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The Winemakers' Essential Phrasebook (January 13, 2005)

book review
by Dean Tudor

The Winemakers' Essential Phrasebook (Mitchell Beazley, 2004; distr. by McArthur, 344 pages, ISBN 1-84000-782-6, $55 stiff flexi-paper covers) is by James March leading a editorial team that includes James Halliday, Bruno Prats, and Ernst Loosen. It is an essential purchase for anyone in the wine business.

The phrasebook (actually it is questions and statements) is in six languages: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese, arranged in four categories. It is very good for vocabulary building. It follows the production of wine from the vineyard, through the winemaking process, to the final sensory evaluation. These phrases form intelligent questions to ask of the working professionals at the winery.

The first section covers "introductory" phrases about yourself, some leading questions, general expressions, about the property and the winery, about the vineyard, and about the wines (e.g., how many different styles of wine are made here? What yields do you aim for from this variety?).

Viticulture is up next, with phrases dealing with terroir, varietals, plantings, trellis design, pruning, canopy management, diseases, harvest, and organic/biodynamic principles.

The third section is on vinification: reception, sorting, crushing, pressing, refrigeration, chaptalisation, enzymes, racking, blending, oak treatment: 113 categories in all, right through to packaging.

The last is sensory evaluation: appearance, nose, palate, faults, descriptors.

Audience and level of use: any wine lover who travels, techies, winery employees, wine writers, reference libraries.

Some interesting or unusual phrases:

  • "I need a white background and a good light source to assess the wines visually."
  • "Your perfume/aftershave lotion is distracting from the tasting session."
  • "It is not really appropriate to compare such different styles."
  • "I find it difficult to assess a wine using a tastevin."
  • "The glasses need to be cleaned and dried."

What I don't like about this book: Sadly, there is no room for phonetics. Also, the text is on gray tinted paper, probably to discourage scanning/photocopying.

What I do like about this book: This is an extremely useful review about what goes on in the world of winemaking.

Quality/Price Ratio: 98

 

 

 

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