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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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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