Friday, October 7, 2011

First, Read, Then Shop

A couple of hours after I posted the item just below, a nice driver from DHL stopped by the house to drop off a copy of the newly published "1000 Great Everyday Wines From the World's Best Wineries" (Dorling Kindersley, 352 pages, $25).

The theme of the book fits right in with yesterday's post, in that it is a comprehensive guide to high-value wines. I wasn't expecting a copy, but was pleased to get it, in that I was one of 19 contributors rounded up by editor Jim Gordon to write of wines we think provide "sophistication, authenticity, and regional character" without costing more than "the price of an entree at a good restaurant."

"They were not to select specific outstanding vintages that may be sold out or fluctuate in price, but to endorse brands, varietals, and types that are consistently high quality and affordable," writes Gordon in the book's foreword. We weren't instructed to limit our choices to wines released at or below a specific price, but in scanning the book I think it's generally safe to say that few cost more than $20 per bottle. My contributions, for example, include Boeger Winery's Hangtown Red (usually around $11), Bogle Vineyards pinot noir ($13), C.G. Di Arie's verdelho ($18) and Sobon Estate's Old Vines zinfandel ($12).

In flipping through the book, I find the sections on Bordeaux and Burgundy especially exciting, and I'm tempted to head out to wine shops in search of several of the suggestions just as soon as I get this posted. It's also gratifying to see some old favorities from Italy (Fattoria di Felsina's Chianti Classico Berardenga, Castello di Volpaia's Chianti Classico), Austria (Laurenz V's gruner veltliners), Argentina (Familia Zuccardi's Santa Julia Malbec Reserva), Chile (Leyda's Pinot Noir Las Brias Vineyard), Australia (Jim Barry's The Lodge Hill Shiraz) and New Zealand (Mt. Difficulty's Roaring Meg Pinot Noir) in the roundup.

Beyond a brief description of each of the 1,000 wines, the book includes helpful sections on such topics as how to read old-world and new-world labels, pairing specific styles of wine with food, the proper serving of Champagne, biodynamic grape growing, and alcohol levels.

Anyone hoping for a happy return on their investment in wine just might want to start shopping by popping for a copy of "1000 Great Everyday Wines." Though the suggested retail price is $25, Amazon.com is selling it for $16.50 and Walmart.com is selling it for $15.28. I was paid up front for my involvement, incidentally, and don't stand to profit by sales of the book.

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