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Had a Glass 2014 by James Nevison

Had a Glass 2014 by James Nevison
The stock of wines on the shelves of your liquor store is a daunting prospect for those new to wine yet interested to know a whole lot more. What better course of action than go to a local bookstore to pick up an introduction to wine book? But the shelves of your book store are probably stocked with a plethora of wine titles: perhaps a Ronald S. Jackson handbook for the professional, a Jancis Robinson guide for the aficionado, but what to choose for the newbie?

This is where James Nevison’s Had a Glass 2014 (published in Canada by Appetite by Random House) comes in.

It is designed not just for the newbie but one who is on a budget: hence the subtitle of Top 100 wines under $20, and perhaps best of all, it can be carried in the palm of your hand when you visit the liquor store.

In hunting for value purchases, Nevison understands its nebulous character and states the case:
"Value" is at best squishy and hard to pin down. Value is personal. And like scoring wine on a hundred-point scale, it’s tough for an objective framework to try and prop up subjective tastes. But whether you’re after price rollbacks at a big-box store or hand-made designer goods, true value occurs when returns exceed expectations. (emphasis added)
Graduating from strictly drinking for pleasure to wanting to make an intelligent choice can become an exercise in opacity for the unschooled but Nevison comforts the reader:
There’s no need to overcomplicate wine tasting. Nothing is more boring than listening to some wine blowhard drone on at length about the laundry list of aromas they detect, or slurp on for minutes as they attempt to pinpoint precise acidity and residual sugar levels.
Colourful Wine Aromas 
Indeed. a critical time consuming wine assessment is not made for the dining room; that is a place for good friends, engaging conversation and the perfect pairing of wine and food.

But following Nevison's 4 step process isn't just chock full of prose as the book is designed and edited in an accessible style. For example, in describing the nose, what aromas come to mind?

None of the book's 168 pages is wasted. With tight copy-editing, enticing graphics and a friendly writing style, James Nevison has found a winning formula for those new to wine and even the oenophile looking for good house wine choices for a casual imbibe during the week. The contents lay the map from the "how to" of wine to the geographic regions to the different types of wine (that now include a section on wine cocktails).
As far as the choices of wine in the book, we at SukasaReads have stated the case in the past that wine tasting isn't an objective sterile science on our SukasaStyle sister site so there are differences of opinion in terms of the choices (as there should be) but this should not detract from a worthwhile initiative.


Level: Beginner
Writing Style: 4.5 / 5
Wine Recommendations: 3.5 / 5
Value: High
Sukasa Stars: 4 out of 5

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