A Beer Drinker's Guide to Knowing and Enjoying Fine Wine

Non-Fiction - Cooking/Food
204 Pages
Reviewed on 02/16/2013
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Author Biography

“Way back when, in the days of roommates and communal dinners, I’d often put together a pot of spaghetti and red sauce (that and scrambled eggs being my entire culinary repertoire) and serve it along with a jug of California’s best to a tableful of friends.

“Even though jug wine was jug wine—the Hearty Burgundy most certainly contained not a drop of Pinot Noir, while the Chianti was likely a Sangiovese-less blend of Carignan, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah—it managed to sink its vinous hooks into my palate and its taste, tannins and alcoholic buzz into my memories of good times and good people.

“Who would have guessed that a lifelong love of fermented grape juice would come from such suspect beginnings? And yet it did, and now one of my great pleasures is passing along this passion for wine to new groups and generations of wine drinkers and explorers.”

Jim Laughren loves wine. He has for a very long time. He’s a wine collector of long standing, former president of a wine importing and distribution company, and founder of the Portland, Oregon-based WineHead Consulting.

He holds the designation of Certified Wine Educator, has conducted innumerable teachings, tastings and training sessions, and has visited wine regions in North and South America and Europe. The author hopes to get his bones to Greece, Australia and New Zealand while he’s still young enough to drink without dribbling.

We’ll see if he makes it.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Janet Green for Readers' Favorite

"Stay loose." This directive early in the book grabbed my thought process and pervaded every word written thereafter. It is definitely an important directive in this guide to how a beer lover can learn to appreciate the mysterious vino and its people, and perhaps help winos better understand their hophead brethren as well. The guide takes you through quick tutorials and more in-depth details of both the similarities between beer and wine, and their differences. It is comprehensive enough to be informative and sketch-like enough to stay interesting. Probably the most satisfying passage is where Mr. Laughren says, in effect: 'Don't try to read all this in one sitting. Pick a region, pick a topic, come back at your leisure. There's no rush.' This was an impressive move, precisely at the point where a beer drinker might have gone to get a beer and left the book behind. It gives the reader great hope, provides some breathing room, and allows the reader the freedom to sample the dialogue at his or her own pace, just as the author suggests a beer drinker do with the fruit of the vine.

The editing is superior - what a pleasure! At the same time, the witticisms scattered throughout are unfettered by editorial rules. It is just beautiful stuff. This is a book that I would gladly share with my beer-drinker cronies, while keeping a copy stashed away for myself.