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Thomas Curtius MW

The 7 Best Wine Tasting Books

What can you do on a rainy day like today? For example, tasting wines or reading books. The best way is to do both together. My MW students inspired me with their questions about wine books to look in my bookshelf for tasting literature.

The outcome is an outline of what I consider to be the seven best books on the subject of “Winetasting”. The sequence does not correspond to a ranking – the books are too different in focus and didactics.

  1. Excellently written and structured, I consider “The concise Guide to Wine & Blindtasting” by Neel Burton one of the most groundbreaking tasting books. In particular, his description of the styles of the internationally most important grape varieties and wine regions is highly beneficial for wine students. And the brilliantly written chapter “The Art and Science of Blind Tasting” is also worth buying the book.
  1. A classic in this field is Michael Schuster’s “Essential Winetasting – The Complete Practical Wine Tasting Course”. I attended his tasting courses in London several times during my studies. I got to know Michael not just as an enjoyable person, but as an incredible precise taster as well. He has put his immense knowledge into this book, which has become a standard work of tasting. Michael Schuster describes grape varieties, regions but also tasting techniques concisely and to the point.
  1. Rajat Parr and Jordan Mackay don’t provide much tasting advice in their book “The Sommelier’s Atlas of Taste – A field Guide to the Great Wines of Europe”. Instead, they give an excellent overview of the characteristics of classic European wine regions. It is more a personal tasting trip to the classic regions with many descriptions, winemaker portraits and also pictures. Nevertheless, the authors provide many helpful descriptions of what the different styles are based on and how to recognise them in blind tastings.
  1. Michael Broadbent’s “Wine Tasting” has always been a source of inspiration for me. Much of this book – I have the 1979 edition – may be long outdated. However, its tasting vocabulary is unequalled. For non-English native speakers like me, it has always been a goldmine in the search for the right wording.
  1. Nick Jackson MW, who graduated as Master of Wine with me last year, takes a different approach. His book “Beyond Flavour – the Indispensable Handbook to Blind Wine Tasting” focuses on the structural components of wine for the identification during a blind tasting. Even though the booklet has only 155 pages, it is an “eye-opener” for many readers.
  1. If you are not looking for taste profiles of regions and grape varieties but would like to deal with aroma and quality aspects in general, you should also take a look at the book “Taste like a Wine Critic” by Lisa Perrotta Brown MW. She also pays a lot of attention to the structural elements of wine in this volume.
  1. For those who are also interested in the chemical and physiological aspects of wine tasting, I recommend the book “Wine Tasting – A Professional Handbook” by Ronald S. Jackson. It describes very comprehensively but at the same time vividly the world of tasting from the perspective of a natural scientist. Cheers!!