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Aaron N. Tubbs

Dragon chaser.

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Windows on the World Complete Wine Course: 25th Anniversary Edition aims to be a book form of (if not the textbook of, for that matter) Kevin Zraly’s Windows on the World wine course. As such, it does relatively well: It presents eight chapters with associated tastings. For each of the tastings, several examples are provided for what to purchase, how to serve them, etc. Though a relatively recent edition of the book, the recommendations are already dated and impossible to find. This is not particularly surprising.

As a collection of “what you should probably taste before making any decisions about wine,” the book seems pretty good. While I haven’t finished all of the tastings yet (in fact have much more to go), all of them have been extremely instructive thus far. Financing the tastings in the book requires a pretty serious investment or a lot of time, unless you’ve got several people helping you work through them … as such, it may not be a particularly practical home wine cours, though it’s relatively thorough.

The text itself, as a standalone thing, is pretty much useless. It goes into a great level of detail on some things and more or less glosses over others. This is done with no particular rhyme or reason. There are a lot of editing errors, incoherent flows from sidebars to insets to feature stuff without any explanation of reason, and a bunch of visual styles that just serve to complicate things. There are useless charts, tables where there shouldn’t be, inconsistent rating systems, etc. Pretty much, this book is terrible, even as an introductory text.

So, I guess my endgame in this is: If you want a guide on what to drink when learning the top wine regions, and a little bit of context along the way, this book is decent. Otherwise, this book is pretty much useless! 5/10.