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Reference Book Reviews

Windows of the World: Complete Wine Course
The Oxford Companion to Wine, 3rd Edition

Windows of the World: Complete Wine Course
Author: Kevin Zraly
USA Price $19.95 Canada: $23.95
Publisher: Sterling Epicure, New York
ISBN: 978-1-4549-0018-4
Pages: 336
Reviewed by Kathy Sullivan

The title of Windows of the World: Complete Wine Course describes in a nutshell what this book is about. Readers will delight in the wine information and the enthusiasm with which it is presented to readers. While some wine books tend to be stodgy, not so with Windows on the World: Complete Wine Course.

The Introduction begins with Witness to the Revolution (1970-2010.) Zraly has watched the changes that have taken place in the world of wine that have included the use of screw caps, vineyards becoming more organic, increase of wine quality and the introduction of boxed wines.

Before getting to the book’s classes, Zraly offers a Prelude to Wine, which provides readers a quick look at flavors of wine which comes from the grapes themselves, from fermentation, maturation and aging. He also uses several pages to discuss wine tasting. At the end of the Prelude section, readers will discover a 25-question quiz. To check the answers, the author refers only to the page number. Zraly has the same type of quiz at the end of every “class.”
     Class One: The White Wines of France
     Class Two: The Wines of Washington, Oregon, and New York; The White Wines of California
     Class Three: The White Wines of Germany
     Class Four: The Red Wines of Burgundy and the Rhône Valley
     Class Five: The Red Wines of Bordeaux
     Class Six: The Red Wines of California
     Class Seven: The Wines of Spain and Italy
     Class Eight: Champagne, Sherry, and Port

The eight classes feature an easy to read and enjoy format of the wine information. Wine tidbits and wine label images are added along the sides of pages. Maps are provided that provide readers with an idea of where a particular wine region is located.

After Class Eight, a section is Wines of the World include: Austria, Hungary, Greece, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, Chile and Argentina. So many countries and too few pages, but Zraly writes, “And what will you be writing about in the year 2025? Argentina, the United States, Australia, Chile, and China.”
As a wine enthusiast, writer and traveler, I hope Kevin Zraly will be writing more about New Zealand, Canada and South Africa.

After the individual Classes, Windows on the World ends with a section that looks at:
     The Physiology of Tasting Wine,
     Matching Wine and Food,
     Understand Your Own Sense of Taste,
     Best Value List: $30 and Under,
     Frequently Asked Questions About Wine,
     Zraly’s Best of the Best.
This edition of Windows on the World book is an excellent choice for anyone interested in learning about wine and for wine enthusiasts who would like to learn more about this fascinating subject.

About the Author:

Kevin Zraly, a well-known wine expert, has been involved in the wine industry for 40 years. Zraly was the cellar master at Windows on the World.  This is where he started the Windows on the World Wine School. He has watched the changes that have taken place in the world of wine.



The Oxford Companion to Wine, 3rd Edition
Editor:  Jancis Robinson
Publisher:  Oxford University Press, Inc. New York 2006, 
Pages 840
Reviewed by Kathy Sullivan

Jancis Robinson, a renowned wine expert, has edited the works of many wine experts contributions to what can best be described as a wine encyclopedia. Almost any wine word one looks up is located within its pages as well as many wine words that you may never have heard of before. As with many other wine books, only a few wine regions in the U.S. are briefly explored. Despite this, it is an excellent book to own.

Anyone interested in more than tasting wine, will be happy to have The Oxford Companion to Wine, 3rd edition on his or her bookshelf.



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