Book Review: The Wine Club

July 23, 2010

The Wine Club: A Month-by-Month Guide to Learning about Wine with Friends by Maureen Christian Petrosky caught my eye as being something different when it comes to learning about wine. Most books talk about specific wines and leave the door wide open for your own experimenting, possibly leaving you still overwhelmed and lost at where to begin. This book is organized to take it slow, one month at a time, with a specific wine and instructions on how to do a tasting that month.

The book still has the generic opening you will find in any wine tasting book, but the most interesting part about the intro is the calendar it has for throwing a wine tasting party. It is set up in a grid, and it kind of reminds me of the check lists for having a wedding, including setting up music, polishing glasses, and even sending out thank-yous after the tasting.

As for the wines included, they are not your usual, and she does chose wines that go well for that time of year, such as she starts with Champagne due to New Year’s. The wines included are:

  • January – Champagne: Become a Bubblehead
  • February – Cabernet: By the Flight
  • March – Syrah/Shiraz: A Spicy Sip
  • April – Merlot: Merlot, My Dear
  • May – Viognier: Chardonnay’s Sexy Sister
  • June – Riesling: Picnics and Porch Swingin’
  • July – chardonnay: The Queen of Whites
  • August – Sauvignon Blanc: Get It While It’s Hot
  • September – Dessert Wines (aka Stickies)
  • October – Zinfandel: For an All-American Tailgate
  • November – Pinot: Waxing Poetic with Pinot
  • December – Pick your Poison

Each chapter then has a “Getting to Know”, a suggested flight of wines, and food and wine pairings for that month.  She also provides a “Bang for Your Buck”, a “Mona Lisa” of a super special splurge recommendation, a “Salvador Dalí” wine that is quirky and funky and less mainstream, a “Wine Trend” of gizmos and gadgets, and a “If the Glass Fits” to teach about different types of wine glasses. There is also a page called “Get Your Drink On,” explaining the color, aroma, taste, body, and finish one would expect in that month’s wine style.

Most importantly, each month there is a different “You’ll Never Forget it” and “Wine Speak.” These are the lessons about learning to appreciate wine, and are doled out slowly from month to month instead of all at once. For example, she talks about tannins, vintage, aging wines, and decanting  in February, wine spoilage and wine legs in March,  and Old World vs New World and  terroir in April. It leaves you not so over whelmed, and you are having fun while learning.

When it comes to December, Petrosky sets you lose to host your own wine party, saying that you have the tools from the rest of her book, and that you should be confident in your wine tasting abilities. The rest of the chapter is dedicated actually to cheese and wine pairings, using the format from her other chapters now on cheese, such as “Cheese Speak”, and then talking about regional wines from around the world.

At the back of the book, there are some extra sections. The first one is on etiquette, such as avoiding lipstick to make it easier to clean glasses, don’t wear perfume, sending back bad wine at a restaurant, and more. There is also a page of recommended websites and another for recommended books. The next page is a cheat sheet of popular white grapes and red grapes, and geographical “places that make yummy wine from them.” Just before the index is the very important Tasting Notes sheet for your parties, including complete name of wine, grape variety, vintage, tasting date, price value, aroma, color, taste, body, finish, notes on food pairings, and overall thoughts.


One Response to “Book Review: The Wine Club”

  1. […] did review a book a while back titled The Wine Club by Maureen Christian Petrosky. It is a “guide to learning about wine with friends,” in which […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: