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Windows on the World Complete Wine Course, 2003 edition, reviewed by Dean Tudor (September 30, 2002)

Windows on the World Complete Wine Course, 2003 edition (Sterling Publishing, 2002, 208 pp., ISBN 1-4027-0090-3, $38.95) is by Kevin Zraly, long-time sommelier of that late, lamented restaurant atop the World Trade Center. It has been frequently revised since its first edition in 1985.

Over 15,000 students have taken Zraly's courses and workshops. This is the text that comes with the courses, and as such, it serves as a suitable book for almost any introductory wine course. It certainly does address the needs of students and beginners: the style-format is "question and answer," on what wine is, tasting wine (how to taste wine over sixty seconds), wine service at home and in restaurants, storage and cellaring. He avoids the markup controversies; however, one can compare a number of different sections and conclude that he favours 3 to 4 times the wholesale price.

The bulk of the arrangement is by "classes", with ones for white wine, red wines, champagne, fortified, and wines from outside France and the United States – still in the Q & A format, augmented by a continuous stream of sidebars and tidbits which extend the answers. Throughout, too, there are full-colour reproductions of wine labels. The book concludes with a glossary and a pronunciation key, as well as bibliographic notes for further reading.

What I do not like about this book: his recommendations for everyday, once a week, and once a month wines (all based on price) are a bit out of whack with reality. People do drink better wines at home.
What I do like about this book: all of the tidbits are mostly indexed, and all of the basics are covered.
QPR Rating: 90.

—Dean Tudor

 

 

 

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