08 April 2017

Weekend Cooking: Wine Isn't Rocket Science by Ophelie Neiman

Review of Ophelie Neiman's Wine Isn't Rocket ScienceI love learning about wine, but finding just the right wine book can be daunting. Many books are too dense with much more scholarly information than I'm ready for. Others assume you have tons of money to buy wines, travel the world, and create a cellar.

Here's where Ophelie Neiman's Wine Isn't Rocket Science saves the day. This is a no-nonsense guide for all kinds of wine lovers, from the rank novice to the curious to know more. Want to throw a party? Not sure what kind of glass to use? Wondering about Italian wines? Neiman has you covered.

Best of all, the information is easily absorbed, thanks to Yannis Varoutsikos's colorful and useful graphics (see the scans; click to enlarge). I'm thankful there are few pages dense with prose; the paragraphs are surrounded with fun illustrations, making the guide a joy to read.

Review of Ophelie Neiman's Wine Isn't Rocket ScienceWine Isn't Rocket Science jumps right into the good stuff. No long introduction about the culture of wine drinking and wine lovers. Neiman treats you as if you were her good friend--no snobbery, no over explaining, just good advice right from the get-go. The first chapter, in fact, is all about how to host a party, from picking the glasses and corkscrew to figuring which wines will suit your gathering best.

Other chapters cover tasting, mastering wine vocabulary, learning how wine is grown, and figuring out what is meant by terroir. For the more experienced, Neiman also reveals the secrets of aging wines and building a wine collection. I particularly like the grape descriptions, the tips on how to taste wine, and clues for reading a wine list and wine label.

Review of Ophelie Neiman's Wine Isn't Rocket ScienceOne cool idea is found in the food pairing chapter. Neiman provides the expected "what wine to drink with this food" information, but then she turns the tables around to suggest "what food to serve with this wine." So if you have a bottle of Pinot Noir, you can see a list of good pairings (try vegetarian soup, cured meats, and fresh tuna); or if you're planning to serve crab, you'll discover that a bright or aromatic white is a safe choice.

Chances are you won't want to sit down and read Wine Isn't Rocket Science all in one afternoon, cover to cover. Instead, it's a book to dip into. Flip through to find the answer to a specific question, such as how to store your opened bottles. Read about a specific wine region, say Portugal, and then spend a few weeks tasting Tempranillos, Arintos, and Vinhaos. After making a reservation for a special celebration, check out the information for ordering wine in restaurants, so you won't be stumped at the table. You'll use Neiman's guide in different ways as your curiosity about and experience with wine increase.

Review of Ophelie Neiman's Wine Isn't Rocket ScienceIf you're looking for an accessible, easy-to-use book for learning more about wine, I suggest picking up Ophelie Neiman's Wine Isn't Rocket Science. The guide is approachable on so many levels, wine newbies, sophisticated sippers, and average wine lovers (that's me!) will find plenty to discover.

Note on the scans: The scans are used here in the context of a review, and all rights remain with the original copyright holders, including illustrator Yannis Varoutsikos. Note too that the quality of the finished book pages is much better than the quality of my scans.

Published by Black Dog & Leventhal (Hachette Book Group), 2017
ISBN-13: 9780316431309
Source: review (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)

Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page.


Brona 4/8/17, 6:23 AM  

Your post & mine go together beautiful this week - a pairing made in heaven!

rhapsodyinbooks 4/8/17, 6:35 AM  

I definitely go along with the idea of "what food to serve with this wine." LOL

Mae Travels 4/8/17, 7:06 AM  

Your book pick is really good: that's just the kind of wine knowledge that a real person needs. No phony slurping and sniffing!

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

The Candid Cover 4/8/17, 7:22 AM  

I often buy books like this as a gift for people on my Christmas list that are hard to buy for. This one sounds like it is perfect, as it seems a little bit more like a guide for everyday people. I am adding this one to my list of books to check out. Thank you so much for sharing this one. :)

nishitak 4/8/17, 7:22 AM  

I like the idea of a down to earth wine book. Most books I've looked at have been so pretentious/intimidating.

Molly 4/8/17, 7:54 AM  

I LOVE this! While my sense of taste is not so refined (I don't necessarily catch the subtle notes) but I do enjoy wine and pairing it with food is a favorite past time :)

Tina 4/8/17, 8:08 AM  

What a cool book. I like reading about wine. If I'm not mistaken there is a good video from a while back hosted by John Cleese. its informative but simply explained. My latest love affair has been with Dreaming Tree wines.

Melynda@Scratch Made Food! 4/8/17, 8:18 AM  

I would enjoy this book, as you said most wine books are so filled with information they leave the reader fatigued. Wine is simple, you like it or you don't!
PS with a broken stove and a broken stomach, I tried your slow cooker granola hack, it is great, thank you!

jama 4/8/17, 9:00 AM  

Great to hear about an accessible guide that's not intimidating! Will look for this one at the library.

Unknown 4/8/17, 9:28 AM  

I can think of a few people who would enjoy this book. Thank you for bringing it to my attention! Cheers!

bermudaonion 4/8/17, 9:33 AM  

That looks fabulous! The graphics would really help a novice like me!

Jackie McGuinness 4/8/17, 10:28 AM  

I'd rather drink it than read about it!! LOL
John is more the connoisseur who twirls and smells and looks at the legs/tears, checks the flavours etc.

Deb in Hawaii 4/8/17, 11:56 AM  

Great review! I love learning about wine especially those little tips and clues that help me understand what to order, the best food pairings, etc. This book sounds like a good practical resource as well as being interesting and entertaining.

Claudia 4/8/17, 12:03 PM  

I'm going to look for this one, it sounds like a good reference on the subject. Sadly, most of the time when I look for a particular wine it's not available here. Oh well, try, try again.

Vicki 4/8/17, 2:21 PM  

I don't drink but I know a few people who would love this book.

Amanda 4/8/17, 9:42 PM  

I could have really used this one back when I first started drinking wine three years ago. I had no idea what I was doing and mostly just fumbled around in my local wine shop until I figured things out. I had an app that helped a little - Pocket Wine - but that mostly talked about various grape varieties. Mostly it helped to start keeping a wine journal (which I still do) and just keep learning. I'd like to see what this one has to say, even though I know a lot more now. I'm going to see if my library has a copy.

Jane @ www.raincitylibrarian.ca 4/9/17, 3:39 PM  

I'm a wine newbie, and often find the world of wine so intimidating, so this sounds like just my kind of book, so accessible and not snooty!

(Diane) bookchickdi 4/9/17, 5:01 PM  

I'm going to have to find this for my husband.

Heidenkind 4/10/17, 1:16 AM  

I really enjoyed Hello, Wine by Melanie Wagner. It also had lots of graphics and suggested wine pairings - by food and wine - and fun ideas for wine tastings

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