Jancis Robinson’s How To Taste was pretty good. It’s a good overview of the British perspective on wine. It artfully interleaves tasting exercises with theoretical knowledge. Working through the book, it would be easy to develop a relatively thorough knowledge of wine (and a lot of credit debt, I suspect). Despite its succinctness, it’s surprisingly thorough – I find this to be far superior in substance to, say, Kevin Zraly’s Complete Wine Course or Andrea Robinson’s Great Wine Made simple (and certainly anything approaching an idiot’s or dummies guide).
What I appreciate most about this text is its lack of redundancy. This is a fondness (and a critique) I share with programming books: Those that say what they mean to say and nothing more are excellent. Those that pander and meander and leverage redundancy to increase page count make me want to throw them into the river. This is a great book for the intrepid wine taster, and an excellent guide for the introverted but curious (about wine, I can’t claim it solves any other difficulties here).
Also, Robinson’s writing is hilarious, and jam-packed with clever jokes. I’m proud of myself when I get them.