When it came to holiday gifts, I did pretty well this past season. The presents I handed out went over well, and a number of things I'd hinted at appeared under our non-denominational tree. One of those included The Wine Trials 2011, from Fearless Critic Media, which has been snugly ensconced in my messenger bag since I unwrapped it.
The book is right up my alley, listing 175 wines that run under $15, all of which beat out more expensive bottles in blind tastings conducted around the country. Outside of snooty officiating, blind tastings are handy tool to help you develop your palate, and casual tastings seem to be growing in popularity around San Diego. In the course of conducting hundreds of these tastings, however, editors Alexis Herschkowitsch, Tyce Walters and Fearless Critic head honcho Robin Goldstein discovered that most people are just as happy with a bottle that costs a sawbuck as they are with one that costs a Benjamin.
No, you don't need a book to know that you can find great wine without spending a fortune—I would have told you that for half the price of the book. But Goldstein's “Blind Tasting Manifesto,” which leads things off, is intriguing and interesting, and the reviews are simple and straightforward—a page is devoted to each selection, including a description of not just the taste, but also the nose, the mouth and the design of the bottle.
Yes, the holidays are over, but it's not too late to pick up a copy for a friend. Because it's those just-because, anytime gifts that people appreciate the most anyway.