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How to Love Wine: A Memoir and Manifesto Hardcover – 6 Nov 2012

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (6 Nov. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061802522
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061802522
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 696,579 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


James Beard Foundation Book Award Nominee for the the Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America Inductee (No Source)

James Beard Foundation Book Award Nominee for Beverages (No Source)

“A wonderfully intimate memoir-cum-manifesto from a writer comfortable with his own ability as a wine writer who’s not afraid to say it as it is. . . . One of the more enjoyable and fluid wine books to read all year.” (Jancis Robinson)

“Wine aficionados are always bickering among themselves. . . . In his delicious new book, New York Times chief wine critic Eric Asimov cuts through all of this background noise and reminds us of the elemental and undeniable fact that wine is ... sheer pleasure.” (Oregon Live)

“Eric Asimov sees through the snobby froth of 100-point scores and tutti-frutti tasting notes to the realities of wine, ‘staple grocery and occasional star,’ as he calls it. How to become America’s most trusted wine critic? Read it here.” (Hugh Johnson)

“In his highly personal, utterly unpretentious book, Asimov makes clear that the most important thing about wine is enjoyment. Any deeper understanding--and for him food, culture, farming, and more count for a lot--depends on it.” (Ed Behr)

“This book might have been titled A Healthy Dose of Fresh Air. How modestly and reasonably Asimov dares to slay the wine dragons. I reveled in each and every thrust and parry.” (Kermit Lynch)

“Excellent . . . [a] thoughtful read. . . . Like a crisp glass of Sancerre, How to Love Wine is an especially refreshing breeze through the hot air and pretension that’s so prevalent in wine culture.” (Sacramento Bee)

“A friendly, well-written approach to enjoying wine, full of low-stress recommendations to help avoid wine anxiety.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Forget the snooty trappings of wine connoisseurship—just drink up and enjoy, argues this simultaneously down–to–earth and romantic meditation…. Asimov sprinkles in lively reminiscences of his journalism career and the idiosyncratic culture of wine cognoscenti, and enchants and reassures by his warm savoring of the drinking experience.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Wine fanatics, or those angling for entry to the world of wine, will find comfort in…Asimov’s down–to–earth discussion of loving wine. Moreover, what he argues is most essential for a relationship with wine, and what’s most refreshing to read, is an approach free of anxiety and open to love.” (Booklist)

From the Back Cover

For many people, wine is an anxiety-inducing mystery as arcane as quantum physics, and with so many varieties, it's difficult to know what to choose. As New York Times wine critic Eric Asimov argues, that puzzling uncertainty often prevents people from buying and ordering wine, depriving them of an exquisite, deeply satisfying experience.

In How to Love Wine, Asimov examines why the American wine culture produces such feelings of anxiety and suggests how readers can overcome their fears and develop a sense of discovery and wonder as they explore the diversity and complexity of the world of wine. With warmth, candor, and intelligent authority, Asimov interweaves his professional knowledge and insights with engaging personal stories of his love affair with wine, a lifelong passion that began when he was a graduate student on a budget.

In a direct, down-to-earth manner, Asimov discusses favorite vineyards, wine's singular personalities, the "tyranny of tasting notes"—those meaningless, overwritten wine descriptions that often pass for criticism today—and current wine issues.

Throughout, he incorporates in-depth discussions of beautiful wines, both easy to find and rare, and pays special attention to those that have been particularly meaningful to him. Thought-provoking and enjoyable, How to Love Wine will help diminish readers' anxiety, bolster their confidence, and transform them into true wine lovers.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. S. Stanier on 27 Dec. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Those of us who crave good wine writing will be tempted by this, a wine memoir by the wine critic for the New York Times: it's like an American version of Hugh Johnson's "A Life Uncorked", only not quite as interesting.
Thus, we have Asimov's journey from ordinary suburban American life through to the Big Apple and annual tastings of Romanee Conti et al. All the way through, he's keen to stress his ordinariness, the moderacy of his personal income and even the limitations of his taste buds.
Blind tasting is a particular bugbear. Not only, he tells us, are his own guesses inaccurate but even to play this kind of game is to divorce wine from its essential linkeages, not just with food, but with friends or family. Wine for him is for drinking not tasting.
All very well, but Asimov therefore bypasses the whole Emperor's New Clothes aspect of wine culture: i.e. that people's taste buds are blinded by a glamourous label. Asimov says 'my taste buds are often inaccurate but I know I prefer J.J. Prum's rieslings and Jim Clendenen's Pinot Noir...' but does he really? Might he not just have bought into the romance of a conversation with a particular vigneron and be transferring that sentiment on to his tastebuds? In which case, he doesn't like a particular style of wine so much as admire a particular lifestyle of vigneron. In order to highlight his own humility, he undercuts his tasting powers to the extent that you wonder what kind of wine critic he is at all. A theatre critic never emphasises his/her own illiteracy, for example; Matt Kramer has made similar points, but somehow with more conviction.
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By Bogusia on 27 Feb. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
everything was great, .. very quick delivery time. Very satisfied
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 23 reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
To each his own 1 Jan. 2013
By Hande Z - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Isaac Asimov's nephew may be an earthly writer of wine and "terroir" but his book "How to Love Wine" is just as entralling and exhilarating. Having experimented with marijuana in school where he first started his blind tastings - of beer - he became a writer for The New York Times, developing to a sort of wine iconoclast. He assures novice wine drinkers (and many experienced ones as well) that one does not live by Robert Parker alone. He tells the story of his friend's father, a Sicilian immigrant who quietly drinks his cheap wine in fruit glasses and was totally oblivious to what wine critics and connoisseurs might say about his choice of wine, based, entirely on price. The crucial point was, he loved his wine. If anyone disapproved, did he suffer? If anyone disagreed did he mind? Was his happiness and joy diminished by what others thought? Plainly, no. That man found the secret to happiness, it seemed. Asimov also eschewed fancy description of wine that made no sense, and often contradictory. He took a specific wine reviewed by three different reviewers and found that that it was like reading about three different wines. Pairing wine with food is a great part in the enjoyment of wine, but, he tells us, we should try it ourselves and take recommendations from experts, but not too seriously; and certainly without jettisoning our sense of adventure going against their wisdom. Cheers to the free spirit in us.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
A Great Introductory Book to Wine 28 Dec. 2012
By Amy McMahan - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I expected to have to plow through some pomposity and name dropping, like I did through three of Jay McInerney's books, the payoff being the knowledge that the NY Times wine critic has to impart. This guy is so humble and down to earth it's shocking.

This truly is a book by someone who loves wine for people who want to know more about it/learn how to love it.

It is a quick and great read.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
neither fish nor fowl 17 Dec. 2012
By science reader - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Its subtitle claims this book is both a memoir and a manifesto. It would be a better book if it were one or the other. I wish it were memoir. I think everything Asimov wants to say about wine could have been said more effectively in the context of his own evolving experience with it, which is too thinly told. The manifesto part is needlessly repetitive. An editor should have sent him back to the drawing boards.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
solid enjoyable read on wine! 4 Dec. 2012
By Timothy S. Mcdonald - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a terrific book on enjoying wine by a writer who draws very logical conclusions on the deliciousness of wine. Really loved the style of writing and thoughtful commentary. A must have for the folks that are learning and loving wine...Cheers!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant writing style. Keeps you captive with excellent story telling. A really great read. The discovery of the true essence. 25 Jun. 2013
By Ian Dean - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Keeps you captive with excellent story telling. A really great read. The discovery of the true essence of enjoying wine. A super gift for friends.
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