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Friday, 20 April 2012 13:30

The Cork Jester's Guide to Wine

The Cork Jester's Guide to Wine

by Jennifer Rosen

 

Clerisy Press

ISBN 1-57860-277-7

222 pages $14.95

 cork

Much of what is written about wine is tedious. This is not the case with Jennifer Rosen's work.

In her Cork Jester persona, the Denver Rocky Mountain News columnist has done the wine industry a service. Her Guide to Wine is an excellent primer for someone beginning to indulge a wine hobby. It's also worthwhile reading for the wine fan growing tired of books that are more arcane than amusing.

Learning more about wine probably enhances the subsequent pleasure of indulging in it. When that enhanced understanding comes in a form that's more fun than it is pedantic, that's a bonus.

Organized in sections addressing related topics, the book presents short pieces that read like—and many probably were—newspaper columns. Within the Labels section Rosen devotes four pages to “Animal Farm Wine is going to the dogs . . . and monkeys . . . and kangaroos.” Her take on wine marketers who assume that pictures of furry things will help move product, though not especially edifying, is still breezy reading,. Also amusing--but more useful--is “Cracking the Code Be a label sleuth,” in which she identifies the information on a label that really might be helpful to the potential purchaser.

In a chapter titled “The Restaurant Experience,” she provides background that could prove valuable. How does a restaurant price its wines and why are they so much more expensive than when buying retail? What questions can you ask a sommelier/server that will help him to help you? These hints don't come in an atmosphere of complete supplication, as Rosen skewers the all too frequent state of unpolished service. She doesn't necessarily want to know a waiter's name, doesn't care what his favorite menu items are and isn't keen to hear his “Good Choice” benediction.

Rosen is knowledgeable about wine and, at the very least, a clever writer. There were times when I thought she was reaching a tad too hard to turn a phrase in these 200-some pages. More frequent, however, were the times I thought something like, “now that's funny . . . and accurate.”

 

--reviewed by Dan Clarke