The Wine Bible Paperback – Feb 1 2000
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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
"....sets a new standard and makes wine more accessible and user-friendly than it has ever been before." -- Anthony Dias Blue, Wine & Spirits Editor, Bon Appetit Magazine
"...the wine book bargain of the year....It's a remarkable price for such an encyclopedic book..." -- Wine Spectator
"...this is one reference that will have a long shelf life." -- Cooking Light
"...wonderful stream of wine stories, wine anecdotes and tips distributed liberally throughout the book." -- The New York Times
"If it's connoisseurship you aspire to, a great place to begin learning more is The Wine Bible..." -- REAL SIMPLE
"Karen MacNeil's The Wine Bible may be the most valuable of this year's offerings." -- USA Today
"The Wine Bible is original and lively" -- The Chicago Tribune
"The Wine Bible is the perfect gift for wine enthusiasts of any level." -- Metropolitan Home
"Thorough, authoritative, and entertaining, this is the most complete wine book ever....It's a reference to turn to often. " -- Robert Mondavi
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
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 on May 24 2014 by Robert K. Bonnell
Karen MacNeil's wine bible could very well have once been the most useful and comprehensive wine tome available. Read morePublished on July 10 2013 by Jordan Thomas
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 morePublished on June 9 2012 by Susan
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 morePublished on Jan. 3 2012 by HM
It was certainly a surprise when my wife presented me with my copy of Karen MacNeil's The Wine Bible. Read morePublished on March 13 2004 by George J. Morrison
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 morePublished on Dec 18 2003 by Ignacio Feito Garcia
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