Friday, November 7, 2008

A Year of Wine by Dr. Vino

Another book by power wine blogger and professor Tyler Colman (AKA Dr. Vino) is hitting the shelves just in time for the holidays. I had the opportunity preview A Year of Wine this week. My initial impression of A Year of Wine is that it is like a print version of a wine blog, except rather than being organized by region or grape variety, it's organized by season and month.

There's a little bit of everything in this book--all pretty basic stuff for the most part but, not without its interesting tid-bits. Wish you knew what to serve at your Super Bowl party? Flip to February. Looking for the perfect hot-dog pairing? Flip to June. The book is laid out and formatted like a textbook oriented around the months of the year, and provides plenty of room in the margins for taking notes!

I liked Colman's emphasis on context for drinking wine. The following passage from the introduction sets up the focus for the rest of the book: "...too often, a wine itself is taken as fixed and unchanging because of a numerical rating that a critic gave it and that it carries with it from meal to meal, year to year." The text is also spiked with several one page Sommelier Surveys that reveal a variety of viewpoints on wine drinking context, and seasonal wine pairings to keep this theme in focus.

Besides specific wine recommendations for each season, Colman throws in a lot of his practical tips and advice on everything from wine accessorizing to bargain hunting. He also makes mention of a number of online wine resources that wine lovers may not be familiar with if they haven't spent much time reading wine blogs.

The book is written in a breezy somewhat "bloggish" style which is a departure from the style of Wine Politics. I think confirmed wine enthusiasts will get more out of Wine Politics than they would from A Year of Wine. Still, fans of the Dr. Vino blog will certainly want to have this book around for a handy reference, or buy it as a gift for the wine newbie on their list.

In closing, and by way of offering a small preview, below is my favorite bit of jauntiness from A Year of Wine which is actually a heading from the February chapter:

"Rose Champagne: It's not just for heart-shaped jacuzzis anymore" -Tyler Colman, A Year of Wine