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An engaging tour through the most common pitfalls, stumbling blocks and sources of confusion consumers face as they seek to understand the complicated and endlessly fascinating subject of wine. Through a series of lively conversations, the author coaches readers step-by–step through the essential skills everyone needs to have in order to select, store and serve wine properly. Primary emphasis is on your own personal taste and how that should influence the way your wines are chosen and used. Wine tasting is demystified by concentrating on the basic tastes and explaining why the terms used by wine writers and wine professionals to describe taste can be so confusing. Next the author shows the reader how to understand the differences between the wines made from different grape varieties and explains how they are affected by climate and winemaking style. This allows the reader to be able to anticipate the basic characteristics of wines even if they’ve never tasted them before. The relationships between wine and time are explored in fascinating depth, showing how they influence the way wine is made, sold, stored and served. Practical guidelines are given for getting the most out of wine in various situations, showing how the most successful pairings include taking the situation and the people involved into account, as well as the food. The book includes a balanced discussion of the health issues related to alcohol consumption to educate the reader on the both the risks and rewards of wine consumption. Appendices describe the major flaws in wine and how to detect them, the characteristics of twenty-one major grape varieties and various food and wine pairings. Throughout the book an effort is made to entertain and inform in equal measure. Charts, tables and lists are avoided, as are defined terms and recitations of mind-numbing details, to keep the readers' attention concentrated on the most important things they need to learn in order to gain a thorough working knowledge of wine. After finishing the book, readers are expected to be able to choose wines without having to rely on ratings and recommendations from others. They learn how to carry on a conversation with a sommelier, retailer or other wine professional and tap into their knowledge without fear of being taken advantage of. The ultimate objective is to have readers be able to enjoy each new glass of wine much more than they ever expected.