Published 3 December 2012
As well as using straight-forward language, they employ pop-ups to explain terms, voice files (to help with pronunciation), videos (such as the excellent one on food pairing), interactive diagrams with pop-up explanations (such as explaining labels), as well as a first-class search function – not just searching all the text and glossary, but also your highlights and bookmarks.
The only flaw is that you need to pay attention to the scroll bar, otherwise you can be snatched into the next chapter before you’re quite ready; but you get used to it after a while and it doesn’t ruin the experience.
With CVs as long as your arm, the duo has a sound knowledge which they get across in an easy-to-digest manner, with insights and perspectives that even the old hand can enjoy. For example, in the ‘Dining Out’ chapter they say “What matters is that [restaurants] care – about their wines and their customers. It’s hard to appreciate the aromas of wine if the glasses are filled to the top. … if [glasses] are served nearly filled, chances are the restaurant doesn’t take wine seriously.”
A few of my favourite bits were:
- An excellent video explanation of how the salt, fat, spice and sweetness of different foods change the perception of new and old world wines
- Details on wine faults: cork taint, oxidation, heat damage
- The chapter on wine labels which uses interactive diagrams brilliantly
- Typical serving sizes for different wines, along with the number of typical servings per bottle. It also has tips on how to calculate average wine consumption for various events (e.g. for dinner parties it recommends having one bottle per course for every six to eight guests)
- Temperature recommendations
- Explanation of alcohol content: categorising alcohol bands, giving examples of wines for each along with the typical characteristics.
The book’s usual price is $14.99, but they have offered Bigpinots’ readers 20% discount – so that’s $12. To pick up your copy, go to www.inkling.com and enter the discount code of winesimple20