Book Review: Books for Cooks 2010

Need help making that Black Friday shopping list? Here's a selection of great cookbook ideas with something to delight any foodie you know.

Books for Cooks 2010

Wine Guides, Pure and Simple

Let Me Tell You About Wine: A Beginner's Guide to Understanding and Enjoying Wine

by Oz Clarke
Sterling Epicure, 200 pp., $19.95

Oldman's Brave New World of Wine: Pleasure, Value, and Adventure Beyond Wine's Usual Suspects

by Mark Oldman
W.W. Norton & Company, 333 pp., $19.95 (paper)

Writing a guide to wine is fraught with problems, most of them revolving around what you should leave in and what you should leave out. I struggled through these problems with my own book and recently spent a day each with both Oz Clarke and Mark Oldman, where we commiserated on the decision-making process. Each forged his own solution in a completely different way, and both are highly recommended.

Clarke, who has a couple dozen other books out, is England's most widely known wine personality, and his BBC TV show, Oz and James's Big Wine Adventure, has more than 6 million viewers. He's also a veteran actor on the London stage, a bit actor in a few Hollywood blockbusters, a classical and rock singer with several albums out, and a canny psychologist with a degree from Oxford. His cheerful sense of humor leaps off the page in Let Me Tell You About Wine. Clarke's solution to the space/content conundrum is to touch lightly but broadly, covering a bit about everything you need to know about wine without delving too deeply into the useless crannies that make some wine books so dense and uninspiring. And while the recommendations are somewhat Euro­centric, Clarke makes space for a couple of Texas wines.

The tone of Oldman's Brave New World of Wine is exactly like talking to him. He's a wisecracking New Yorker, full of knowledge and primed to answer almost any question about wine. He's had major TV time as one of the judges on The Winemakers (its first season was won by Austin dude Ross Outon). In this book, he sets off to educate his readers about bargain wines that are lesser known. Wines like Txakoli, Aglianico, and Cahors all light his rockets, and all because of supply and demand. The fewer people out shopping for them, the better the price will be. Where Oldman is really helpful is in finding obscure wines that are little-known but of wonderful quality. Maybe people have a hard time pronouncing them, or they're an unknown name. In any case, Oldman is skilled at ferreting out the bargains and makes spot-on recommendations.

Both books are highly recommended for their combination of accurate information, unstuffy knowledge, and delightful prose.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Food Reviews
I Am a Filipino and This Is How We Cook
I Am a Filipino and This Is How We Cook

Kahron Spearman, Oct. 26, 2018

Buttermilk Graffiti
Buttermilk Graffiti

Jessi Devenyns, Oct. 26, 2018

More by Wes Marshall
Weekend Wine: Nothing Says Spring Like Rosé
Weekend Wine: Nothing Says Spring Like Rosé
Four delightful – and affordable – lightweight, full-flavored wines

April 6, 2019

Weekend Wine: The Stucchi Family Knows Their Chianti
Weekend Wine: The Stucchi Family Knows Their Chianti
Badia a Coltibuono is a Tuscan gem

March 30, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Let Me Tell You About Wine, Wine, Oldman's Brave New World of Wine, Oz Clarke, Mark Oldman

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle