Customer Reviews


19 Reviews
5 star:
 (5)
4 star:
 (7)
3 star:
 (6)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pithy
From the title you know you can expect a semi humorous account of the history of wine and port. This would all be a waste if the author didn't know half what he was talking about, but with Howkins you know you might actually learn something along the way.

First off I am a fan of the illustrations by Oliver Preston; they fit with the narrative and the humour and...
Published 21 months ago by Smatch

versus
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A curate's egg
Whilst this book has some interesting and amusing content, it suffers from the lack of a clear structure and focus. Even within chapters the author jumps between different topics making for a somewhat irritating read - just when on gets interested in, say, the major producers or types of port the attention is switched to something else. It seems that this book was...
Published on 3 Jan 2012 by Setter man


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pithy, 15 Nov 2012
By 
Smatch (South West) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Real Men Drink Port and Ladies Do Too! A Contemporary Guide (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
From the title you know you can expect a semi humorous account of the history of wine and port. This would all be a waste if the author didn't know half what he was talking about, but with Howkins you know you might actually learn something along the way.

First off I am a fan of the illustrations by Oliver Preston; they fit with the narrative and the humour and in a way its a departure from wine based illustrations because the frame isn't full with rosy cheeked port drinkers! They go very well with the celebratory nature of the book.
Howkins narrates us through a light and sometimes quirky history of Port and what is meant to be a Port drinker in the day and how this compares to the view people have on it these days.

If you're after a quirky, light history of the drink then look no further: you'll find things to like in this book. Don't expect this to be an historical reference though.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Port, the history of the World in a bottle., 29 Dec 2011
This review is from: Real Men Drink Port and Ladies Do Too! A Contemporary Guide (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This Ben Howkins volume is an amusing, enlightening and diverting little lightweight. His obvious knowledge comes to the fore throughout the length of the book. He doesn't delve too deeply into any aspect of Port, its production, or history, however, what he does show is more than enough to whet the appetite should any reader wish to explore further the mysteries of this rich and long-lived wine.
The more I read the more I became convinced that I should never be a real Port man, if for no other reason than I don't smoke cigars, more damningly though I could never manage to imbibe six plus bottles per day, this just shows you what an insubstantial individual I am. I found the author's anecdotal style of delivery allowed me to easily absorb the facts and figures, curious how history reflects Port vintage years. I am chagrined to learn that for years I have been enjoying Port in the wrong glass, how loathsome that must have seemed to the wine, it must be truly insulted in the average wine bar, never mind the local pub (A small Port wine please...with lemon.aaargh!) as for the things they used to slosh it into in Working-mens Clubs one shudders to think. Recently I was with a group of friends in a reasonable hotel when ordered the Port came in chunky spirit glasses, I, therefore recommend that this book becomes required reading for all bar staff.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real Men Drink Port., 27 Nov 2011
By 
S. Riches - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Real Men Drink Port and Ladies Do Too! A Contemporary Guide (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It depends what you are looking for; if you seek simply a list of port wines; their producers; ratings for different years' production; and an idea of how the stuff is made and marketed, you will find all that in here BUT this is not to my mind intended mainly as a work of reference, it is more a literary salute to the drink. The book is full of fascinating historical cameos, of references to characters of the past who were "big" in port, along with snippets of their side-history and their personal characteristics, and of the author's opinions about what makes a port drinker, the sort of people they are and their values. The drink carries with it an image of a whole way of life, some of it long gone and some still persisting, and the book accurately paints that image. It is no doubt a little uncomfortable for those whose socialism conflicts with these values; however, in my experience, both rich and poor socialists are partial to the best port they can afford, so maybe we're all really in it together!
If all this makes the book sound pretentious, forgive me because it isn't, but if you buy the book you need to know what you're in for. There are no apologies for the upper-crust image of the drink, the book re-enforces it. There is no reference to Mavis Bloggs having a quick swig before working the tills at Tescos, but masses of references to those of privileged English upbringing who evolved and espoused the drink in the higher echelons of society. It is written in a most engaging style and the fact that it is peppered with anecdotes makes it strong. This is best explained by my quoting just one of them, which hopefully will give you some idea of the style and content.
This extract refers to blind tastings of vintage port held at a lunch session by one of the wine merchants, Justerini and Brooks, where famous people from sport, commerce, politics and the nobility attend and must guess the year of the port.

"The late Queen Elizabth, The Queen Mother, last lunched there in December 1998. Not for her the nominal 1 bet per person. She upped the ante to 10 per person and promptly guessed the vintage to be the year of her birth, 1900, and happily shovelled her winnings into her lady-in-waiting's handbag."

By such odd events, companies manage to maintain the social image of the drink (my words, not those of the author).

You get a description of the great port houses, vintages, smitten politicians, and, some background history - but essentially this is a sociological romp through the drink, and it's good read. It strikes me as an ideal present for those who love a nice port. And no, I don't know the author and I have no financial interest in the book! Steve Riches, Northampton, UK.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars About the book, 7 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Real Men Drink Port and Ladies Do Too! A Contemporary Guide (Hardcover)
It made a really good present for my son in law! I hope to read it myself sooner or later
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A curate's egg, 3 Jan 2012
By 
Setter man (Sheffield, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Real Men Drink Port and Ladies Do Too! A Contemporary Guide (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Whilst this book has some interesting and amusing content, it suffers from the lack of a clear structure and focus. Even within chapters the author jumps between different topics making for a somewhat irritating read - just when on gets interested in, say, the major producers or types of port the attention is switched to something else. It seems that this book was writtent to attract the casual reader rather than those who want a more focused and detailed study of port in its various guises. Even the cartoons don't make up for what is ultimately a very disjointed and disappointing read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fun read with an unexpected serious side, 1 Jan 2012
By 
Thomas Pots "T Pots" (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Real Men Drink Port and Ladies Do Too! A Contemporary Guide (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The thing that struck me time and again when reading this book was that is has been presented in completely the wrong way. It is packaged like any number of vaguely witty but ultimately awful stocking-fillers, but it is in fact far above the level of forgettable drivel. It lifts the lid on a fascinating world that I previously knew nothing about, and does so with enthusiasm and panache.

The author is a well-known wine writer with a long connection with the industry. He writes with the convivial chattiness of an old friend as he meanders through amusing anecdotes related to port and the business of producing it and, in doing so, imparts his knowledge and interest to the reader. Littered through the gentle repartee are gems of handy knowledge about choosing, buying, keeping and consuming port.

It's an amusing read, which uncorks the rarefied world of the wine producers and merchants of past and present. However, the author fails to recognise the quintessential paradox of port wine: how to rid it of its stuffy, old-fashioned image. The wonderful paradox is that he fails to see the irony in the completely detached and self-absorbed world of which he writes, and the mass market to which port producers seek to sell their product. The book focuses on port's illustrious but limited customer base of titled nobility, while pondering about why the industry has failed to interest the mass market (i.e. supermarket shoppers) into popping a bottle in their trolley every week with their chardonnay. I am baffled at why he and the producers are baffled.

While I have enjoyed this book almost as much as I enjoy drinking a good port, it has rather rattled me. So I've got to mention that terrible title: "Real Men Drink Port... And Ladies do Too!" If that represents the attitude of the producers and writers, then it is no wonder port is loitering on the dusty top-shelves in supermarket aisles. It seems to me that the Achilles heel of the port market is these very people. This book makes plain that they actually rather like the stuffy old image of oak-panelled gentleman's clubs, black-tie dinners with Lord Snooty, moustachioed gentry guffawing at one another after a shoot, being on back-slapping terms with the royals, and so on. It's all great fun to read about, and a useful heritage on which to market the product to the moneyed few, but ultimately a rather silly approach to mass-market business. Incidentally, I've nothing against moneyed folk per se; I'm just noting my observation in relation to the book.

Port is a fine product, and this book is a tremendously good read about it, but beneath the humour one begins to see a reluctant old codger of a business, being prodded into the current century by the tantalizing whiff of profits.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Posh guide to posh drink, 30 Dec 2011
By 
Mark Shackelford "mark shackelford" (Worthing, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Real Men Drink Port and Ladies Do Too! A Contemporary Guide (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The perfect Christmas Gift for the Port Fan in your family - everything you need to know about this oddly English based drink (even though it is from Portugal)

The book is set out as lots of short sections on every aspect of Port - the makers, the history, the brands, the drinker, the myths - a bit like one of those Schott's miscellany books - but focused on Port.

If you have pretensions to drink Port properly - this is the book for you, discussing the right sort of glass, how to decant the port, and the correct way to pass the port.

Lots of fun, a bit on the posh side (so won't please your working class uncle), and an easy read (especially with a glass or two!)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a tot of a snifter! Pass the port please...., 10 Dec 2011
This review is from: Real Men Drink Port and Ladies Do Too! A Contemporary Guide (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I enjoyed this. I'd describe it as a "dip into" book, not one to be read all in one go. I actually found myself reading a section or two most evening after dinner (while the other half and daughter washed up and I leisurely finished my glass of wine.)

The history was fascinating, many of the anecdotes highly amusing.

I think you may need to be an appreciator of the fact that most of the book is about the class of people who know a fine port from supermarket plonk - the upper class huntin' and shootin' lot ... but that is the point of the book, the history of port and fine wines, and those who consumed them. My Lords and Ladies rarely sampled a pint of beer or a half of lager down the local and then went for a curry or fish and chips to follow.
This would make an ideal present for someone interested in those little intriguing facts of history - and who enjoys the occasional snifter!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, 21 July 2012
By 
L. E. Cooper "Lindsey" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Real Men Drink Port and Ladies Do Too! A Contemporary Guide (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a great little book, bought as a present for a family member and his opinion was that it was a very informative and entertaining little book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Please Pass the P**T, 30 Jan 2012
By 
Dr. I. Cox "ian_cox9" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Real Men Drink Port and Ladies Do Too! A Contemporary Guide (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Real Men drink Port....and ladies too

Ben Howkins

Forget the jokes about real men eat quiche and let's concentrate on this little gem of a book.
Have you ever wondered as to what Port is , Who invented it , why it is such an English institution , what is a "pipe" of port and what the " Bishop of Norwich" has to do with anything , then this book may be for you.
Starting with the origins of Port and the ( originally English ) families controlling its manufacture / distribution ( a benign Mafia really ) , Ben Howkins takes us though the origins of the tipple , the types of Port ( and new trends) , the makers , the famous port drinkers ( old and new) , the culture and the arcane rituals and of course identifying vintage " years" for the port and how it should be stored , served , and drunk..
Illustrated with humour by Oliver Preston there are also odd little anecdotes and quotes in the famous drinkers / non drinkers section. Although Port is often associated with crusty old Oxbridge colleges it is (so long as you can afford it) a very democratic and levelling drink. Port drinkers are seen as the quintessentially generous - so long as you keep their glass filled as well and remember your left from your right.
Port is truly apolitical although we might suspect some members of Parliament are more "portly" than other. Tony Blair - remembered by the college porter as "the long haired git with the guitar" - may not be as port wise as David Cameron and Boris Johnson and their Bullingdon days at Oxford
Enough said - read this little tome with a glass or three........
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Real Men Drink Port and Ladies Do Too! A Contemporary Guide
Real Men Drink Port and Ladies Do Too! A Contemporary Guide by Ben Howkins (Hardcover - 10 Oct 2011)
13.56
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews