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Windows on the World Complete Wine Course: 2008 Edition [Hardcover]

Kevin Zraly
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 1 2007 Kevin Zraly's Complete Wine Course
Windows on the World Complete Wine Course is simply the bestselling wine book in North America—it’s a classic. The 2007 edition alone has sold over 100,000 copies and reorders continue to pour in. Along with the expanded text that has made last year’s update so successful, the 2008 revision will include a special 16-page supplement on “How to Taste Wine,” taken directly from Kevin’s world-famous class. This new material will include more than 100 wines that Zraly selects for his students to taste, along with the tasting sheet they use for their evaluations. Organized by region, from simple to complex, his list begins with white wines from France, the U.S., and Germany; moves on to the red wines of Burgundy and the Rhône, Bordeaux, the U.S., Italy, Australia, Argentina, and Chile; and concludes with champagnes and ports. By following Kevin’s order, readers will experience the best wines and the wide diversity of taste, style, region, and country. It’s not only a comprehensive and bargain-priced hands-on wine education, but a superb catalog from which to start a wine cellar or find a bottle appropriate to any occasion. In addition, the label for each of the 101 wines is shown, along with commentary on how to read it, suggestions for alternative wines, and specific instructions on how to set up a tasting using Kevin’s techniques. This is the first time Kevin’s actual list has ever been offered in book form and it alone is worth the cover price of Windows on the World Complete Wine Course.
Of course, as always, this unequaled volume retains all the invaluable information, fabulous illustrations, and gorgeous styling of the previous editions—all presented in Zraly’s inimitable, irreverent style. This is the wine guide against which all others are judged.

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“The great Zraly wit and his legendary front-of-the-classroom presence are integral parts of this fresh approach.” —Wine Spectator
“A visually exciting, intelligently structured reference.”  —Anthony Dias Blue, Bon Appétit
“Brims with enthusiasm…breezy, down-to-earth…Reads like an interesting conversation.” —Chicago Tribune
“The liveliest short course on wine ever wrapped between two covers.” —Boston Globe
“As entertaining as it is informative.” —Barbara Ensrud, New York Daily News
“Are you intimidated by wine stewards? Read Kevin Zraly’s new edition of Windows on the World Complete Wine Course and order with aplomb.” —Playboy

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This is an awesome book. I usually skip introductions, but in this case, I decided to read it, to establish author's credibility pretty much. By the time I was done, I learned at least a handful of things that were a shock to me! And I am far from a wine novice, trust me.
The book is written in simple terms, yet covers complex points. It has lots of tips on how to select, taste and store wine. Region by region guide is very helpful too. It explains what's on a label, cork and the bottle itself. Basiclaly, equips you for wine shopping for good. Definitely a 5 star and worth the money. Recommended by winery-explorer.
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Awesome service. This was my 2nd purchase and I will buy again from you next time!!

I love the book!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  55 reviews
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars perfect for any level of interest and knowledge Oct. 31 2007
By ng - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I absolutely love this book. Incredibly informative and broken out so that you don't find yourself overwhelmed by all the vast information available in the wine world. I knew a little bit about wine before this book, and my knowledge has increased dramatically after reading this book. This is a must have for anyone with an interest in wine.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best! Increase Your Enjoyment of Wines Nov. 22 2008
By Keith E. Webb - Published on Amazon.com
Windows on the World Complete Wine Course: 2009 Edition (Windows on the World Complete Wine Course) is the number one book to learn about wine. It's a complete, readable guide to wine regions, grape varietals, wine pairing, and much much more. You'll learn about all the major wine regions, their typical grape varietals, and distinguishing characteristics.

Throughout the book specific, easily available, and affordable wines are profiled by winery. Special sections take this further: wine tasting "courses" of flights of different wines to compare; 101 favorite wines; and wines to begin a wine cellar.

I've completed two levels of the excellent Wine and Spirit Education Trust's wine programs. I'm amazed that Kevin Zraly's Windows on the World is just as thorough and is basically the intermediate level - in a book. I refer back to it often, and give it as gifts to friends who want to increase their appreciation of wine.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Informing the casual wine drinker April 6 2008
By Elizabeth Richards - Published on Amazon.com
I bought this book in search of basic information about the wines of the world, the various grapes, regional distinctions and recommendations for all the categories. This book does not disappoint in that regard. I have no complaints at all about any of the information in the book--every bit of it was helpful. However, I would like to have seen more information about wines from the various regions of the U.S. (I live in North Carolina where we have quite a few vinyards, but my state wasn't even mentioned) other than the West and NY State. Also, after reading the book I realized I'd do well to make up some index cards listing categories and recommendations according to regions, so I could have something handy to go with me to the wine shop when I wanted to try something new. I think that a wonderful addition to this book would be some tear-out "cheat sheets" to carry in one's pocket or purse. However, for an at-home reference, this book is excellent.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Tool for the Beginner Dec 15 2007
By Mollie Craven - Published on Amazon.com
This book is an excellent resource as your are starting to dive into the world of wine. I was introduced to this book many years ago. It gives a very good over of most of the major regions (although it lacking New Zealand, which is mind boggling) Other than that small caveat, I think this is a must have in your wine library. I am in the wine industry, and teach a beginning wine class, and each of my students receive this as a textbook.
105 of 147 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ignorant, badly written, condescending, and incomplete June 6 2008
By Charles - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you don't know anything about wine then this book might seem to be a good introduction. However, if you have any prior knowledge then it is immediately obvious that the author is a self-absorbed pretender. The book fails on multiple levels:

Writing style
The book is poorly written and insults its readers. It's filled with little insinuations that the reader is a hopeless idiot, and after a few pages this repeated rhetorical device becomes insufferable. How often can you tolerate an author characterizing your thoughts and behavior as moronic just to set up the point that he is trying to make? Much of the text unreadable for this reason. In addition to talking down to his readers, the author generally writes like an eighth grader. He loves to put words in quotation marks for no apparent reason, typographical errors are common (even ones that would be caught by any computer spell checker), and he often trips over his own feet trying to write the simplest sentence. Finally, he talks about himself incessantly, like a bore at a dinner party.

Inadequate coverage
The book has gaping omissions at all levels. The author gives the impression that he is introducing the range of varietal grapes and growing regions of the world, but he misleads novice readers in this pretense. His coverage is limited, outside of a few uninformative and incomplete lists, to the larger regions and grape varieties. This is the kind of basic survey that one can gather from going to one or two wine stores and looking at the shelves: there's a lot of wine from California, France, Australia, Italy, and Spain. The author simply repeats the obvious in many parts of the book.

Inaccurate information
The one thing that a book like this should at least get right is the basics. And yet he fails here as well. In one part of the book the author honestly claims that letting a wine breath before drinking it is of dubious value--he actually goes so far as to question whether it has any effect. This is where he exposes himself as a poser. When a wine is exposed to air, the organic compounds in the wine begin to react with oxygen. This is simply a matter of measurable chemistry. For someone to claim to be an expert and yet to assert that letting the wine breath has no effect is preposterous. The effect can be analyzed and measured. And it can be easily tasted! For someone who claims to taste 3,000 wines per year (that is his statement), he is inexcusably ignorant about this most basic fact. The truth is that the vast majority of wines improve their complexity of flavor, bouquet, and smoothness if they are allowed to sit open (or decanted into another container) for 2-3 hours. A real expert on wine would encourage the reader to test this for herself: open a bottle and taste the wine at 30 minute intervals. It's easy to determine that in the vast majority of cases the chemistry of oxidation makes a real difference in enjoyment. Instead, this pompous author proclaims that there is no benefit to a wine breathing, and encourages everyone to drink the wine directly after opening the bottle. He's an idiot.

He also claims that you should never use soap to clean your wine glasses. His explanation is that soap residue can effect the taste of the wine. This might be true if you don't wash the glass thoroughly, but it's generally pointless advice. It sounds insightful, but it's just empty hogwash. Just rinse the glass well and dry it with a clean towel--problem solved. It takes a special type of fatuous blowhard to fabricate pearls of wisdom out of thin air, but he manages to do it!

Over emphasis on wineries
The final major failure of the book is to give the reader an utterly false sense of comfort and knowledge by listing wineries that the author feels have a good reputation. This is the most useless information for a novice seeking to learn about wine. The well known wineries very often fluctuate in the quality of wines that they produce, increase production to cash in on their reputation and thereby suffer a loss of quality, or become priced out of reach for most people (and become overpriced in general compared to wines of equal quality). The author's approach here simply encourages ignorant snobbery and perpetuates the problem of people simply wanting to be told what is good. You need to taste a variety of wines. You need to get a feel for what you like, not what some stuffy and arrogant faker tells you is good. This book is poison to someone who really wants to develop real knowledge about wine. It gives the illusion of being informative, but it simply feeds the reader comforting half truths and steers him off course.

Avoid this steaming pile of nonsense like the plague.
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