on as “A Branded wine should be consistent by definition.”  That made me think of a couple of wines that I’ve bought consistently through the years as the winemaker has found a way to nearly duplicate the taste no matter what happened in the fields.  I quickly thumbed through the edition and found what I was thinking of: Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc (page 149) for one and an early starter wine for me, Fetzer Sundial Chardonnay (page 103).

I decided to read the book as leafing would not do.  Some general observations right off that bat were that I dug are the photographed color labels to help people recognize a wine quickly, color-coded headings like pale green for some whites and red for reds, and the wines were listed alphabetically by winery name.

Then, as you read, you will find that Stevenson has detailed each of his selections with further facts.  For every single wine he includes four subheadings: “What is it?”  “What does it taste like?”  “If you like this then try with confidence…”  and “Try something completely different.”

I liked this section as every single wine has a little information – such as what grapes were used, a description of the wine, what growing area and/or how much time in oak,   what it will taste like, and others you would like if you like this wine, etc.

At the end of the book is a short section called, “The 20 most useful wine tips.”  Readers are told up front that it’s up to them to use this section – and only if they feel the need or interest in learning more.  The 20 facts are basic, logical and understandable.

My own conclusion, while I admit to buying the Kim Crawford this way I don’t buy my wine based on generic branding.  However, for the wine 101er, or someone that is limited to grocery stores, or on a tight wine budget – there is nothing wrong with the idea.  In fact, I kind of liked not only the simplicity, but the fact that this is not a wine book that will be obsolete any time soon.

Read more here: Vintage Eve's Wine 101: Buying the Right Wine Every Time


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