A concise, engaging tour of the world’s winemaking regions for casual aficionados.




A geographical guide to wine by a traveling sommelier.

Technology writer Biddick (Federal Cloud Computing, 2012) writes that he always found wine tasting a little mysterious: “I thought that there must be a way to crunch the data and provide some generalities on great wine.” He goes on to describe the fascinating process of building an algorithm to analyze wines by focusing on three distinct features: the weather in the region where the wines were produced, the region’s quality standards, and consumer feedback. He says that his own blind tastings helped confirm his algorithm’s results, which sorted 43 regions into three categories: “Inconsistent,” “Average,” and “Great.” He explains his process and intentions as he moves from one location to the next, providing readers with a general introduction to each country and how its different wine regions vary. He then moves into specific areas, such as France’s Bordeaux, and discusses their history, subregions, and tastes. Helpful infographics reveal the grapes used in each region, the best vintages of the last 18 years, recent weather, local classifications, and the manufacturing processes behind the wines. By the end of the book, readers will have learned much about the great winemaking areas of France, Italy, the United States, and several other countries, including South Africa and Chile. Biddick’s by-the-numbers approach will demystify a dense subject for the uninitiated, and his book is packed with intriguing facts about the history of winemaking, such as the fact that vineyards in Europe were almost completely destroyed by phylloxera (plant lice) in the 1800s. However, the guide never feels overwhelming, and the infographics and brief descriptions nicely synthesize a lot of information for readers who want to be a little pickier the next time they buy a bottle.

A concise, engaging tour of the world’s winemaking regions for casual aficionados.

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68401-759-1

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Mascot Books

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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