Best books to learn about wine

I’m a new wine student and i found that if you read best books your wine knowledge can grow exponentially.
Drop your best wine related books so we can all share the new information

3 Likes

To me, Jamie Goode’s Authentic Wine remains one of the most interesting and well-written books on wine. Covers a lot of interesting subjects and is written in such a way that the book basically reads itself!

I like the other books by Goode as well, but this one is the best in the sense it is quite newbie-friendly, yet offers lots of in-depth information even for people with more wine knowledge.

And before anyone else suggests: I’d skip Wine Folly entirely.

3 Likes

And welcome to WB, too!

5 Likes

“Inside Burgundy” by Jasper Morris

It is now an older book and a lot of the producers who are described are no longer around, but if you want to LEARN about wine by far the best book I have ever read is Kermit Lynch’s classic Adventures Along the Wine Route.

[I am a bit surprised Otto did not recommend this book. From reading his tasting notes and the wines he drinks, he seems to have embodied a lot of what Kermit Lynch taught. Please note that this is a big compliment, not an insult.]

At one point here there was a page linking to classic thread. Does anyone know where that is now. A person could learn a lot from some of those threads.

2 Likes

I can warmly recommend Barolo Terroir by Ian D’Agata.

It is dense, as per Ian’s style, but the amount of quality information is phenomenal. Whilst many books go broad and shallow, Ian goes narrow and very deep.

The sections about biotypes is very interesting and I really like how the book covers each MGA with Ian’s observations and commentary from many producers.

Honestly, while im sure there are plenty of great books out there…the depth/breadth of collective wine knowledge that is available right here at your fingertips on Wineberserkers will be pretty damn hard to beat :cheers:

3 Likes

I’m old but I scoured when I was just beginning Alexis Lichine’s New Encyclopedia of Wines and Spirits. I see it is still available on Amazon.

Reading can be a huge help, but nothing beats tasting wine, ideally in a small social group where you can absorb differing viewpoints, and in time feel confident in offering your own differing opinions.

Books I would recommend:

  • If you want to approach winetasting in a disciplined manner, I still rate ‘essential winetasting’ by Michael Schuster. It helps to understand and express what you taste in the glass.
  • Whilst I’d counsel against the plethora of critics offering their opinion as the ‘one true voice’ (such publications are a crutch that hold back your own confidence developing), I will recommend the annual pocket book by Hugh Johnson (albeit editing now done by someone else). It’s densely packed with quirky abbreviations, but can give some safe (but not cutting edge) suggestions for exploring different regions. It may be annual, but Johnson himself acknowledged that for many it’s a once every 3 or 4 years purchase.

Then if you find an area you really like, there may be specialist books for that region / country, that go beyond someone telling you what they think is good, and into greater insight into the grapes, the history, the trends, the culture etc. e.g. I love native wine grapes of Italy by Ian d’Agata, which is an engaging mix of the passion and technical insight, perfect for someone who loves exploring Italy away from the famous / obvious (a bit like I view visiting Italy itself).

4 Likes

Kermit and nothing else comes close.

3 Likes

Welcome! This wine board is the best read.

1 Like

The Winemaker’s Dance.

Now over a decade old but the best and most understandable book about Napa terroir. Also has a very good summary of the different winemaking styles of a decade ago.

1 Like

‘Wine’ by Hugh Johnson.

I’m not sure it’s still in print (IIRC it was written in the 60s), but should be readily available. Yes, a lot has changed since he wrote it, but IMO it is as clear and coherent an introduction as has ever been written and the classic regions he touches on remain classics.

2 Likes

Welcome! There is another recent thread with a ton of suggestions in the Wine 101 section, search for “Best Wine 101 books” on the forum. Happy reading!

Along these lines, I always like to plug Jancis Robinson’s How to Taste, which is fairly broad when talking about grapes/regions/winemaking/etc., but offers good practical recommendations along the lines of “Here are things to pay attention to when tasting and how” as well as “If you’d like to understand more about what oak does to Chardonnay (or what age does to Bordeaux, etc.), try tasting wines like [A] and [B] and [C] next to each other.”

There are a lot of good options for learning about what’s out there in the world, but I like this book as a practical and winsome introduction to actual wine enjoyment, which is a great foundation to have as you dig into all that. It was a great help to me when I started paying more attention to wine.

Adventures Along the Wine Route is fun, too.

2 Likes

Well, the best if you want to do a lot of reading is Jancis Robinson though it was last updated 5 years ago is still wonderful.

Ah, but what do frogs know about wine (LOL not Lynch)

Just to clarify for the OP, How to Taste is a fairly short, straightforward book. Jancis has also written or co-written some much larger reference books which are very informative but, indeed, a lot of reading (The Oxford Companion to Wine, The World Atlas of Wine, Wine Grapes, etc.).

I’m not sure there’s a better introductory wine book than Karen MacNeil’s Wine Bible. It covers all of the major regions and is easy to read.

World Atlas of Wine from Jancis

But also Jon Bonne has more of a story telling way of writing about wine that may appeal.

1 Like