A Year of Wine by Tyler Colman, AKA Dr. Vino

by Stevie on July 15, 2010

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I read A Year of Wine: Perfect Pairings, Great Buys, and What to Sip for Each Season in hopes of learning more about pairing red wines with spicy, vegetarian and Asian style foods: basically the kinds of things that we eat and blog about all the time. Plus I really like Dr. Vino’s site.

Like a refreshing Chablis on a warm day, the book is cool, smooth and easy going down with enough earth and interest to keep you wanting more. After a short introduction it’s divided up into sections based upon the four seasons, sort of like French Women for all Seasons. Within each section, it’s further subdivided into chapters based upon each month.

Colman suggests various wine styles for each season; gives advice for matching wines to specific events like weddings, Thanksgiving, etc.; tells chatty humorous anecdotes about wine and people, for example, “Tyra and Tannins: Why Moscato d’Asti is the Ultimate Wine for Newbies, Pools and Tyra Banks.” Each chapter also has lots of practical advice about everything from selecting wine openers and decanters, shopping for wine at sales and managing a growing wine cellar. He offers travel tips to wine region destinations and the thing that I found most interesting was that at the end of each chapter he interviews a sommelier from various established restaurants throughout the U.S. who talk about their personal experiences with wine.

I realize after reading this book that I’m following Dr. V’s general advice on wine, “Drink the wines you like and eat the foods you like.” But this book has also persuaded me that trying new wine styles, especially whites, which I rarely go after, is worth doing. Riesling is the real take-away lesson that I got from A Year in Wine. Almost all of the sommeliers surveyed recommended Riesling, especially aged Riesling, as a wine that they would seek out at various times of the year. That doesn’t solve the red-wine-with-vegetarian food-etc. dilemma but was exciting advice that I’m going to start to follow. It’ll be fun to have a not-chardonnay choice for Chinese or Thai dishes.

The sommeliers were also interesting in another way: very few of them recommended red Bordeaux.

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