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Book review – Vino: Great Wine for Everyday Life

25 May 2012 by
Book review – Vino: Great Wine for Everyday Life

Vino: Great Wine for Everyday Life
By Hamish Anderson
Random House, £20
ISBN 1 8441 3187 4

Designed to appeal to the wine novice looking to learn more and those who know their Riesling from Rioja, Vino is a comprehensive exploration of the world of wine and its relationship with food.

Written by Hamish Anderson, wine buyer for the Tate, the practical book is split into region, grapes and food with a key navigation that directs the reader to other relevant pieces of information.

So while one might look to understand more about Pomerol, from the Bordeaux region, the book will not only educate the reader on the fact that the wine is "generally delicious when young" but also provide links to other relevant content, such as wines of similar complexity or food matches.

Anderson says: "I believe that all you need to get the most out of wine is a small fountain of knowledge and confidence to experiment."

With this in mind he offers descriptions that are both accessible and amusing. Chenin Blanc is described as "a faded film star whose reputation has been tarnished by a series of bad TV movies" while we learn that a bottle of Madeira could "outlast you, your children and your grandchildren".

That's not to say this isn't a serious study on the world of wine. Vino offers a thorough description on the roots of both the old and new world, with detail on each region and variety, along with suggestions of what to try and details of Anderson's favourite producers.

It explores grape varieties, describing the typical style of wine they produce, the type of food they might be paired with, and the key areas in which they are grown.

For further insight into perfect pairing, food types are listed along with the wines that would best accompany them. Sangiovese is among the suggestions for rarer beef, while readers are referred back to a Loire Chenin or Soave for tomatoes.

The food descriptions are broad, moving quickly from beef through pasta and cuisine types like curry to cheese, but within each there are enough wine suggestions to cover plenty of variations.

Vino doesn't offer much more in terms of wine detail than other similar books, but what it does provide is an easily navigable route through wine and food, enabling the reader to quickly identify new potential pairings.

If you like this you'll love these
250 Best Wines 2012: Wine Buying Guide Oz Clarke
â- The Oxford Companion to Wine Jancis Robinson
â- Life's Too Short to Drink Bad Wine: 100 wines for the discerning drinker Simon Hoggart

By James Stagg

E-mail your comments to James Stagg here.

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