Two New Wine Books Worth Reading

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

Join me for some wine trivia fun, every Tuesday at 5PM PT on twitter!


About the Author:

Editor and co-founder of, Pamela is a sommelier and former restaurant manager and wine buyer with Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), Court of Master Sommeliers & Center for Wine Origins certification. She has contributed to or been quoted by various publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Sommelier Journal, Vegetarian Times, VIV Magazine, UC-Berkeley Astrobiology News, The Washington Post, the Associated Press, NPR and USA Today. True to her roots, she seeks varietal and appellation integrity and is always passionate about finding the next great bottle of wine.


  1. Wine Wines @ everything! » Blog Archive » Two New Wine Books Worth A Read – Enobytes (blog) October 18, 2010 at 12:41 AM - Reply

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  3. Jenny October 19, 2010 at 9:18 AM - Reply

    Thanks for the tips. I will definitely check out the first.

  4. Amy October 19, 2010 at 5:06 PM - Reply

    Thanks for the recos. I’m always looking for good wine books.

  5. Brent October 19, 2010 at 6:30 PM - Reply

    I bought both books and also recommend them. I found Evan’s first book equally good and I think you nailed it on the review for Cole’s NW book. Skimming through it doesn’t do it justice. It might not look like much but its packed with information you can’t find anywhere else.

  6. enobytes October 19, 2010 at 7:11 PM - Reply

    Jenny, check it out and let me know what your thoughts. I think you’ll enjoy it.

  7. enobytes October 19, 2010 at 7:12 PM - Reply

    Hey Amy, they’d make good holiday gifts for your favorite enophile as well :)

  8. enobytes October 19, 2010 at 7:13 PM - Reply

    Thanks for the kudos Brent.

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