Life was easier back then. A bottle of sherry for Christmas or when the vicar was coming to tea, some brown ale for dad on Saturday night and a bottle of Hirondelle wine to drink in the kitchen at parties. Now we have choices and viticultural aspirations …but what to buy?
I offer you two reviews rolled into one. Apple Press continue with their marvellously practical 500 series, now considering red wines and white wines. Christine Austin has penned 500 Red Wines. She has an established career as a wine writer and also as an international wine competition judge. Natasha Hughes and Patricia Langton are those responsible for 500 White Wines. Natasha is a UK-based food and wine writer and lecturer on wine appreciation. Patricia is also a food and wine writer with special interest in Spain, Chile and Argentina. She is based in London.
Each of these chunky volumes is packed with information you’ll need to boldly go into the wine merchants and to return home with something delicious, appropriate for your meal and the right colour. These books are compact enough to take with you on your bottle-hunting raids so you won’t have to commit everything to memory before you hit the high street. Good wines are to be found at reasonable prices but you need to know which are good value and which are just cheap. Each wine listed in these books has a price guide, on a scale from economic to astronomic.
There are useful chapters on grape varieties, growing grapes, making wine, regional specialities, keeping and storing wine, and even those colourful tasting words. You’ll soon be able to recognise a cheeky little floral nose and wax lyrical about the chocolatey spiciness.
Many of us like a glass of wine with a meal. Red wine is said (this week) to be good for us in moderation but food and wine pairing is a mystery to most of the population. These books give you ample advice about wines to choose and this will be particularly welcome if you want to have a bottle of something special from the restaurant cellar. You know you’ll be paying an arm and a leg for your glassful so a bit of fore-planning could save both fiscal and emotional embarrassment.
500 Red Wines and 500 White Wines are a couple of the best wine books for the beginner. Pick a wine and taste. Read the description and you’ll find that there is more to your bottle of Vin de Pays de l’Aude than you had realised. You’ll become a discerning drinker and avoid expensive mistakes. Great value for money and a must for anyone who would like to learn more about wine.
500 Red Wines
Author: Christine Austin
500 White Wines
Authors: Natasha Hughes and Patricia Langton
Published by: Apple Press
500 White Wines ISBN 978-1-84543-330-7
500 Red Wines ISBN 978-1-84543-331-4
Drinks guidebook reviews by Chrissie Walker © 2018