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The Really Useful Wine Guide to Red Wine

18 May 2006
The Really Useful Wine Guide to Red Wine

There are many different ways to organise your wine list, but setting a list out by style is one of my favourites. It's really easy to understand and you know instantly what you feel like - and an increasing number of restaurants are doing it.

But if you have a business that doesn't employ a sommelier and you're not an expert yourself, how do you know which wines go in which category? Glenfiddich award-winning Susy Atkins's latest book, out in paperback next month, will help you with that. Actually there are two books: The Really Useful Guide to Red Wine and The Really Useful Guide to White Wine, and they are what they say on the tin, so to speak.

Split into flavour sections, the white guide kicks off with a chapter on light, dry whites, explaining how Sauvignon Blanc, for example, can be both light and lean, as with the likes of Sancerre, yet fruity and pungent as in Marlborough, New Zealand - and so shouldn't be grouped in the same flavour category. Obvious, but it's a mistake often made by restaurants.

Reds get the same treatment. As well as extolling the virtues of misunderstood Beaujolais and highlighting the benefits of cool-climate Cabernet Franc in the "light and smooth" chapter, Atkins covers general texture and appearance, aroma and flavour, then looks at key grape varieties in each section. She suggests producers and other lesser known wines, such as Germany's Dornfelder and Argentinian Bonarda.

There are food matching suggestions within each chapter, too, plus storing and serving tips and even a helpful buyer's guide all written in Atkins's trademark breezy, accessible style.

Fiona Sims, wine writer

The Really Useful Wine Guide to Red Wine
The Really Useful Wine Guide to White Wine
Susy Atkins
Quadrille, £5.99 each
ISBN (Red) 1-84400-290-X
(White) 1-84400-291-8

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Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

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