How to Love Wine: Book summary and reviews of How to Love Wine by Eric Asimov

How to Love Wine

A Memoir and Manifesto

by Eric Asimov

How to Love Wine
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  • Published in USA  Oct 2012
    256 pages
    Genre: Biographies & Memoirs

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Book Summary

Whether you're a connoisseur or a novice, already love wine or want to know it better, here is the book for you.

Eric Asimov, the acclaimed chief wine critic for the New York Times, has written a beautiful and thought-provoking combination memoir and manifesto, How to Love Wine.

With charm, wit, and intelligence, Asimov tells how he went from writing beer reviews for his high school newspaper on Long Island to the most coveted job in the industry. He evaluates the current wine culture, discussing trends both interesting and alarming, and celebrates the extraordinary pleasures of wine while, at the same time, questioning the conventional wisdom about wine.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Eric Asimov sees through the snobby froth of 100-point scores and tutti-frutti tasting notes to the realities of wine, 'staple grocery and occasional star,' as he calls it. How to become America's most trusted wine critic? Read it here." - Hugh Johnson

"Asimov sprinkles in lively reminiscences of his journalism career and the idiosyncratic culture of wine cognoscenti, and enchants and reassures by his warm savoring of the drinking experience." - Publishers Weekly

"A friendly, well-written approach to enjoying wine, full of low-stress recommendations to help avoid wine anxiety." - Kirkus

"Wine fanatics, or those angling for entry to the world of wine, will find comfort in…Asimov's down–to–earth discussion of loving wine. Moreover, what he argues is most essential for a relationship with wine, and what's most refreshing to read, is an approach free of anxiety and open to love." - Booklist

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Reader Reviews

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Anna S. (Auburn, AL)

At last!
At last, a book about wine for the rest of us. Asimov assures us that we don't have to be 'experts' to enjoy wine. He argues that enjoying wine should be, first of all, an emotional experience, and as our enjoyment increases, wanting to learn more about wine may follow. I particularly enjoyed his many anecdotes about his love affair with wine, and was delighted with his comments on tasting notes.

Barbara C. (Riverside, CA)

It's all about the writing.
Whether you appreciate the nuances of fine wine and the drinking thereof or you do not, this book is carefully crafted to be appreciated by a reader of fine writing. Several times I was caught up in a turn of phrase that made me jealous of Eric’s writing ability. In addition, the content was useful and interesting. It made me realize that my wine appreciation was just fine, thank you very much. I could not ask for more—self-validation and entertainment in a single slim volume. This tome is a mini-treasure trove of information about how wine assessment really works (and doesn't). I will read it again and share quotes with my friends. No wine snobs need apply.

Celia A. (Takoma Park, MD)

Turning wine into an emotional experience
Eric Asimov is trying to save the world from the tyranny of tasting notes, wine scores, and blind tastings. While there's nothing intrinsically bad about them, he just finds that the information gleaned from them is unhelpful. In fact, he finds that by suggesting that there is a "right answer" to wine, these common practices of the wine community take wine out of context and serve primarily to spark anxiety in people who fear that they don't know enough to understand or appreciate wine. Asimov hopes to convince people that is possible to enjoy and even love wine without being able to pinpoint every last flavor and aroma. He wants it to be an emotional experience, not merely an intellectual one. He weaves this manifesto with the humorous telling of his own journey as a wine lover. If you already love wine, this is a book for you. And if you think that you could love wine if you only knew enough, this book is definitely for you.

Patricia F. (Stony Brook, New York)

A Love Affair With Wine
The title of Eric Asimov's How to Love Wine may be somewhat misleading, as people who already love wine would likely enjoy this book, but may shy away from the title. I suggest as a title A Love Affair With Wine as more appropriate to the relationship the author has had with wine throughout his life. As with many love affairs, there are peaks and valleys. The book is an easy read and thoroughly enjoyable. Speaking from the point of view of a "wine loving" family, we subscribe to many of the same tenets as Mr. Asimov, particularly in drinking what you love, but not feeling bad about the lack of embrace for that Cabernet which received 97 points on the Wine Spectator scale. One never really knows a wine until it is opened, allowed to breathe, and then paired with fresh, simply prepared food. Threaded throughout his education of wine, is Mr. Asimov's personal story of how he came to be the Chief Wine Critic ( and the only one!) for the New York Times from his roots growing up on Long Island. He teaches the reader to let go of intimidation and to just dive into the wine experience, to try different wines, to be adventurous, and to relish the experience. I felt that Mr. Asimov might approve of the experience my family recently enjoyed this summer: a sunset picnic by a beloved lake where we drank a fabulous champagne ( J Vineyard Cuvee 20..a bargain at $25 a bottle) served in plastic cups! The champagne was bright and crisp, the company excellent, the experience unforgettable.

Enjoy this book, like a fine wine.

lebjohnson

Helpful tour through a life in wine
I have always been a little put off by the emphasis on the all-knowing wine critics, unable to taste some of the flavors they emphasized (tobacco), not always understanding why a wine was rated above 90, but knowing what I liked. This book, besides describing how Eric Asimov learned to know and love wine (the most interesting part of the book for me), gave me a path and a validation for my tasting of wine, a much appreciated push in the right direction.

Nancy L. (Zephyrhills, FL) retired librarian

How to Love Wine
Eric Asimov's "How to Love Wine A Memoir and a Manifesto" is more manifesto than memoir. After a rather slow start, Asimov introduces his theme - that anyone can learn to love wine and explains in detail that wine is meant to be tasted with food. This theme is reiterated throughout the rest of the book. He gives some clear suggestions for the beginning wine lover and I came away with a much greater understanding of how I can find and enjoy good wine. This book is perfect for people like me who want to enjoy good wine but don't know quite where to start.

...5 more reader reviews

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Eric Asimov is the chief wine critic of the New York Times. His weekly column appears in the Dining section of the Times, and he contributes to the Diner's Journal blog on the Times's web site. Naturally, he is on Twitter, too, @EricAsimov.

Before he started writing full-time about wine in 2004, Asimov wrote primarily about restaurants and food. He created the $25 and Under restaurant reviews in 1992 and wrote them through 2004. He is a co-author of five editions of The New York Times Guide to Restaurants, and published four editions of $25 and Under: A Guide to the Best Inexpensive Restaurants in New York.

Asimov is a graduate of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., and did graduate work in American Civilization at the University of Texas at Austin. He is married to Deborah Hofmann, has two children, Jack and Peter, and lives in Manhattan.

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