Book Review: Making Wild Wines & Meads

March 26, 2010

Admittedly, it is a little hard for me to review the front portion of Making Wild Wines & Meads: 125 Unusual Recipes Using Herbs, Fruits, Flowers, and More by Pattie Vargas and Rich Gulling. Because it was not my first wine making book, I am not as comfortable pulling out this 1999 book on winemaking techniques. What I use this book for is for more recipes and inspiration.

This book is the best book I have come across for organizing recipes. Recipes are alphabetized by the primary ingredient within their subject chapters. Chapters include:

  • Making wines from fruits
  • Making wines from flowers, nuts, and vegetables
  • Making meads, melomels and metheglins
  • Making wines from herbs

For instance, for apples there is a dry apple wine, medium-sweet apple wine, spiced apple wine, crab apple wine, and an apple cider wine before it moves on to apricot recipes.  Each recipe takes up a page and has the title across the top, which makes it easy to find recipes. Sometimes recipes contain a little variation on the bottom of the page. It is also quite sterile when it comes to the recipes, much like cooking, telling you what you need and how to make it. This is in contrast to Terry Geary’s The Joy of Home Winemaking personal commentary about how or why things are done a particular way. This could be a good thing if you are annoyed with Geary’s comments, but it could be a bad thing as you may not learn why things are done a particular way.

The back of the book is lacking in anything interesting, useful, and at your fingertips.

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