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The Wine Bible [Paperback]

Karen MacNeil
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 25.50
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Book Description

Feb. 1 2000
THE MOST COMPLETE WINE BOOK EVER. A must for anyone who loves wine, whether they are a pro or an amateur. Thorough, authoritative, and entertaining. (Robert Mondavi, founder and chairman emeritus of the Robert Mondavi Family of Wines)

"The most informative and entertaining book I've ever seen on the subject." (Danny Meyer, co-author of The Union Square Cafe Cookbook)

The essentials: The romance and intrigue of Burgundy of sauvignon blanc and the surprising elegance of Spain's top Riojas. Italy, one of wine's most enchanting and ancient homelands. What makes a great wine great? The reason behind Champagne's bubbles. The precise and food-friendly wines of Germany. California, wine's Camelot. The lip-smackingly good wines of Australia. The complexities of Port revealed. How a vineyard profoundly affects a wine's character.

Plus, matching wine with food - and mood. The secrets of professional wine tasters and how to expand your wine-tasting vocabulary. And everything else you need to know to buy, store, serve, and enjoy the world's most captivating beverage.

The shimmering elegance of Veuve Clicquot, affordable luxury in a glass, page 185.

Ravishing, elegant, and rich, Petrus in Ingrid Bergman in red satin, page 156.

Some wines are like people... they get better as they get older, pg. 64.

Sherry, the world's most misunderstood and underappreciated wine, page 437.

Frequently Bought Together

The Wine Bible + The Oxford Companion to Wine + The World Atlas of Wine
Price For All Three: CDN$ 100.63

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Though it drinks deep of its subject, Karen MacNeil's Wine Bible deftly avoids two traps many wine books fall into: talking down to wine novices or talking up to more experienced enophiles. The book avoids these traps through MacNeil's obvious, and infectious, love of her subject, which comes out in almost every sentence of the book, and which lets her talk about wine in a way that combines the good teacher, the trusted friend, and the expert sommelier. As director of the wine program at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley, California, MacNeil is one of the world's true experts on wine. After reading a chapter on the Burgenland, for example, you've learned about the region's sweet wines while feeling like you're actually there, toasting a glass of Cuvee Suss with the author. It is this passion that leads to describing an Italian riservas as "mesmerizing" and a Cabernet Sauvignon as having "texture like cashmere."

The Wine Bible is broken into countries, hitting all of the major wine producers and most of the minor ones. Each section gives detailed descriptions of the country's wines (with chapters on individual regions when necessary), highlighting specific wine producers and individual wines, as well as talking about local foods, customs, and other tidbits that add to the reading experience. MacNeil begins her journey through the world's wine with an invaluable section on "Mastering Wine," which lets a reader get ready before uncorking separate sections. --A.J. Rathbun


"A dazzling, comprehensive, modern guide to wine, free of elitism and pedantry. This thoroughly successful work sets a new standard and makes wine more accessible and user-friendly than it has ever been before."
—Anthony Dias Blue, wine and spirits editor, Bon Appétit

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Your second wine book June 28 2003
The spine on my worn copy of the Wine Bible is cracked and its pages are dog-eared, even though I think the book has several notable shortcomings. As I write this, I find myself in the unusual position of criticizing the thick volume even though I turn to it for information on a regular basis.
My biggest complaint is that I feel the book doesn't really know what it wants to be. On the one hand, it is a comprehensive reference book that in many areas goes into more depth than other general wine books. But it falls short as a reference book because it lacks the scope of books like The World Atlas of Wine or The Global Encyclopedia of Wine, which cover more up-and-coming wine producing countries, more specific producers and, especially in the case of The World Atlas of Wine, are enhanced by beautiful photographs and maps. Though the Wine Bible is substantial (it weighs in at a hefty 910 pages) its design is more compact than the other books I mentioned, and so might make a better travel companion for someone visiting multiple wine producing regions in a single trip. But the lack of good maps makes a supplemental book necessary.
Additionally, the book can feel like a disjointed collection of articles that ought to have been better integrated before publication. Often, the same information (referring to multiple or confusing names for grape varieties or regions, or quality standards in specific countries) is referred to parenthetically several times, often in quick succession -- something unnecessary, especially given the book's excellent glossary.
But despite these criticisms, I find myself referring to the book repeatedly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Ripe Pick! July 21 2003
The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil is the perfect introduction to wine for new wine drinkers or a springboard for those wanting to explore deeper into the fascinating world of wines! Ms. MacNeil takes you through the introductory levels of wine making, wine regions and wine procedures (ie temperature, pouring, glasses, storage, etc) in a friendly teacher tone, not a snobby looking down your glass tone so often found in wine books. Her writing style is light, relaxing and friendly throughout the whole book. Each chapter is sprinkled with excellent little tidbits on everything from information on the former owner of a vineyard to what may cause your wine to take on a offensive smell! After the introductory sections, Karen takes you into each of the world's major wine producing regions giving you the skinny on their history, their terrior, their wines and some of the better producers (in the recommendation section). I am stationed in Germany and have tried four of her German wine picks, all of them were perfect! Expand your knowledge of the worlds favorite drink, raise a glass and say "Cheers!" (or Slainte`) to Karen MacNeil's Wine Bible!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Title Is Correct -- The Bible of Wine Dec 16 2002
I think "The Wine Bible" (TWB) should be the third book purchase for wine beginners (after "Wine for Dummies" and "Windows on the World Complete Wine Course"). TWB is full of good information. Of course, the first section is a must-read. Then, the sections are split into separate geographical areas and are very good and very detailed, while still being easy to read (the author's "education" background is readily apparent and helpful to the reader). I especially liked the depth of information that is presented in a friendly manner. For example, I wanted more in-depth information on Valpolicella. Most books given only a paragraph to it, if they give anything at all. Over several sections, this book probably had close to three pages (a lot of text on each page) which is about ten times the information of the competition. And no, this book is not lopsided in favor of information on Italy. That is just one example of why this book gets five stars. There are many other cases of information that other books do not contain or they gloss over. This book has a lot to offer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Daunting Task Dec 17 2001
Kudos to Karen MacNeil for completing a daunting educational task. Although this project was vast, Karen's amazing subject mastery and economic use of poetic language both informs and delights her reader. The Wine Bible is a perfect bedside book for both the serious and not-so-serious wine connoisseur because one can pick it up and start reading and learning from any page.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The book to start with Feb. 17 2003
So I'm a beer snob, and learning to be a (cheap) wine snob. This book was given me as a gift by my parents, and it is cool.
It won't tell you everything there is to know about wine; that only comes with further reading and lots of tasting. But it's a spectacular foundation to learning the history and traditions involved, and it does a remarkable job of covering its subject without prejudices. The history of recent (i.e. last couple of hundred years) of wine development is the focus -- if you're looking for information on ancient wines you won't find much of it here, but if you want to know how Chile or Australia became the wine-growing powerhouses they are today, this book will tell you everything you might wish to know.
I've no real complaints with the book. There are big holes in its coverage, but wine is a truly gigantic subject and MacNeil has done a great job covering as much ground as she can -- there's great information on most of the major wine-growing countries, starting with France and Italy and going from there. There's even a narrative of sorts, with heroes like Robert Mondavi and the Gallo Brothers who rebuilt the California wine industry with book knowledge when the traditions had been wiped out by Prohibition, and villains like the phylloxera aphid that nearly destroyed the wine industry worldwide before American botanists saved the day by grafting European vines onto American rootstocks. Ancient traditions in France, Germany, and Italy are placed alongside modern innovation in California, Australia, and South America, showing that either way is an effective method for creating a great wine. Champagne is mentioned alongside the humble Spanish cava and party-loving German sekt.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book. Arrived a week early.
Great condition.
Published 3 months ago by Jennifer
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Does not include much on Canadian wines or its wine regions. Very disappointing no real mention of the Niagara wines. How can this be a wine bible when so much was left out??
Published 5 months ago by Robert K. Bonnell
3.0 out of 5 stars Great book In Painful need of an Update
Karen MacNeil's wine bible could very well have once been the most useful and comprehensive wine tome available. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Jordan Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars Wine Bible
Saw this book at Bern's Steak House in Tampa. They have the largest private wine stock in the world, 99,000 bottles in their cellar. Read more
Published on June 9 2012 by Susan
5.0 out of 5 stars Amusing & informative
This book really got me hooked to learn more about wine. Despite that fact that I am a wine enthusiast usually encyclopedia-type of books are not fun to read. Read more
Published on Jan. 3 2012 by HM
5.0 out of 5 stars Tastefully written-eminently sippable
It was certainly a surprise when my wife presented me with my copy of Karen MacNeil's The Wine Bible. Read more
Published on March 13 2004 by George J. Morrison
5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly the book I was wanting to find
I'm not going to go much in depth about the specifics of this book since I feel other reviewers have already done that. Read more
Published on Dec 18 2003 by Ignacio Feito Garcia
5.0 out of 5 stars The Wine Bible by MacNeil
This book is an excellent reference for admirers of fine wine.
The author sets forth a series of distinguishing characteristics
which set apart great wine from the... Read more
Published on Sept. 18 2003 by Dr. Joseph S. Maresca
4.0 out of 5 stars Overwhelmingly Comprehensive
This is a great book for all things wine related. In fact, when I first saw the book, I was somewhat overwhelmed by the comprehesiveness. Read more
Published on April 15 2003 by Adam S
5.0 out of 5 stars If you only have one wine reference book...
...then this should be that book. Easy to read, well-written, colorful and full of informative sidebars, this book is one of the best entry-level wine texts available. Read more
Published on March 10 2003 by Michael Casey
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