Monday, December 13, 2010

Become a Wine Expert

Many tastings, many events, many friends and wow, did I get snow,have kept me from doing a posting. Yes, Vancouver Island with the mildest climate in Canada did get its first and hopefully last snow. Thought I would share this picture taken on my front yard with a little Holiday holly added for the season.
The weather man of course was wrong as usual with the prediction of 4 centimeters and 10 for higher elevations. Well I am not that high, but I got 14 cms. Snowed in for 3 days, but plenty of food and good fire wood on hand to keep a blazing yuletide fire going. And of course tasted some wines from my cellar that had been waiting for a special occasion.
Now the title of this blog entry is 'Become a Wine Expert' and there are plenty of wine courses offered. But if you do not want to spend 3 to 4 hundred and even more dollars and tie up every Tuesday evening for the next 3 months, here is a fun way for the beginner and even those who already have some good understanding of wine, to learn.
It is even more fun when you get a small group of your wine loving friends together. Internationally known wine writer, taster and teacher, Michael Schuster has recently created a handy dandy, nifty little box full of cards loaded with great information. Pick a card, any card and you are presented with very useful information. It starts with a set of cards on the 'basics', then a set on 'grape varieties', followed by 'tasting techniques' and finally 'tasting lessons'. Some great advice for pairing wine and food included as well. Very, very well done Michael. Let the fun begin and you are on your way to becoming an expert.
On my trip to Italy and specifically, Tuscany, I relied heavily on the foremost expert on Italian wines, Joseph Bastianich.
Visit his site and go to media and then books. His book 'Vino Italiano The Regional Wines of Italy' is a wonderful, excellent read on Italian wines and his 'Vino Italiano Buying Guide, the ultimate Quick Reference to the Great wines of Italy' is a must have book. I took it along on my trip.

Joseph Bastianich is a foremost expert on Italian wines. He is the co-owner, with Mario Batali of some of America's premier Italian restaurants. But he also owns and produces wines on four wineries, three of them in Italy. Busy though he is, he has just finished another excellent Italian wine book, Grandi Vini, an opinionated tour of Italy's 89 finest wines. Now we are getting into some serious writing on Italian wines. With in depth details on wines and their producers, ranging from a superb Sangiovese from Emilia Romagna, to Barolos and a delightfully fresh, dry white Pietramarina from Sicily, Joseph captures the essence of them all. Every wine has its website information included. You will enjoy the hand-illustrated maps of locations of the wineries. Yes, Joseph's richly detailed descriptions of 89 of the world's best Italian wines will lead you to explore some of the world's finest wines. Great opinions and another must have book for any wine lover. I am planning my next visit to Italy.
Thank you Joseph.

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