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Contribution to Connoisseurs,
This review is from: The Concise Guide to Wine and Blind Tasting (Hardcover)
There are numerous books on the subject of wine and wine tasting but very little is included on the practice of blind tasting as a means of assessing and evaluating wines objectively from basic fundamentals without previous insight or bias. I miss the lavish full colour illustrations and detailed maps of more traditional tomes, but undoubtedly ‘The Concise Guide to Wine and Blind Tasting’ is the work of wine lovers for wine lovers. It is a joint production by psychiatrist Neel Burton and biophysicist James Flewellen – both clearly passionate as well as knowledgeable.
In addition to the usual historical material on the earliest wines made from wild fruits, the principles of viticulture’s vines and grapes, or the picking, crushing, fermentation etc. of wine production, or classification systems etc. there is great emphasis on assistance for readers to identify styles of grape varieties and to distinguish them according to origins. This is achieved with examples and with explanations on how climate influences the wine, how soil types govern what is grown etc. Not all is straightforward and a lot of careful reading is required – it is evidence for connoisseurs! Appearance, texture, nose, palette, sweetness, alcohol level etc. – all are considered, and readers must be prepared for ‘overload’.
The unique contribution of ‘The Concise Guide to Wine and Blind Tasting’ is the advice it offers on how to organise blind tasting events - complete with a series of ‘crib sheets’. Authors move on from merely describing wines to examining the ways in which particular kinds of wine are what they are, and how they are similar or different from other wines. Connoisseurs will welcome the Appendices on setting up blind tastings and on choosing foods to suit various wines – for me it will be party entertainment – but ‘The Concise Guide to Wine and Blind Tasting’ is a serious work suited to extending the skills of students and professionals. Potential readers are recommended to visit [...] for a more eloquent overview.