Wine in Words

Delectably brief essays that tell you only what you need to know to enjoy wine. There are wine encyclopedias, bibles, and guides—this is not one of those books. It doesn’t contain everything, just the really important stuff: the truly key wines, grapes, regions; tips about wine buying, aging, and storage; and useful explanations about tasting notes and whether or not vintages really matter.

In short, this book covers the real absolutes that you need to know about wine. With the pithy wit that readers of her columns have come to expect, Lettie Teague breaks down the stumbling blocks that often intimidate us and clears up the myths that cloud our understanding. A series of mini-essays cover the essentials in a fun, omnibus fashion. The tone is sometimes irreverent, sometimes opinionated, but always practical. For instance, there are entries such as "The Unbearable Oakiness of Being," "Can Wedding Wine Be Good," and "Why You Really Need Only One Glass." Other entries may provoke some lively debate, such as "Men Are from Cab, Women Are from Moscato" and "In Defense of Wine Snobs." The opposite of a didactic textbook, this volume is not meant to be read from start to finish. Instead, like wine itself, it encourages small contemplative sips. It is a companion for the modern taster, a concise and curated collection of tidbits to satisfy anyone with a lively curiosity and palate. -- Rizzoli

Book review by Michele Kayal/AP:

Educating Peter

“Lettie Teague is a true original -- witty, articulate, and in love with wine as well as fascinating people. Her debut book will enthrall, charm, and educate both wine connoisseurs and neophytes. In short, it is a brilliant and captivating read from one of America's most gifted commentators on all things about wine.” -- Robert M. Parker Jr., founder, The Wine Advocate

“I enjoyed the opportunity to learn, even after thirty years as a winemaker, new facts and approaches to wine, as well as to enjoy the camaraderie of two professionals, both passionate and knowledgeable and at the top of their respective fields. I would recommend this book to the wine novice as well as the wine lover.” -- Ed Sbragia, wine master, Beringer Wines, and owner/wine master, Sbragia Family Wines

“We applaud the entertaining new wine book 'Educating Peter.' [...] Studded with Hollywood names and factoids (director Martin Scorsese's favorite wine is Chianti), the book teaches the basics, from how wine is made, served and tasted to characteristics of wines from the Old World (Europe) and the New World (most of the rest of the globe). It's a hook that's ideal for young wine lovers and movie buffs who find wine encyclopedias off-putting, given not only Rolling Stone's mostly under-30 demographics but also the number of film-world luminaries involved in wine.”  -- Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg, The Washington Post

“If Nora Ephron were a wine journalist, her work would read like that of Lettie Teague.”  -- Peter Hellman, The New York Sun

Fear of Wine

From Library Journal

“What sets this title apart is its tone. Brenner (The Art of the Cocktail Party, Dutton, 1994) and Teague understand that every wine connoisseur was once a beginner and never lecture to novices but guide them through the basics of knowledge and enjoyment of wine. There are, of course, discussions of winemaking, producer regions and countries, and the ordering and tasting of wine. Friendly advice is given on corkscrew selection and spotting an overpriced wine list, and main points are summarized at the end of each chapter. Throughout are cartoons, charts, and tables. Resource materials and organizations are suggested in the final chapter. Brenner takes a usually solemn subject and transforms it into an enjoyable crash course. Highly recommended.”  -- Wendy Miller, Lexington P.L., Ky.

Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

“With a humorous tone and straightforward writing style, Brenner "aims to tell how you can learn to enjoy drinking wine." Novices can expect succinct explanations of many nuances related to tasting wine, decanting it, and deciphering restaurant wine lists. In general, Brenner clarifies the esoteric jargon associated with wine making and wine consumption by basically lifting away the mystique that seems to surround the topic of wine appreciation. And although accompanying cartoon illustrations emphasize important points, they also serve to further lighten the mood, thereby alleviating any hint of pomposity that might taint the topic. Brenner does suggest additional reading material and courses to take for those individuals interested in a more immersed approach.”  -- Alice Joyce