Wine for Dummies – book review

Wine for DummiesWine for Dummies by Ed McCarthy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a brief introduction to wine for people who normally drink beer, from what glass to use to how to describe flavors this book will help you fake knowledge about wine. Made for the American market for American wine drinkers with only a nod to the most famous European wines, the focus is on Californian wines and Oregon (Really, Oregon? I had no idea they made wine in Oregon). This book will appeal to anyone looking to appear knowledgeable about wine.

We listened to the book while driving from one degustation to the next in Burgundy, and there was little mention of wines from this area. There were some entertaining points, but I think the best way to learn about wine is to talk to people who love wine and drink a little while you are listening to them. Another disappointment was the narrow focus on Champagne while fully ignoring all other sparkling wines like Prosecco or Cava.

I did end up giving it three stars because I truly enjoyed the section about the American obsession with grape varieties, which, by the way, is ruining the French wine industry. Our favorite winemaker in Provence has been blending wines for generations to create a uniquely drinkable wine, has started producing a Merlot for export. Why? Because American consumers believe that certain grapes are better than others.

Like you would forsake Granny Smiths the rest of your life, eating only Gala apples? You would not do that! Admit it. So, I was genuinely happy when this chapter concluded that if you are hooked on a grape type you don’t get it, go back to your beer. Which is what we have been mumbling about for years, or at least every time I hear someone order a “Char”.


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