Each year, once it’s published, I run to buy this guide. Not because I’m going to be using it throughout the year to make wine decisions (as most people will probably do). I buy it because I need to know what Jamal has said about our clients’ wines.

In the process of buying it every year, I’ve learned a lot about this particular guide, and it’s definitely one that’s worthy of your wine library shelf space.

Here’s why…

Buying wine has its own psychologies. Basically, gathered facts state that men buy “numbers” and women buy “adjectives.” Both sexes also buy wine books from those who have attained the “expert” status, because it’s interesting to read someone else’s opinion as we shape our own. We buy a book, read it looking for something that sounds good (numbers or adjectives), purchase wine, and then evaluate our expectations based the author’s text. (Sometimes, “Yes;” sometimes, “No.”)

In any wine guide, if your palate closely resembles that of its author, you’ve found a treasure and a useful guide. Buying the right guide is half the fun of discovering who’s saying what, and finding out how you either agree or not. If you do, Eureka… you’re on. If you don’t, find another guide, and just move on.

For me, the most significant contribution of Jamal’s effort is not so much how wines taste. What I really love about his writing is how condensed and thoroughly Jamal’s laid out the world of wine for all of us who can’t travel to all corners of the globe. The Wine Guide is a global directory to where grapes are planted and where viticulture flourishes. If you’re on a learning curve of where grapes successfully grow, Jamal’s Wine Guide is an amazing resource, and worth the purchase for that reason alone. It’s also a perfectly sized book that fits conveniently in your pocket or purse, so it travels well. Having this kind of guide following you to your wine shop gives you the opportunity to have wine discussions with the shopkeeper (your own wine expert), get yet another opinion, and have fun in your wine buying process.

latest version addition
Nov. 24, 2006

Wine guides are intended to lead those who want a trusted buddy; someone who shares his or her experiences of wine, and that’s what Jamal’s body of work does. Its information is delivered quickly and succinctly. This allows you to read a paragraph or two, internalize that info for the day, letting those facts permeate and expand your wine knowledge base. In that process, you’ll also find yourself curious about what Jamal is recommending, purchase a bottle or two, and become more comfortable in your own purchasing decisions. Jamal may become your new best friend! I know he’s mine when I need to know something quickly about a wine region with which I’m not familiar.