Oldman's Guide to Outsmarting Wine: 108 Ingenious Shortcuts to Navigate the World of Wine with Confidence and Style

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9780142004920: Oldman's Guide to Outsmarting Wine: 108 Ingenious Shortcuts to Navigate the World of Wine with Confidence and Style

For the thousands of people who know nothing about wine and want to rectify that swiftly and painlessly, Mark Oldman?the ?Naked Chef? of wine?is here to help with the kind of information readers can use right now:
? Australian Shiraz is the most instantly likable red under $15
? Drink slightly sweet wine with spicy food
? Judge a wine shop by whether it has homemade shelf signs
? Don?t store unopened wine in the refrigerator for more than a week

Loaded with his personal recommendations?including the top 100 wines less than $15?Oldman?s Guide also includes the wine picks of an eclectic mix of collectors, from Le Cirque owner Sirio Maccioni to Morley Safer of 60 Minutes. This is a wine guide like no other and is sure to be savored by anyone who wants their wine without the attitude.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

One of the country’s leading wine educators, Mark Oldman is author of the best-selling Oldman's Guide to Outsmarting Wine (Penguin Books), which was called "perfect" by Wine Enthusiast, "winespeak without the geek" by Bon Appètit, and "shortcuts to a connoisseurs confidence" by BusinessWeek. Winner of the Duboeuf “Best Wine Book of the Year” Award. Oldman’s Guide was also recently published in Japan and in four volumes in France.

Mark writes about wine for several leading lifestyle publications, and contributes a wine column and chooses the wine picks for the hit magazine Everyday with Rachael Ray. He is also the lead judge in the new PBS television series The Winemakers.

For over seventeen years, Mark has taught his lively Outsmarting Wine™ courses and seminars to thousands of wine enthusiasts across the country. He lectures at some of the country’s top gastronomic festivals, including the Aspen Food & Wine Classic and the Boston Wine Expo.

Mark began his wine journey in 1990 when as a student he founded Stanford Wine Circle, a popular university club hosting tastings with California wine legends, earning him the nickname "Bacchus on the Campus" in Wine Spectator magazine.

Mark’s pro-consumer approach and commitment to education have animated all of his professional endeavors. He is one of the three founding partners of Vault.com, the leading media company for career information. He is also a licensed attorney and co-author of several best-selling career-focused books.

Mark graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A and M.A. from Stanford University and a J.D. from Stanford Law School. He is a Trustee Emeritus of Stanford University, having served on its Board of Trustees for five years.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Praise for Oldman’s Guide to Outsmarting Wine

“The perfect primer—concise, evenhanded, fun, and practical.”

The New Yorker

“Fresh, funny guide . . . glib and unpretentious, Oldman decodes wine-tasting lingo and shows how to spot a bargain bottle.”

People

“THE benchmark book for a wine introduction.”

—GoodGrape.com

“Highly approachable . . . [an] inviting and informative book sure to please both novice and experienced wine connoisseurs.”

Library Journal

“Transforms the wine experience.”

Kirkus Reviews

“If you’re a budding wine enthusiast with a distaste for encyclopedic volumes, this is the book for you.”

La Cucina Italiana

“Simplifies . . . with fun and celebrity.”

San Francisco Chronicle

“We love [Oldman’s Guide]; Mark demystifies the world of wine.”

Family Circle, Editors’ Choice Selection

“Winespeak without the geek . . . will make you fluent in wine without sounding like a blowhard.”

Bon Appétit

“The perfect book.”

Wine Enthusiast

“If only we’d had just one wine book: Oldman’s Guide to Outsmarting Wine.

—Jesse Kornbluth, The Huffington Post

PENGUIN BOOKS

Oldman’s Guide to Outsmarting Wine

Passionate about helping wine enthusiasts jostle the jaded and slay the snooty, Mark Oldman is one of the country’s leading wine personalities. His signature style was summed up as “winespeak without the geek” by Bon Appétit and “the ideal mix of wine connoisseur, showman, and everyday dude” by Publishers Weekly.

The bestselling Oldman’s Guide to Outsmarting Wine, was called “perfect” (Wine Enthusiast), “shortcuts to a connoisseur’s confidence” (BusinessWeek), and “the perfect primer—concise, evenhanded, fun, and practical” (The New Yorker). Currently in its ninth printing, it won the Georges Duboeuf Best Wine Book of the Year Award, was a finalist for “Best Wine Book” at the World Food Media Awards, and is published in Japan, Belgium, and in four volumes in France.

Mark has also written the bestselling Oldman’s Brave New World of Wine, which was called “the perfect book for someone who’s just caught the bug, or would like to” (The Wall Street Journal), one of the “Best of Books of the Year” (iTunes), “amazing, hilarious” (Marie Clare), “charismatic and cool” (Publishers Weekly), and “a book you will cherish” (The Huffington Post).

Mark is a lead judge in the PBS television series The Winemakers and has just completed filming the show’s next season in France’s Rhone Valley. He has written for several top publications, including Food & Wine, Departures, and Travel & Leisure, and he has chosen all of the wine picks for the 15 million annual readers of Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine. A renowned speaker, he lectures at the country’s top gastronomic festivals, including the Aspen Food & Wine Classic, the Boston Wine Expo, and the South Beach Food Network Wine & Food Festival.

Graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University with a B.A., M.A., and J.D., Mark has long been keenly interested in innovating in the areas of education and consumer advocacy. Mark cofounded the career portal Vault.com in 1997 and served as the company’s president through its successful sale in 2007 to a private equity firm. He has served on four major boards of Stanford, including the university’s Board of Trustees

Visit Mark online at www.MarkOldman.com, www.facebook.com/wetakem, or twitter.com/markoldman.

“I drink to th’ general joy o’ th’ whole table.”

—Shakespeare, Macbeth

Introduction

I know nothing about wine” is the classic sheepishly exasperated refrain uttered in wine shops and restaurants, at dinner parties, and anywhere else corks are popped. Whether you’re a habitué of Michelin three-stars or a connoisseur of Subway sandwiches, chances are you’ve experienced a Maalox moment when faced with making a decision about wine. It’s one of those universal knowledge deficiencies—like remembering friends’ birthdays or knowing the right dance moves—that haunt people throughout their lives.

The wine and restaurant industries are partially to blame. How do you experiment with new types of wine when restaurants mark them up at least three times over retail price? Even if you can afford to broaden your wine horizons in a restaurant, there’s not always someone there to guide you. Although some restaurants employ wine-savvy servers, many of them have no background in wine or just aren’t that approachable if they do. The situation can be just as difficult in wine shops. For every customer-focused wine store, there are others run by imperious or indifferent owners who care more about moving stock than educating their clientele. Even if you ignore the shopkeeper, it’s difficult to decipher the multiplicity of wine label types, with some wines identified by grape variety, others by region of origin, and still others by brand name.

Compounding the problem is wine’s Grey Poupon aura, which makes it needlessly difficult to master. Do restaurants employ scotch stewards? Do we decant tequila? Do beer guzzlers feel compelled to memorize vintage charts? And it’s not just what you do with wine; it’s what you say. Can a wine really be “diffident” and “flintaceous” or smell like “gooseberries” and “tomato leaves”? Snobs would have you believe you need a Ph.D. in linguistics to truly enjoy wine.

Oldman’s Guide to Outsmarting Wine cuts through this needless confusion like a samurai sword. The idea for it came from my students, who, over the twenty years I’ve taught wine courses, have urged me to “put this stuff in a book.” The book mirrors my teaching style, which is always focused on providing an approachable answer key of quick, easy-to-implement nuggets of wine wisdom. Having attended countless wine tastings, devoured virtually every wine book on the shelves, and talked with innumerable wine pros, I derive enormous pleasure from serving as a human filter for budding wine enthusiasts by distilling wine information down to its essentials. And because wine is not my primary business, I bring an independent perspective to the task. I am beholden to no winery, distributor, wine shop, publication, or restaurant.

There is no shortage of wine books on the market, and I recommend some of the excellent ones in the last chapter. But even the good ones require several readings to glean basic principles. Oldman’s Guide to Outsmarting Wine gets to the heart of the matter with unambiguous answers to practical wine questions. It is not a coffee table book, a reference book, or an in-depth study of a particular wine region. If you want to learn the chemistry behind malolactic fermentation or the history of the Côte d’Or, please look elsewhere.

But if you “know nothing about wine” and want to rectify that swiftly and painlessly, this book will help. I have covered the subjects most useful to my students and me and have done so with the kind of brevity that makes these principles easy to remember. This book contains 108 streamlined shortcuts, each followed up by a few explanatory paragraphs. They are carefully designed to impart just enough wine knowledge to conquer dinner parties, business dinners, gift selection, wine handling and storage, and visits to the wine shop and wine country.

Even better, this book will vastly increase the number of bullets in your vinous holster. Because most people are hopelessly resigned to falling back on the same old bottles in stores and restaurants, I’ve designed every section of this book with an eye toward expanding your wine options. You’ll learn the basic grape and regional styles as well as a slew of secret alternatives, with many sections loaded with Mark’s Picks wine recommendations. To make your wine decisions even easier, my Faithful Fifty lists supply you with dozens of time-tested bottles that will deliver big pleasure at small cost. Finally, to broaden your perspective even more, I’ve included On My Table profiles—the personal wine picks and insights of several of the world’s most accomplished wine enthusiasts, from Francis Ford Coppola to Rémi Krug.

Consider me your wine sherpa, helping you navigate the perilous but rewarding elevations of vinous knowledge. If my goal is achieved, this book will allow you to do more than just enjoy wine. You will become so confident that you’ll feel as though you’ve gotten the better of it. You will outsmart wine.

Key

CHEAT SHEET To help you remember the driving principle of each entry, the Cheat Sheet sums things up in a pithy sentence or two.

LABEL DECODER Even experts lose sight of whether a wine’s name refers to its grape or its place of origin; the Label Decoder will supply the answer.

OUTSMART THE TABLE Designed to entertain and enlighten, Outsmart the Table provides a bit of supplementary color to each entry and gives you something scintillating to say around a table of guests.

TALK THE TALK A key reason wine intimidates us is that we can’t pronounce all of those tricky european names. Talk the Talk supplies the pronunciations for hundreds of major wine words and producer names.

MARK’S PICKS Each Mark’s Picks sidebar offers a list of recommended producers for a particular wine type, based on years of gauging the preferences of my students, my wine friends, and myself. It is designed to be not a complete list of quality producers but a gateway to your exploration of a particular wine category. I have tried to emphasize options that are affordable and widely available—but be advised that even these bottles are sometimes difficult to find given America’s byzantine distribution laws. In addition, the On My Table profiles interspersed throughout the book provide hundreds of other interesting picks.

FIT FOR FEASTING While the guiding principle of food-and-wine pairing should be always to follow your own taste, it’s helpful to know about the foods that tend to flatter certain wines. Fit for feasting provides a sampling of these recommendations, with emphasis on general categories, but also specific dishes, especially ones that have traditional (e.g., red burgundy and roast chicken) or regional (e.g., Gewürztraminer and Muenster cheese) significance. By no means should you feel constrained by these or anyone else’s food recommendations—let your palate ultimately be the judge.

ON MY TABLE SURVEY I’ve found the best way to expand your wine horizons is first to hear about what other people drink. So I set out to discover what some of the world’s most interesting and accomplished wine lovers drink in their leisure time. The result: the On My Table survey, the personal wine preferences of oenophiles around the world. Interspersed throughout the book, these profiles are designed to inspire the development of your own wine passions. They constitute a veritable Noah’s Ark of prominent wine enthusiasts: winemakers, winery owners, star chefs and restaurateurs, award-winning sommeliers, leading importers, academics, auction house legends, merchants, wine educators, and celebrity collectors. I wanted you not only to become familiar with the names and preferences of these wine heroes but also to catch their excitement about wine’s ability to, in the words of Herman Melville, “open the heart . . . and thaw it right out.”

Each On My Table profile supplies a respondent’s favorite wine type, followed by a sampling of specific producers. Consult the Appendix for a full list of On My Table participants, as well as the fascinating trends that emerged from this survey.

1 The Faithful Fifteen: Fifteen Top Producers for Value

When it comes to dispensing wine advice, I don’t hide the ball. So let’s start things off by answering the question that everyone asks: where are the best values?

Although I cover buying strategies in depth later on, including my Faithful Fifty lists of the world’s best wine deals, I couldn’t wait to give you my Faithful Fifteen producers. These are the wineries offering wine that is consistently delicious, widely available, and affordably priced (often below $15 a bottle). They have served my friends, my students, and me so well over the years that they deserve to be recognized, if not memorized.

Here are the Faithful Fifteen producers, followed by some of the wines that make them such an impressive source for value.

Brancott (New Zealand)

(Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir)

Castle Rock (California & elsewhere)

(Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Petite Sirah)

Chateau Ste. Michelle (Washington State)

(Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Merlot, Syrah, Ice Wine)

Columbia Crest (Washington State)

(Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, Ice Wine)

Concha y Toro (Chile)

(Casillero del Diablo wines, including the Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Carmenère)

d’Arenberg (Australia)

(Riesling, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier-Marsanne)

Georges Duboeuf (France)

(all types of Beaujolais)

Gruet (New Mexico)

(Sparkling wine)

Hogue (Washington State)

(Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gewürztraminer, Syrah)

OUTSMART THE TABLE

In your home, designate a “house” white, red, and bubbly—and call them that.

Lindemans (Australia)

(Chardonnay Bin 65, Cabernet Sauvignon Bin 45, Shiraz)

Paul Jaboulet Aîné (France)

(Côtes du Rhône Parallèle 45, Crozes-Hermitage)

Segura Viudas (Spain)

(Cava)

Veramonte (Chile)

(Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon)

On My Table | MARIO BATALI is one of the most influential chefs of our time and the owner of several cutting-edge restaurants, New York’s Babbo being the most famous.

Prosecco

Mionetto

Red Burgundy—Chambolle-Musigny

Georges Roumier and Ghislaine Barthod—“I love the soft and feminine Burgundies because they go so well with the braised winter food I cook.”

Southern Rhône—Châteauneuf-du-Pape (red and white)

Henri Bonneau, Les Cailloux

White Burgundy—Chablis

François Raveneau, Moreau, Laroche

Tocai [lively, full-bodied white from the Friuli region of northeastern Italy; not to be confused with Tokay–Pinot Gris from Alsace or Tokaji Aszú from Hungary]

Schiopetto, Bastianich, Marco Felluga

Primitivo

A-Mano, Sinfarossa, Felline

Brunello

Cerbaiona, Col d’Orcia, Barbi—“Special wine for special occasions.”

We begin our journey with a few simple principles that will forever improve how you judge a glass of wine. As you read on, you’ll realize that the dirty little secret of wine appreciation is that there’s just not that much to it. Swirl your wine, breathe deeply, take a taste, and think about what comes to mind. Does it smell like fruit or flowers or spices? Fermented grape juice can evoke everything from apricots to violets—but you have to train your nose to make these associations. Does the wine smell a bit sweet like vanilla? Th...

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Book Description Penguin Books, United States, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. For the thousands of people who know nothing about wine and want to rectify that swiftly and painlessly, Mark Oldman?the ?Naked Chef? of wine?is here to help with the kind of information readers can use right now: ? Australian Shiraz is the most instantly likable red under $15 ? Drink slightly sweet wine with spicy food ? Judge a wine shop by whether it has homemade shelf signs ? Don t store unopened wine in the refrigerator for more than a week Loaded with his personal recommendations?including the top 100 wines less than $15?Oldman s Guide also includes the wine picks of an eclectic mix of collectors, from Le Cirque owner Sirio Maccioni to Morley Safer of 60 Minutes. This is a wine guide like no other and is sure to be savored by anyone who wants their wine without the attitude. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780142004920

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