As far as wine books go, I’m usually not a fan of wine and food pairing books nor am I enthused by publications that focus on location specific regions but I came across a few you might want to check out. I mean, as far as food and wine pairing books go, most of them are mundane and flat – fish pairs with white wine! Wow, what a concept – now that’s worth a read. When it comes to region specific, too many books fill the pages with what looks like the yellow pages for the wine industry.

On the contrary, Evan Goldstein’s book, Daring Pairings is organized by detailing a specific grape varietal for each chapter, diving into historical and production information, alternative grape names, examples of similar wines and where it’s grown, followed by cheese parings, a suggested recipe (by a renowned chef), and details on the do’s and don’ts of wine food pairing.

The ‘don’t’ section is novel and if you’re like me, it will probably be one of your favorite parts of the book. I think many of us have a good grasp on basic pairings, but what’s the worst combination you’d want to avoid? Having this knowledge might save you from a disastrous dinner party or sounding stupid on a Master Sommelier certification exam.

I’d buy this book for anyone that has a passion for food and wine, from consumers to professionals alike, and I’d go as far as to say it’s a must read for anyone going through the Master Sommelier certification program. Evan’s other book called Perfect Pairings: A Master Sommelier’s Practical Advice for Partnering Wine with Food, is equally good.

Another good read is Cole Danehower’s Essential Wines and Wineries of the Pacific Northwest. Danehower, a James Beard Foundation Journalism winner, regional wine writer and co-Publisher of Northwest Palate recently published this book on the wines of the Pacific Northwest.

At first glance, a major part of the book focuses on winery detail, but don’t be fooled by its format. What you’ll love about this book is it’s innate ability to capture a sense of place through exploration and enthusiasm while balancing intrinsic details of terroir, climate, wine styles, and geography.

This is another great book for consumers and professionals alike, providing a good symmetry between technical geekiness and novice bliss, and if you happen to be in a wine certification program, this is on my list of ‘must reads’ to learn about the essentials of Pacific Northwest wines.

~Pamela Heiligenthal

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