You can, says Jancis Robinson, "literally taste your way to wine expertise". Her Wine Tasting Workbook
is a characteristically intelligent and original example of her skill in communicating her very considerable enthusiasm and expertise. Unlike other how-to-appreciate-wine guides, which largely confine themselves to telling you about the stuff, Robinson's actually talks you through it, with scores of practical exercises punctuating the theory and information. These start with an examination of the most basic fundamentals of taste and smell, and how they combine to create complex sensations; as the course progresses the exercises become more elaborate, leading the eager taster into increasingly sophisticated areas of discrimination and pleasure. This is an immensely practical book, taking into account aspects of wine tasting that others might disregard: spitting the wine out with confidence, for example ("Practice spitting neatly in the bath... You are not expected to spit in silence".), or the logistics of a formal tasting. Jancis Robinson's knowledge is immense, and her approach is unintimidating yet the very reverse of patronising. The book is full of science but highly approachable. There is something here for every wine taster from the novice to the expert, from the apparently simple but really rather penetrating remark that only wine made from one grape variety (Muscat) actually tastes like grapes, to the all-but-baffling difficulties of distinguishing between Bordeaux and Burgundy. Would-be tasters can follow Robinson into the vast maze of wine with confidence that they won't be led astray or abandoned. --Robin Davidson
About the Author
Jancis Robinson is an internationally known and respected wine-writer and broadcaster. She has written many books and is the editor of the Oxford Companion to wine and has a regular column in the Financial Times and the New York based Wine Spectator.