Food and Wine - Wine Guide 2006
There are a number of slim, hip-pocket yearly books out on the market. They're meant to be bought fresh each year, and to guide you through that year's offerings in the wine store. So for the first question - should you even buy a once-a-year book, I have to say they definitely have their value. Many wines are meant to be drink-now. If you get a book that was written 2 years ago, or 3, the wines they tell you to buy might not even be available any more. If you try to get a year X + 1 vintage from a winery, it might be much worse. You really do need up to date suggestions and information, when you're standing in a wine shop.
On the other hand, you could say that the internet provides daily updates - never mind yearly updates - of what to buy. Again, that's great when you're at home researching wine regions and learning about what is going on. However, again, when you're standing in a wine shop, you probably haven't memorized everything you've been reading. That's why keeping this book in your glove box or purse really becomes handy.
So, assuming now that you do want to have a yearly wine guide, the question is whether you should get this one vs the many others on the market. Let's look into what this one offers.
First, the book offers a few basics - wine and food pairings, definitions of wine types, and so on. While I appreciate that they want to start with the basics, these are also things you don't really need in a "carry all the time" book. You can learn those basics from the web or another book, without having to carry it around with you. It's not that I mind knowledge, but ideally, this book would be as thin as possible so it's light to carry. Also, this information doesn't change from year to year, so if you're buying a yearly book, you're paying for that printing cost and information every single year when you don't need to.
The main part of the guide is broken out by region. I understand that you have to divide up your wine suggestions somehow - but to be honest, doing that by country doesn't make much sense to me. If you're cooking a steak, you want a certain style of red - not necessarily from France or from California. If you're looking for a Chardonnay, you would want to compare the offerings from Chile, Australia and California side by side, without having to flip from section to section.
There are other oddities here. They group Canadian and Mexican wines together? Wine regions often seem to feature the 'famous' wineries but neglect smaller wineries that have better quality products. This might be the trade-off where a company that only "partly" does wine takes on a project trying to review the entire world's wine offerings every single year.
Not the pocket-book for wine I'd recommend.
Author: Jamal A Rayyis
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