Chalkboard with Wine 101 written on it

Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine by Madeline Puckette & Justin Hammack

Buy this book.


Unless you are one of the 250 or so master sommeliers on this planet, there is a place in your life for this book.  This essential guide is perfect for novices and intermediates alike.

The pages of this book come alive with illustrations, colors, geographical maps, flavor profile maps, general food pairing ideas, and access to web resources for further self-education or group study.

For beginners, it is a great introduction to the language of wine and assists in general details of how to taste wine, what to look for in your wine, and flavor maps of the major varietals and blends of the globe.

For the intermediate wine snob, it gives resource links to blind tasting tools, generalized differences in grape varieties and blends based on regions and terroir, regional age requirements for certain labeling, as well as detailed wine region maps to understand geographical placements and generalized climates.

Our favorite page of the entire book is the Riesling page (if you follow this blog closely, there is no surprise there).  German namesakes are given for all the different sugar levels listed on labels, so the next time you are at your local wine shop browsing the Riesling selections or find yourself on vacation in Germany, you will easily be able to distinguish the sweetness levels of a Kabinett vs. a Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA) just by reading the label.

Insiders scoop:  You can impress a special someone who may not like either dry or sweet riesling by choosing one of their choice, clearly stating “Oh, don’t worry, it’s a [insert German sweetness level here] Riesling, you’ll love it!”  Note that you can have a dry Riesling fan in tow, but they may not know what Trocken means.  In their uncertainty, not only will the wine win points for being dry as they like, but you will win extra points now that they are surprised at your wine knowledge and you didn’t let them down in a category that can be confusing and is categorically associated with being sweet.  Thanks Wine Folly!

For beginners, you can get your footing and grow into a confident wine connoisseur.  For the more experienced it is a great tool to brush up on regions or bottles that may have been collecting dust in your cellar.  Any way you slice it, there is a place in everyone’s library for this piece of literature.

The new Magnum Edition, The Master Guide of Wine Folly started shipping in September 2018, states it will has “over 2x the content.”  We got a peek inside, and it looks awesome.



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