Today I want to talk about a book which has influenced the lives of countless millions; a book which – everyday – people (including myself) seek to align their thoughts and actions with. It’s a sacred text, synonymous with timeless principles and hidden truths. Some say it even holds the key to True Bliss.
Okay – it’s Karen McNeil’s Wine Bible. Sorry for the build-up; I just couldn’t resist.
Looking at her website, it looks like she has finally decided to update; this fall the “New” wine bible will come out. Originally published in 2001, I became increasingly aware how outdated this late-90’s book was. The tone, aside from being obviously pre-9/11, is from the crest of the wave of the Fine Wine Revolution. I’m not saying this book is hopelessly out of date, it’s just that the wine industry has definitely turned page since she wrote.
The Bible systematically goes through each wine producing country and explores the history, grape varietals. the laws, the weather and climate, and each region specifically. It includes good asides about food and a pinch of tourism; it also contains excellent glossaries, worth the price of the book alone.
The only thing that I wanted was a more detailed tasting profile for each region. What does a cab from the Willamette Valley taste like as opposed to one from Mendoza? It’s not too much of a guide towards tasting; nor does she delve into the complex world of actually growing grapes too deeply.
No, The Bible is really just a classy, authoritative overview of the wine world. It’s a great introduction and quite readable. When you get to a wine or a grape or a region Karen McNeil is capable of very enjoyable flights of poetic fancy. It allows one to talk and think intelligently about buying wine when in their local wine shop. Just don’t expect to be considered an expert when you finish this massive tome.
Indispensable for people interested in wine.