Taste of Wine: In praise of the ‘Wine Bible, 2nd Edition’

Taste of Wine: In praise of the ‘Wine Bible, 2nd Edition’
Karen MacNeil is the only American wine author to have won every wine award given in the wine world. She has just published her “Wine Bible, 2nd Edition.” Photo courtesy Workman Publishing

The first “Wine Bible,” authored by Karen MacNeil, a former New York Times writer, was published in 2001, with 909 pages of literally everything the reader would want to know about wine.

I got my hands on it as a gift when I first committed to TASTE OF WINE, writing on wine for the San Diego Union-Tribune in 2005.

It has remained a treasured reference, from how wine is made to the most magnificent wines in all corners of the world, from Australia to Austria, and on to the great California wine countries.

My first edition is full of post-its with topics like bottle aging, the White Zinfandel fad of the ‘70s, aerating of wine and many more subjects that I could not have written without the book’s research.

Over 100 pages were devoted to Italy, and 72 to California wine, that makes over 90 percent of the wines in the U.S.

I have met Karen MacNeil on two occasions.  Her grasp of all countries and their special grape varietals has enabled her to speak on behalf of these wine areas.

The 2nd edition has been long awaited.  A lot has happened in the wine world since the original edition went to print in 2001.  Now, 14 years later, and a half a million copies sold, a completely revised book is now available with more pages, from 909 to 996.

The 2nd Edition of the “Wine Bible, 2nd Edition” is for sale in most bookstores and the Internet for $24.95, a timely Christmas gift for wine lovers. Photo courtesy Workman Publishing

The 2nd Edition of the “Wine Bible, 2nd Edition” is for sale in most bookstores and the Internet for $24.95, a timely Christmas gift for wine lovers. Photo courtesy Workman Publishing

The latest edition has been four years in the making with every chapter studiously examined and re-made.

When you explore the book, the best way to master it is to carefully read the introduction, including “Why Wine Matters,” and “How to use the Book.” The wine culture is not a simple matter.

There are now over 10,400 bonded wineries in America, producing retail sales of $37.6 billion, according to the latest reports from 2014.

MacNeil accurately takes the reader through the countries of the world and their singular elements of greatness and makes a case for a limited number of wines that have had outstanding vintages.

Perhaps the most insight into MacNeil’s eloquent expressions about wine is the chapter on “What makes Great Wine Great.”  She journeys through attributes of greatness such as Distinctiveness, Balance, Complexity and an element I had not thought about, Choreography.

Cost is a suggested retail price of $24.95 at most bookstores and Amazon.com.  You can order a personalized signed copy by going to karenmacneil.com.

Wine Bytes

The Solana Beach Starbucks is the first in North County to sell beer and wine for coffeehouse consumption from 4 to 10 p.m.  It’s also offering an expanded menu of small bites. It should be offering these new additions very soon if not now. Location is the Sprouts/Dixieline Lumber Center.

North County Wine Company in San Marcos is presenting wine lovers with an Ultra Top Flight of three half glasses of renowned wines for $25 Dec. 11 and Dec. 12.  Then, Dec. 18 and 19, the annual Top 20 Tasting event happens.  Just $35 and you can taste them all including a Caymus from Napa Valley. Call (760) 753-9032 for details including times.

Quattro Staggioni, a series of dinners with leading wines and area chefs, will begin at BICE Ristorante, downtown San Diego Dec.15 from 6 to 9 p.m.  First wine to be celebrated and poured with a four-course dinner is Batasiolo from Piemonte Italy.  Guest chefs will be Accursio Lota from Solare Ristorante and Stefano Ceresoli from Piazza 1909. Cost is $89. For an RSVP call (619) 239-2423.

Frank Mangio is a renowned wine connoisseur certified by Wine Spectator.  He is one of the leading wine commentators on the web.  View his columns at tasteofwinetv.com and reach him at mangiompc@aol.com. Follow him on Facebook.

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