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Drink This ~ Wine Made Simple by Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl’s book is self proclaimed that it’s “Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the most wonderful drink on earth,” and I agree. Jam packed with information intended to give its reader the self confidence to trust his or her own palate, Dara delivers a message I’ve long supported, and I’m so thankful it’s finally in print so emphatically.

A very accomplished writer, Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl is the senior editor of Minnesota Monthly, and editor in chief of Real Food. She’s a regular contributor to Gourmet (now only on line), Bon Appetit, Conde Nast Traveler, Metropolitan Home, USA Today, Wine & Spirits, as well as other publications. She’s won four James Beard Awards (out of seven nominations) for her wine writing and restaurant criticism.

I love that Dara (a really sassy gal, BTW) snubs the “ABC” snobs as being so cliché, in her “The ten most common mistakes and misconceptions about wine. She points out that while ABCers are happy to deliver their chant so emphatically, Chardonnay isn’t just the current holder of the California popularity pageant, but it’s also one of the most collectible and food friendly white wines in the entire world. So chant on, if you must about ABC (Anything But Chardonnay), but just ask a winemaker why he or she keeps producing the stuff. (That’s because it sells, guys, although I lean toward a Sauvignon Blanc, myself, I still love a good Chard when the times call for one.)

Dara’s book, Drink This ~ Wine Made Simple, is an easy, delightful read. She’s removed all pretension and has delivered great messages about wine for the ages. Each chapter, after her introduction (a must read) and Chapter 1 (which is entitled “The Nuts and Bolts of Drinking, Buying, and Tasting Wine”) is a chapter devoted to the most widely known and enjoyed varieties, before she finalizes with “Money, Money, Money” and “Restaurant Confidential.”

  • Zinfandel
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Riesling
  • Chardonnay
  • Cabernet
  • Syrah
  • Sangiovese
  • Tempranillo
  • Pinot Noir

Her book has fascinating side bars with many notables:

  • Bo Barrett
  • George Riedel
  • Jon Bonne
  • Van Williamson
  • Paul Draper
  • And this is just before you hit page 30… (She’s done her homework)

As you approach each chapter, Dara will have you learn the basics of wine tasting, by having you go through really easy and fun exercises. If you ever doubted yourself in the past, you won’t be doubting yourself in the future. You’ll become your own best expert, and look at other reviews to see how similar or dissimilar they are to your own experience. (As a publicist, I learned about wine writers palates a long time ago… Knowing to whom I could send which wine for a favorable response. Now, it will be your turn.)

Dara has taken “fear” from “the fear of wine.” It’s a concern of so many people who begin their wine journey. Learning about wine is an every opening lotus, and her straight forward talk about how exciting each new revelation is is just enjoyable to read.

She’s also my heroine…deardara.com. What a great resource for us all, and the book for holiday gift giving for anyone on wine training wheels, or for someone who wants a great brush up on facts with fascinating sidebars with some of the most notable people in the wine business.

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