After enjoying "Sideways," finding a good (yet simple) introduction to the world of wine was on my to-do list. I hadn't had much luck until last May, when I was browsing the English language section of an Oslo bookstore. I was set to catch a night cruise to Copenhagen, so I needed a portable and easy read for the "hurry up and wait" periods. When I ran across "I Don't Know Much About Wine...But I Know What I Like," I bought it after a short perusal. It was worth the kroner.
Simon Woods writes well, with a cork-in-cheek British Gen-Xer tone. The book has a visually hip vibe, with lots of different font types and sizes, along with various illustrations in the same style as the cover. There are sections with titles such as "How to Taste Your Way to the Top," "Where to Go to Find Out More," and "What You Need Besides Bottles of Wine." Within the sections are numerous chapters that are two or three pages long. Each chapter goes over a single topic relevant to its section. For example, "What You Need Besides Bottles of Wine" contains chapters such as "Glass Act" (tracking down decent wineglasses) and "Tools of the Trade" (all about corkscrews, foil-cutters, wine coolers, and more). Although I don't drink regularly enough to consistently utilize what I learned, the knowledge will be handy when I realize my dream of a wine country adventure (Lord willing).
There's not a lot of depth here, so if you already know your stuff "I Don't Know Much About Wine..." may be too shallow. And if you're looking for something highbrow, keep looking. But there's plenty of cool info for the average dabbler, and it's a good starting point for someone testing the vino before heading into deeper cellars. If nothing else, you'll look and sound well informed at fine restaurants and wine-tasting parties. Mr. Woods' bottom line for wine selection: "You are right if it tastes good to you." I can drink to that. Cheers to the author for a fun and informative little book.