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VINE VOICEon 3 April 2017
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )|Verified Purchase
I have the earlier version of this guide so it seemed a good idea to look st the latest, revised version. I'm glad I did because although the basic principles and processes of tasting are essentially the same, it would perhaps be better to describe this as a completely new rather than a revised. It has been extensively rewritten and expanded, with s number of completely new sections and updating of wine types to reflect changes in the market and wine fashions.
The writing is clear and easy to understand and the illustrations are excellent.
Overall this is a very useful for those who are wine tasting beginners up to those with quite an experienced nose and palate. Well worth the money
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VINE VOICEon 7 April 2017
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )|Verified Purchase
Michael Schuster is very well regarded and an esteemed figure in the Wine Society and on the British winetasting and presenting scene, I have used serval of his excellent publications before and this one is in the same high quality league. As a wine enthusiast, collector and Chair of a wine society, I found this book well written absorbing and highly useful. Apart from the expected sections on how to taste wine and guide to glasses, tasting environment, etc, there is a very useful section on wine styles, regions and grape varietals and what aromas and flavours to expect. As this guide has just been published, it very usefully has vintage advice up to the 2015 vintages. The book rounds off with some very welcome wine region maps and potted profiles of the key estates.
An excellent book, highly recommended
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book by Michael Schuster is well presented and copiously illustrated with handy "at a glance" summaries on various topics throughout its 220 or so pages. I reviewed this volume as a novice to the world of wine tasting together with a friend who is a member of a wine society and much more experienced than myself.

This book is a complete and progressive course in the art of wine tasting clearly distinguishing it from a wine atlas and similar books - the main sections cover "Before the Bottle", "In the Bottle" and "In the Glass". The book covers topics such as the role of sight and smell in wine tasting together with informative diagrams, verbal/written descriptors, wine labelling, grape types, tasting techniques, decanting etc. In addition, there are useful summaries of key topics plus "looking back" check questions (answers are supplied). There's even a section on wine gadgets.

A core attribute of this book is that as a novice I gained a lot from it, and yet my friend who is an experienced wine taster said he also learnt a huge amount, it's rare for a self teaching book to satisfy and develop readers with such a wide range of experience from a novice to an expert. This is the second iteration of this book and it's very comprehensive, readable and, above all, really practical. The layout is also excellent with plenty of pictures, tables, maps and diagrams. If I had a slight gripe it's that the font size is rather small but that may be more about me needing glasses of the optical kind!

In summary, a comprehensive, easily followed and satisfying book that will help develop your expertise in wine tasting whether you're a novice or more experienced. Recommended.
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on 1 December 2015
Lacks detail but it is Essential like the title mentions .. the wine suggestions is helpful .
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I didn't find this book first-time-round, although I wish I had, so this revised edition is all new to me but it does seem to be the perfect one-stop introduction to winetasting, even if all you want is to make better choices in the supermarket. The book seems to get the balance just about right between being concise and jargon-free enough to be approachable and at the same time having enough depth and expertise to be worthwhile. Personally when it comes to wine drinking I know what I like but I don't always know why I like it or what else I might like that's similar and this book really does help illuminate some of that.

The beginning chapters run through the basics, the qualities of wine you'll use to appraise them and how they work, so you don't just get explanations of the types of bouquets and flavours wine may present but also an explanation of how your nose and palette actually detects and experiences those qualities. Subsequent sections explain the different types of wine, giving valuable information both on the origins and the specific qualities of those grape types we're so familiar with but may not fully understand. The third section, dealing with actual winetasting, gets up close and personal with wine and breaks down the qualities to look out for with each different wine type. There's additional information to be downloaded from the author's website and even an online winetasting course you can subscribe to but the book contains enough information to make this optional and the author doesn't promote it beyond a few mentions.

The final section of the book is for reference and contains wine-making maps and facts and rounds off your crash course in winetasting nicely. I'm sure some will find there's a bit too much technical information here and others not enough but for me it seems just about right. I have other wine books that catalogue and explain grape and wine varieties and they can be slightly dry reading (pun intended) but this book doesn't just lead you toward wines you might really enjoy, it tells you what to do with them when you get there. Really worth a look if you want to expand your wine-infused horizons.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
What’s good:
Covers different aspects of wine producing
Easy to follow without being pretentious
Helpful illustrations

What’s not so good:
Quite expensive
The hardcover version is super-expensive

When people in our household be they residents or guests make gushing or critical comments about a particular bottle of wine, I am often so naive as to take them as some kind of experts in the field. Phrases such as “Oh what a beautiful bouquet!”, and “This wine has legs” frequent the dinner table, and I just glaze over. Most of the comments are said in some jest I’m sure, because most 20-and-30-somethings haven’t really got a clue about what makes a good wine from a bad one, and I’m no different in that regard.

But my analytical mind likes to understand all the different varieties and processes involved in something as convoluted as wine-making, and this book has made it a lot easier to grasp for a complete outsider such as me. The book is written in a nicely accessible way without coming across as being too dumbed-down. It also manages to avoid all the floral pretentiousness of the most hardcore followers of this craft - each to their own.

I have enjoyed reading about the different backgrounds and origins of all the different varieties, and was rather pleased when a seemingly random bottle of Moscato I had picked up from the shop turned out to be an excellent choice as it offered a sweeter and more citrusy tone than the more typical Sauvignon Blanc that would otherwise have randomly turned up at the table.

There is a lot more to wine than meets the eye for a lot of people, and this book is neither overbearing nor over-simplified. It hits the mark nicely. The only real downsides are that it is a little expensive for what it is in my opinion, and also in paperback form it doesn’t really present well enough as something worthy of being ‘coffee-table’ material. The hard-back by comparison currently retails on Amazon at over £60 (at time of review) which seems rather steep.
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VINE VOICEon 14 May 2017
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'm going to start by quoting Michael Schuster in his introduction to his book, where he says that the book is made up of four parts:
1. Before the bottle: is about how to taste and assess wine about how grapes are grown and how wines are made.
2. In the bottle: describes the wines of the world based on grape variety.
3. In the glass: is a 'do-it-yourself' wine tasting course, base on my (Michael Schuster's) own courses.
4. Reference: consists of maps country statistics, and a tasting terms glossary.

I like this book. I think I would have really liked it when I was doing the Wine & Spirit Education Trust's part 1 course and exam (at my local comprehensive school), as it provides nice straightforward information that allows you to go into a tasting better informed. As an example Mr Schuster says 'Australia makes three broadly different styles of Semillon-based wine' and then goes on to discuss Hunter Valley, Barossa Valley and Western Australia Semillons. This is too big a book to lug around a supermarket but you could take notes on a type of wine you are thinking of buying before going out shopping. The format is nice when it comes to pictures, you get images of landscape that is 'typical' for the area, of methods of wine making, and - which I think is pretty brave - pictures of white wines against a white background so you can see the difference in colours between varieties. Michael Schuster's prose is firm and friendly and reminds me of all the friendly Wine-Tasting teachers I have had, who don't want you to like what they like but want you to know enough about what you are buying that you buy something you like. I can see myself going back to this book to refresh the basics and giving it as a gift.
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VINE VOICEon 18 April 2017
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book has opened my eyes to the world of wine; I realise now it is so much more than grape juice!

The book is a course and as such is designed to be read cover to cover rather than dipping in and out of - but that said I did the latter before I did the former and it made sense - but really encouraged me to read it from the beginning.

I have made wine from my home grown grapes and it tasted horrid; having read the book I know understand that there is a real art to making tasty wine and it starts with the grape (ripened until just the right moment rather than my picking my grapes as the vine needed pruning!) Thereafter there is skill too in the production process but it is the growing of the grape that interested the gardener in me.

There is a downside to reading such a book. I now no longer buy whatever my local supermarket has on offer (or is cheapest) but have started thinking more about what I am buying. I am starting to explore French wines from all its regions - it is going to take me some (delicious) time!

I have also taken inspiration and visited an English vineyard. I was astonished by the taste that grapes grown under the same climate as my poor vines could produce. I am no grape grower or wine maker, but thanks to Michael Schuster's well written book I now at least appreciate the arts (as well as the final product!)

If you enjoy wine you will get a lot from this book. But, if you are like me you, should perhaps be prepared to spend a little more on your wine afterwards!
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VINE VOICEon 25 April 2017
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'm loving this book - I have no experience of the first version, just this latest one, but it really does seem like an easy to follow, step by step lesson in wine tasting.

I'm trying to be methodical and work my way through, so haven't started on the suggested tastings yet. I have been introduced to the terminology in wine tasting and why it exists. I've read through the sections on how to taste, where the taste sensations come from and am ready to get going. The next sections in the book covers wine varieties, grape differences, where they grow and why, then there's a guided tasting session. Michael Schuster does say that there's linked tasting notes over on his web site, but last time I looked, I don't think these were live (or I couldn't find them). But I am definitely going to work my way through this and increase my very basic knowledge of wine into something more than "yeah, that's nice"!

I've not really investigated the subject of wine tasting before, but as a first foray into the subject matter, I think this looks extremely good and workable. It would be great as a gift along with some of the wines recommended for the tasting - can't wait to get to that bit.
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VINE VOICEon 17 May 2017
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've got books aplenty on 'good wine', champagne tasting notes, all of that sort of thing, but this book is a class in itself. It does have loads of information about the wine regions, the grapes, the climates etc - but it is primarily a trove of wisdom to help you get the most enjoyment out of your wine. The book starts with the 'basics' and includes what to look for when assessing the colour of the wine (and how to view the wine to really ascertain its characteristics visually); how to smell the wine, and of course how to taste it. It's in easy-to-understand lingo, and the pages are nicely laid out so there is ample text but lots of snippets and quick reference points. I also love how the pages include an easy 'cross-reference' panel in the corner, so that if there's a key word mentioned on that page you can easily refer to other pages for more information.

Every wine friend i've shown this book to has been impressed...all i need to do is arrange a wine-tasting evening of my own at home! I feel fully equipped to do so with this book, and if nothing else it's an excuse to enjoy some decent wine :)
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