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5 Best Wine Guides Comparison & Reviews

 

The Essential Guide to Finding the Best Wine Guide + Reviews

 

Here you’ll find out exactly what the best wine guides are, especially if you have close to no time on your hands to do the research for yourself. After carefully examining and tasting the quality and value offered by some of the critically recognized products in this line, our wine-aficionados team has come to the conclusion that the Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack Wine Folly: Magnum Edition is the one you should really go for if you want all secrets to be revealed. This amazing guide is packed with new information for new people and veterans alike, it’s easy to understand, and it will always be relevant since it is written by certified sommeliers. In the unfortunate event that this is no longer available when you get to it, you can always go for the Karen MacNeil The Wine Bible as another good option.

 

 

Comparison Table

 

The Good
The Bad
Verdict
Price

 

 

5 Best Wine Guide (Updated Reviews) in 2020

 

 

Are you tired of going out to the restaurant and feeling ashamed when your partner asks you to choose the wine? Us too, so this is why we spent countless hours and combed through dozens of books to bring you the best and brightest in terms of guides that will help you become a wine expert.

 

 

1. Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack Wine Folly: Magnum Edition

 

If you’re thinking about the wine enthusiasts in your family and you want to gift them a guide, then this is definitely one that you should remember as this version comes expanded and filled with new information that will definitely make you or them the person that is always being chosen when it comes to point out the wine to get in the restaurant.

This is a good choice for people who are just starting out in this business but also for seasoned veterans who want to learn something new or simply increase the number of books in their library. The inventive, easy-to-understand approach makes sure that pretty much anyone will be able to find something new in the guide.

You may also like the more than 100 grapes and wine colors that were arranged by style in such a way that it’s going to be easy to go back and find the one you loved the most.

 

Pros

The guide is exceptionally arranged to make it easy for customers who’ve already read it to go back and amaze their friend with the plethora of information that can be found in it.

The detailed maps of the top wine regions in the world, complete with up-and-coming areas like Greece and Hungary will be very helpful, especially if you’re just making your new vacation list and looking for a travel destination.

Another great thing about the book is that it manages to shatter through the many complexities of the wine business and share some of the more relevant information in terms that are easy to understand by pretty much everybody.

 

Cons

The thing one may not like about this guide, especially if that person is a beginner, is the somewhat-stiff style of writing and sometimes subjective information, especially when it comes to controversial subjects like decanting.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($22.74)

 

 

 

2. Karen MacNeil The Wine Bible

 

This is the type of wine coffee table book that manages to bring enough compelling and revised information that was praised by a lot of wine publications around the world. Wine brings an ineluctable connection between people and is, together with food, one of the few things that truly everyone can share together.

The book’s vision seems to be understanding the regions of the world when it comes to their history of wine, from sipping wine from a hairy goatskin bag in the ancient land of Greece to perilously stepping down into a German vineyard in a quest to not miss out any relevant information.

The product is phrased in a very fluid and flexible way and makes the reading experience a breeze so you’ll not even realize when you’ve finished it. Straddled with tips, jokes, and anecdotes, you’ll definitely come out of reading this richer in all kinds of cultural information.

 

Pros

Since this is the revised edition and comes out as informative and entertaining, a very good thing about it is that you’ll be hard-pressed to ask a question that you’ll not find the answer for here.

Another great thing about it is that it has added information on new regions compared to older versions so it allows you to travel from the shores of Japan to the beaches of Mexico.

The author gives voice to everything and paints all the pictures in an innovative and entertaining voice that will make you love the guide.

Ravishing, elegant, and richly-rewarding with words, we can’t see any way in which you can come out of reading it without having learned something new.

 

Cons

Even if the guide is exceptionally detailed and well-crafted, it seems to be a work that will offer more to the people who are already familiarized with the wine business in comparison to those who are just getting into it.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($11.14)

 

 

 

3. Kevin Zraly Windows on the World Complete Wine Course

 

Wines are difficult things to understand, especially if you’re just starting out and do not have a solid guide that you can fall back on and dig for some information. As a result, there is such a thing as the best wine for beginners because some of them are indeed easier to understand and taste.

This simply brings home and demystifies each and every aspect of choosing, tasting, and enjoying this wonderful liquid in such a way that wine becomes less intimidating and more rewarding, this ratio becoming more and more unbalanced as you keep reading through the book.

Ranging from the pure reds of Bordeaux to the innovative whites of Washington, you’ll be hard-pressed to find quality wines of the Western hemisphere that have not been mentioned here. Since it comes with things like amazing photographs, detailed maps, and best-value bottles for each region, this can be an amazing travel guide as well.

 

Pros

This is indeed a very detailed guide since you can read it and store it in your home library or stuff it in your backpack and go wandering around the world, knowing that you have the power of wine knowledge at your fingertips.

It also comes with detailed notes on food pairings so you’re really getting a 2 in 1 type of deal if you buy this as you’ll come across wonderful dishes that you can and should experience.

Wine entrepreneurs might also get a kick out of reading this guide since it brings more than enough info on cutting-edge trends as well as emerging regions of the world that such aficionados should definitely pay attention to.

 

Cons

You’d do well to remember that this work, for some strange reason, does not come with page numbers so you would be well-advised to find another way of marking the ones where you found information that might be useful later.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($10.99)

 

 

 

4. Hugh Johnson, Jancis Robinson: The World Atlas of Wine 8th Edition

 

Many people want to learn about wine these days since social norms have raised the drink to a very elevated level. As a result, tons of guides out there promise that reading them will make you a wizz and a connoisseur of this fine art. When it comes to this book by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson, the fact that this is the 8th edition should tell you everything you need to know.

In a world as evolving and as interchangeable as that of wine, few books stand to be heralded as “classic” but this indeed seems to have just that ability. Since the first version debuted in 1971 and made publishing history among the community of critics that recognized it as “essential”, both old and new readers will find themselves emerging in the 8th one.

Updated to reflect all changes that the global scene has witnessed over the past six years or so, it’s normal that the Atlas has grown in both size and information and was refreshed with lavishly superb cartography.

 

Pros

The rich history and level of acknowledgment brought by this book are enough to make it a book that should not miss from the collection of any true wine aficionado.

While wine works are a dime a dozen, few of them have the authoritative power of this one and this can be one of the main reasons why it should be so important for any person looking to learn the ins and outs of the business.

The superb maps are enriched with beautiful photography and a complete overhaul of the topics while still saving the great writing style that has made the volume so popular.

 

Cons

The style of writing does seem to have changed a little compared to the first edition that appeared over fifty years ago but this may be somewhat normal since the people’s ideas and awareness have changed as well.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($28.34)

 

 

 

5. Wine Simple: A Totally Approachable Guide from a World-Class Sommelier

 

While the title of this product may have you thinking about the most basic wine guide out there, the reality is its content is anything but basic. The author, Aldo Sohm, stands as one of the most respected and lauded sommeliers in the world so potential buyers can be sure that he is not going to launch himself into the cheap wine guides business right about now.

The book is an amazing mix of complex details and simple information, bringing together confidence-building infographics, pictures, illustrations, and a plethora of knowledge that really shows how this man has managed to work with the wine director of a three-Michelin-starred restaurant for over a dozen years.

The guide begins slowly with the fundamentals that should not be lacking in any person’s wine education and then gradually builds up to everyday tips and tricks of the trade, including ideas on how to set up a wine tasting at home. Who has not dreamed of doing that?

 

Pros

One of the best things about this product is that the writing is filled to the brim with effusive encouragement from the author when it comes to people who are just getting into this passion and lifestyle.

As opposed to simply stringing together bits of information and various regions and wines of the world, the book sparkles with easy-to-absorb tips and essential information like how to taste, when to save, when to splurge, etc.

The approach is intended to be user-friendly and inspires enthusiasm and confidence in a world that can often be perceived as daunting when you’re looking from the outside.

 

Cons

It is very hard to find something even slightly negative to say about this book so we’ll settle by mentioning that in regards to the basic information found at the beginning of the book, pretty much anyone would be able to find that online as well.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($20.99)

 

 

 

Our Comprehensive Buying Guide

 

Choosing a wine is exactly the same as choosing a book: millions of different options, tons of friend recommendations, and not a lot of space for errors in between. But what do you do if you want to choose a wine guide and wine books are also a dime a dozen? Lucky for you and everyone out there, this is where we come in pointing fingers in all the right directions.

The important thing to remember is that even if you rarely indulge yourself in the pleasantries of wine drinking and tasting, it’s not a bad idea to get acquainted with it since you never know when it’s going to come in handy. Basic knowledge in this area will allow you to stand your ground at a business dinner, especially if you don’t get it from a cheap wine guide.

While you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover (or so they say), it’s perfectly fine to judge a wine tasting book by the level and amount of information it brings to you. As a result, we figured we’d best serve you right now if we pointed out a few specifics that any guide in this area should have if it hopes to be successful and bring value.

How to Read Wine Labels

Learning to read the labels is an integral and essential part of any person’s wine education. While they may seem like code to eyes that are unaccustomed to them, all bottles share a few key elements that you can begin with. As a result, any good book should teach you to quickly assess any bottle of wine and how to check both the front and the back labels.

You should always begin your wine 101 education by learning to distinguish things like vintage, varietal, region or appellation, how much alcohol you find in a certain wine, and, of course, the name of the brand or the producer.

 

How to Narrow Down Your Selection

There are probably thousands of drinks books out there that could probably tell you the most basic types of wine but it takes a real, well-written guide in order to make you understand just how much variety we are talking about and how to progressively narrow down your options list until you are left with the perfect one.

Also, people may differ when it comes to their beliefs on what is the most important aspect of a wine bottle so a good guide should be able to shed enough light on all of them to allow you to make an educated decision. Therefore, look to buy a book that really makes a point of this.

How to Understand the Flavors

According to wine guides reviews, almost all of them talk about the importance of understanding flavors but talking and making the reader perceive the subtle differences and nuances is another thing entirely. More often than not, a wine tasting book will raise more questions than it answers if it is poorly written so it’s important you get one that seems thoroughly researched.

The wine buyer supreme, or oenophile as the word is in Latin (cool, right?), will know that wine drinkers always relate this experience to other tastes that they sampled in their lives. Therefore, you’d benefit from getting a product that is heralded by any wine guides review as being easy to understand and fairly simple to follow.

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

 

Q: How do I learn about wine?

Learning about wine, especially as a beginner, can be quite daunting since there’s a lot of information out there but not a lot of good one in terms of starting out and selecting what to learn first. If you can start with a decent and affordable wine guide then that’s definitely one way to go when it comes to quickly improving.

Another way to get things going is to realize that the first step you can take, even at this very moment, is changing the way you drink the precious liquid. You can practice the tasting process each and every time you pick up a glass, work to always strive to identify things like origin and vintage and seek out new wines to expand your knowledge base.

Remembering that will make each moment feel like an opportunity and is a surefire way to learn a lot of things you need to know at a rapid pace.

Q: Do I need to know about wine to read a guide?

So you’re worried that you need to have a pre-existent base of wine information in order to start reading a wine book? While this shows just how daunted and feared this area has become over the years, it is true that some of the works do have something of a skill curve requirement in order to get the best out of them.

However, you can find tons of guides that will kick-start your ongoing exploration of this amazing drink and do this starting from step one. Really, there’s no need to feel intimidated because learning to taste wine is no different than learning to appreciate other fine joys of life like music or art. The truth is that the more you invest yourself into them, the more you’ll always get back.

So the answer to this question is a resounding No. You do not need to know much about wines in order to read a guide. You do however need to bring an enthusiastic approach and a willingness to learn.

 

Q: Is it faster to learn about wine through a written guide?

Everybody has to start somewhere and while it has been proven that people learn much more through images rather than writing, a good, solid wine guide is definitely a great place to start in terms of getting your wine education off the ground.

However, this does not mean that you should only focus on this one method. Wine books are often filled with things like maps from around the world and special vintages you can taste so actually going out in the world, visiting and experiencing different types is a special experience and not the type that can be 100% accurately phrased into words.

You don’t always have to go that big though. Simply taking the time each and every time you try a wine to work and strive to understand its flavor, texture, and origins will make you a very good connoisseur in the long run.

 

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