Sept. 4 2015 03:54 PM

New guide offers knowledge for all levels

Throughout the upcoming book Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine, Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack succeed at making the familiar seem new and the new seem familiar. Set to be released Sept. 22, the book takes stylish infographics and articles from the authors' website,, and organizes them into a 240-page guide divided into sections on fundamentals, styles of wine and regions.

In the opening pages, the book notes that the vastness of the wine world can be daunting, but that fact shouldn't turn anyone off. As the first section plainly lays out basics for buying, serving and tasting wine, it leaves out any air of snobbery. It's all about encouraging exploration and helping to decipher some convoluted concepts.

Puckette's background in design lends itself to the colorful pages. Customary ideas, such as serving temperature or food pairing, are presented with simple graphics and concise notes.

The “Styles of Wine” section is organized starting with sparkling wines, leading into types of whites, then onto reds and finishing with dessert wines—just as you would taste these styles. A flavor wheel for each is a great tool to use in order to identify the subtleties of what's on your palate.

Looking over the pages for my favorite varietal—Sauvignon Blanc—I was greeted with familiar flavor notes; but also found a helpful item about flavors that come from particular climates. For example, the lime essence I enjoy so much can be found in versions from cooler climates. White peach notes are indicative of a warm climate. And as I sipped a slightly creamy but still refreshing Fumé Blanc (Cairdean Vineyards, 2012) I read about the typicity of this style and its origin.

For anyone studying wine, the section on wine regions proves a handy study companion. Colorful maps of 12 regions and their accompanying pages identify various growing areas and what grapes grow where.

With such a broad spectrum covered in simple, easy-to-read layouts, Wine Folly (you can pre-order the book at the website) is a fun and informative read for wine lovers old and new; it's the kind of material one will reference regularly.


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