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Book Review: The CIG to Wine Basics

Updated on December 11, 2010

Do you wish that you were more knowledgeable about wine? If you’re not yet a wine connoisseur or sommelier, but aren’t satisfied with your current level of knowledge about wine, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Wine Basics by Tara Q. Thomas just might be the perfect resource for you.

About The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Wine Basics

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Wine Basics is written with the needs of those who enjoy wine and who want to become more knowledgeable about the subject of vino. The book opens with basic information about wine, including details about what wine really is and an explanation of why there are so many taste variations among different varieties of wine.

Wine Types

While most people don’t need a book to tell them that there’s a big difference between red wine and white wine, this book provides readers with much greater detail about the different types of wine. There’s a complete section devoted to “the big nine” varieties of wine. When you read this book, you’ll learn about characteristics of nine of the most popular types of wine, which include:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Chardonnay
  • Merlot
  • Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris
  • Pinot Noir
  • Riesling
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Shiraz
  • Zinfandel

Regional Wine Specialties

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Wine Basics also includes a section that focuses on regional specialties. When you read this book, you can learn about what to expect of wines from different parts of the world, such as the appeal of fragrant white wines from France, adventurous white wines from the Mediterranean Coast, crisp whites from Italy and much more.

Wine Styles

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Wine Basics also includes a section on special styles, which provides retailers with details about what’s involved in making wines bubbly, information about fortified wines and how elixirs can be used to enhance the sweetness of certain wines.

Selecting Wine

Of course, all of the information in the world about wine types, styles and regions won’t make a difference without practical tips about selecting and purchasing wine. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Wine Basics includes practical tips and suggestions about wine pricing, purchasing wine and getting started collecting wine. You’ll also find out how to navigate the ins and outs of a wine list, hold your own at tasting ceremonies, make wise wine and food pairing choices and incorporating your knowledge of wine into your entertaining efforts.


Special thanks to Alpha Publishing, a member of Penguin Group (USA) for providing me with an opportunity to review this book

About the Author

Tara Q. Thomas has extensive experience in the food and wine industry. She’s a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. She has extensive culinary writing and editing experience, including working as the wine critic for The Denver Post and as an editor and critic for Wine & Spirits Magazine. She is also the author of The Pocket Idiot’s Guide to Wine . Thomas has a passion for sharing her knowledge and expertise with those who want to learn more about wine and has taught many classes on the subject of food and wine pairing at schools located throughout the United States.


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  • Cookin' Cowgirl profile image

    Cookin' Cowgirl 7 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

    Nothing beats good old fashion try before you buy. I go to winerys. Books are ok... but I like to know exactly what I'm buying!

  • stephhicks68 profile image

    Stephanie Hicks 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon

    I'm shopping for my dad right now and he's a huge fan of fine wines. I'm getting some ideas for Christmas gifts here... thanks and cheers to you, Steph